This month we’ll be shining a spotlight on Partner and Head of Construction Colin Jones. Colin shares how he supports his local community by organising the annual Chariots of Fire race around Cambridge Colleges, he has participated in this race since the first, 30 years ago.
1. What type of legal advice do you provide?
I am the head of the construction and engineering team here at HCR and cover both transactional non contentious construction law, as well as construction related disputes. We act for contractors and construction professionals, as well as clients, funders and others involved in the sector so we have a broad range of experience under this heading.
2. Why did you choose your specialism?
In truth, as a trainee solicitor I was intent on becoming a corporate lawyer but was persuaded to consider construction law and I have been happily advising clients involved in the sector ever since. There is a real buzz about advising on construction projects and how the industry moves forward with its important role in the UK economy, in the development of the built environment and in more recent years in how it can play its part to achieve goals of carbon emission reductions and a more sustainable future.
3. What type of work does your team do that is relevant to Homes England? Or have you been involved in any Homes England projects?
I have been involved in many Homes England projects since we were first awarded a place on the legal framework nearly 20 years ago. Projects I advised on include a host of property schemes, new homes facilitation works projects, major infrastructure contracts and more recently I have advised on a significant dispute relating to the development of a brownfield site.
4. What was your most memorable outcome for a client? And why?
I worked over a 5 year period on the planning and development and eventual occupation of a major life sciences facility for a government agency. The work involved becoming embedded as part of the client’s project team, working alongside other consultants, reporting to and advising senior client management. The negotiation of a series of bespoke contracts for the site infrastructure, utility supplies, main build construction and occupation contracts. I was lucky enough to be involved in the official opening of the new facility by Queen Elizabeth and from all that I hear the project has been a success on a number of levels.
5. How have you supported your local community?
I am a Trustee of the HCR Hewitsons Charitable Trust which amongst other activities runs the annual Chariots of Fire race around the Cambridge Colleges and which over its 30 years (I ran in the first race and have done so ever since believe it or not) has raised £1.8m for regional good causes. I am a Trustee of the Cambridge Forum for the Construction Industry, a charity which promotes education and understanding of the built environment. I am also a Governor of St Mary’s School, Cambridge.
6. Why do you think a commitment to helping the planet is important? And can you give any examples where you have made a change to help the planet?
I think anyone who does not recognise the importance of achieving a more sustainable future really has to think again. The construction sector is responsible for a significant amount of carbon emission but has been taking steps to address that position including to development more responsible and sustainable methods of construction, including in regard to the materials it uses, in re purposing existing buildings rather than always developing from new. On a personal level, living in Cambridge means that I am on my bike most of the time rather than driving and as a family we make good use of an excellent city bus service. As well as efforts made to reduce domestic energy consumption with LED lighting, more efficient domestic heating, solar panels for power, I would like to think that like all of us I am supporting where I can.