For commercial and mixed developments properly drafted construction documents, including collateral warranties, could mean the difference between a successful development or not. Spending money on legal fees at the front end can, in our experience, potentially avoid a costly mistake. If you need funding – all the more reason for ensuring the documentation is acceptable at the outset rather than part of the way through the transaction, and after the contractor has already been appointed. Standard form contracts and appointments are drafted in favour of the building contractor or the professional, not the developer or employer.
As lawyers, clients expect us to be able to give clear advice when there are issues and yet as an example the JCT building contracts do not even define “practical completion”. This is, in our view, a fundamental omission. Numerous amendments need to be incorporated to protect the developer or employer without which the contractor will have the upper hand throughout the build.