Project Finance / PPP / PFI

Carson McDowell is one of Northern Ireland’s leading commercial practices with strong experience in delivering successful projects. Carson McDowell is one of the few Belfast based law firms to offer the range and depth of cross-disciplinary experience necessary to bring a complex infrastructure projects to close and beyond.

We advise on projects across a wide range of sectors including education, energy, water, waste, roads and accommodation. This has included advising in relation to a wide variety of schemes and projects, including PPP, PFI, DBFO and DBFOM projects as well as more traditional and “non-PFI” models of project finance. The firm has advised clients involved in all aspects of projects including public bodies, building contractors, funders, equity providers, consultants and bondsmen. We pride ourselves on being attuned to the commercial drivers and motivations of our clients and our goal is to help our clients to navigate their way through complex legal issues in a practical and timely fashion.

The team includes specialists with expertise in areas such as procurement law, banking law, construction law, planning law, environmental law, and commercial property. This ensures that clients are able to call on the services of a multi-disciplinary team, which contains all of the skills and talents that are necessary in order to ensure the successful delivery of infrastructure projects.

What we do

  • Advising in relation to PPP, PFI, DBFO and DBFOM and similar “public-private” infrastructure projects
  • Advising in relation to energy projects including wind farms, energy from waste and biomass
  • Advising on the negotiation of project agreements and documents
  • Advising on building and construction contracts and sub-contractor arrangements
  • Advising in relation to consultants’ appointments
  • Advising on construction bonds and retention bonds
  • Advising in relation to financing and funding arrangements including the taking of security and grant of guarantees
  • Advising on collateral warranties and direct agreements
  • Advising on joint venture arrangements including shareholder agreements, construction joint venture agreements and partnering agreements
  • Advising on frameworks and strategic partnerships
  • Advising on constitutional, governance and vires issues including the issue of legal opinions in relation to financing arrangements
  • Advising on title and property issues in relation to projects
  • Advising on planning consents and permissions in relation to projects and construction activities
  • Advising in relation to environmental permits and consents including sector-specific advice (such as advice on the transfrontier shipment of waste in the context of waste projects)
  • Advising on contaminated land and remediation issues
  • Advice in relation to project refinancing
  • Undertaking legal due diligence in respect of project refinancing

What Others Say About Us

The Legal 500 2020

What the team is known for

Carson McDowell regularly acts for funders on significant projects in Northern Ireland and throughout the UK, as well as in the Republic of Ireland. The team has been active in the energy sector, and has also advised on a range of infrastructure, education and healthcare sector transactions.

Notable practitioners

Practice head Gerard Armstrong is noted for his expertise in large-scale infrastructure and PFI/PPP projects, while Neasa Quigley specialises in energy.


Advising Amey Roads in relation to the DBFO 2 Roads Scheme, the largest roads project in Northern Ireland.

Advising Belfast Metropolitan College on the BMC PPP Project to design and build a new college.

Acting for Valero Energy on its acquisition of a petroleum storage facility business.

Advising GPG Lisburn in relation to a project for the construction of a new primary and community care centre at Lagan Valley Hospital in Lisburn.

Acting for the shareholders of Simple Power Limited in relation to the sale of the entire issued share capital of the company to Foresight Group.

Significant clients

O’Hare & McGovern Limited, Belfast Metropolitan College, Amey Roads, Dalradian Resources, Heron Bros, Valero Energy, Northern Ireland Networks Limited, Firmus Energy, System Operator for Northern Ireland, Belfast Educational Services.