Construction Law

Carson McDowell has one of the very few truly specialist and dedicated Construction teams in Northern Ireland. The team has been established for many years and has a genuine capacity for and expertise in both contentious and non-contentious construction and engineering work and can advise on the full spectrum of construction activities. Members of the team have experience in advising clients on projects as far afield as South-East Asia, Southern and Central Africa, Eastern and Western Europe, as well as closer to home, in England, the Republic of Ireland and, of course, all parts of Northern Ireland. The team regularly acts for Employers, Main Contractors, Sub-Contractors, Consultants, Insurers and Funders.

We have a comprehensive knowledge of Northern Ireland’s construction and engineering industry and have been involved in most of the major construction projects in Northern Ireland in recent years.

What We Do

We act for clients at all stages of the construction process, from the initial procurement and contract drafting advice, through the carrying out of the construction works to, where necessary, the resolution of disputes. Our expertise includes:

  • Procurement procedures, compliance and challenges
  • Tender analysis
  • Risk assessment
  • Drafting and negotiating construction contracts based on all of the major standard forms (e.g. NEC, JCT, ICC, GC/Works, FIDIC, RIBA, ACE etc.)
  • Performance bonds and guarantees
  • Framework agreements
  • Consultant appointments
  • Collateral warranties
  • Project advice
  • Adjudication
  • Mediation and other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Arbitration under the rules of all the major arbitral institutions, as well as under "ad hoc" procedures
  • Northern Ireland High Court & County Court litigation

What Others Say About Us

Chambers and Partners UK 2018

What the team is known for Widely praised construction department noted for its handling of matters across Northern Ireland. Areas of particular strength include construction projects in the energy, ports and social housing sectors. Recently involved in a number of key matters relating to the development of road infrastructure and educational facilities.

Strengths A client notes: "The reason we go to them is their breadth of expertise - the people we deal with are generally seen as the best in their field."

Work highlights Represented John Graham Construction in a dispute with a piling contractor, concerning delay to a project at Sheffield University as a result of defective works. Successfully acted for the client in the Northern Irish Court of Appeal.

Assisted the Grand Opera House on the procurement of the major refurbishment of its theatre, a significant, historic building in Belfast.

Significant clients Northern Ireland Electricity, Belfast Harbour Commissioners, McAleer & Rushe, AECOM, Helm Housing Association.

Notable practitioners

Stuart Murphy is recognised in the market as a construction specialist. He leads the team and practises across both contentious and non-contentious matters, advising on large-scale regional infrastructure projects and significant residential and educational developments throughout the UK. A client says: "He is tremendously dependable - he knows the sector and its issues. It's his commerciality that works best for us."

​Chambers and Partners UK 2017

What the team is known for

Widely praised construction department noted for its handling of matters across Northern Ireland. Areas of particular strength include construction projects in the energy, ports and social housing sectors.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"I have been very impressed with the whole team."

Work highlights

Continued to advise Belfast Harbour Commissioners on a number of construction matters pertaining to the City Quays project, including the procurement of Two City Quays, the second phase of the development.

Acted for the Richland Group to draft a range of contracts, professional appointments, collateral warranties and other construction documents with regard to the Regent's Gate residential development in Belfast.

Notable practitioners

Stuart Murphy heads the firm's construction and engineering department. He is an experienced practitioner, known to "understand the issue and be effective in delivering results." He is active in Northern Ireland and internationally, in both a contentious and non-contentious capacity.

Significant clients John Graham Construction, McAleer & Rushe, McLaughlin & Harvey, AECOM, FP McCann.

The Legal 500 2016

What the team is known for

Leading practice with expertise in energy, ports, education and social housing. Regularly acts for large contractors amongst other clients.

Work highlights

Acted for Belfast Harbour Commissioners on the financing and structuring of the development of the harbour.

Advised Green Pastures Church on professional appointments for the upcoming multi-purpose development of a 97-acre site.

Notable practitioners

Department head Stuart Murphy "has a strong reputation and a track record going back 20 years," according to one source. He acts on contentious and non-contentious matters on a regional, national and international basis.

Significant clients John Graham Construction, Gilbert-Ash, McLaughlin & Harvey, Northstone, J H Turkington & Sons.