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Andrew James, Partner, Head of Construction & Engineering Team

Real Estate

Mobile: 07711 272 782

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A bit about me

I’ve always loved great buildings and I take pride in the fact I’ve played a small part in the development of some interesting projects.

I started out in construction law in 1988, having previously worked on building sites, so I have a thorough, working knowledge of the industry. I am an accredited adjudicator and mediator, and I am also on the Technology and Construction Solicitors Association national committee and adjudication sub-committee. I have also chaired a Constructing Excellence Best Practice Club for over 8 years.

My expertise extends beyond the law as I’m very commercially focused. Wherever I can, I always look for commercial solutions to problems and even find business opportunities for my clients.

My dedicated and results-focused approach to work is part of my desire to get the job done, even if that means working out of normal office hours. I act for a range of people and businesses including main contractors, specialist sub-contractors, funders and developers, sorting out contracts and any disputes they might have on building projects. I’ve been described as tenacious and I’m also very practical and hard working. Once I get hold of something, I don’t give up until it’s sorted.

My passion for both modern and ancient buildings extends into my downtime too, and I like to visit grand designs in the UK and abroad. I also enjoy spending time with my family, rugby and fast cars.

Want to know more?

Take advice early and walk towards, not away, from problems.

Focus on the issues involved, and not the personalities.

Get that contract in place and avoid letters of intent if you can.

Can I terminate the contract?

We would need to check the contract for you and see if there are specific grounds for termination (there normally are). Typically, there are strict requirements to give warning notices and to deliver any relevant notices in a specific way e.g. recorded delivery or by hand. It is crucial to follow the contract procedures carefully otherwise you could be held to be in serious breach of contract yourself and at risk of the “guilty” party terminating your contract and claiming loss of profit and the extra over costs of completing the works.

I have not been paid: can I walk off site?

This can be risky and could put you in serious breach of contract unless you have a contractual right to do so. You will need to check if the money in question is indisputably due (for example because of a lack of a payment notice or pay less notice from the paying party) and what contractual rights you have to terminate the contract. If you want to suspend work for non-payment, then a specific notice needs to be given in advance, which needs to be carefully drafted.

Why are industry standard form contracts so often amended?

Whilst it depends upon the form of contract concerned, most of them have their own “agenda” and the risk allocation may not be appropriate. Banks and other funders often insist on amendments being made to address these issues. We can provide a quick contract review at a sensible cost highlighting the main risks for you or can prepare a schedule of amendments making relevant and appropriate amendments to suit the project.

Where I work

Read my
latest articles

News alert-critical new case on construction payment notices and adjudication

In a long awaited decision, the Court of Appeal issued its judgment in the case…

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Significant changes to ‘smash and grab’ adjudications

If it looks like a pay less notice, and is referenced like a pay less…

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Am I entitled to remove materials or equipment from site which has not been paid for?

You have to be very careful about doing this. First, the general rule is that…

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The effect of “Brexit” on UK public procurement legislation

Perhaps the first question is whether EU procurement rules continue to apply in the UK,…

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What constitutes a valid payment application?

The Construction Act provides guidance on what a payment notice must include, that is to…

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Is the Payless Notice worthless in a JCT?

After a torrent of legal speculation on the result of failing to issue a valid…

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Certificates of Lawful Use (CLEUDs)

In a recent High Court decision (R (Freedman) v Wiltshire Council) it was confirmed that…

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Assignments Finance & Adjudication – Beware the Pitfalls? Beware the Primrose Path?

It is a common feature of the commercial world and the construction sector that contracts…

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NEC Contracts in the News

For those who deal with public sector work or partnering as a procurement ethos, NEC…

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Late payment regulations: construction industry warned not to be caught out

The Late Payment of Commercial Debts Regulations 2013 are now in force and arguably set…

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Contractor’s claims – to apportion or not to apportion?

In the recent case of Walter Lilly & Company Ltd v Mackay and another[2012] EWHC 1773…

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