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Michael heads the firm's construction law team along with Graeme Christie.

He has specialised in construction law since 1992, initially with the largest construction law firm in the UK, and since 1997 with Simpson Grierson. Prior to qualifying as a lawyer Michael was a structural engineer and project manager.

Michael's experience extends across virtually all industry sectors, including building (commercial and residential buildings, prisons, hospitals, and sports and entertainment facilities), roading, transport, mining, tunnelling, water and wastewater, electricity, and telecommunications. His specialist expertise includes:

  • Structuring and documenting building and infrastructure projects
  • Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and the use of private finance in the funding of infrastructure projects (BOOTs and DBFOs, including tolling)
  • Relationship contracting, including partnering and alliancing, on complex projects
  • Tender and other procurement processes and documentation
  • The legislation and regulation controlling the construction industry in New Zealand
  • The resolution of construction and engineering disputes. Michael has extensive experience in litigation, arbitration, dispute review boards, mediation, negotiation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR)

Michael is the Author of the "Construction" title in Lexis Nexis' "Laws of New Zealand", the country's leading practitioner text. He is a member of the Standards New Zealand Committee which drafted the New Zealand Standard Conditions of Contract for Construction and Engineering Projects, NZS3910:2013, and the associated NZS3916:2013 (Design & Construct) and NZS3917:2013 (Fixed Term). He was also a lead contributor to the drafting of the latest editions of the ACENZ/ IPENZ Conditions of Contract for Consultancy Services. (These contracts are the most widely used standard form works and consultancy contracts (respectively) in New Zealand). He is Vice President of the New Zealand Society of Construction Law.

  • AsiaPacific Legal 500 Projects & Resource Management 2014 - Recommended Lawyer

Examples of Work - Front End

Michael has been the lead legal adviser on many of the largest construction and infrastructure projects implemented in New Zealand in recent years, including the following:

  • Manukau Institute of Technology Business School - advising MIT on re-structuring of procurement and contracts for this $90 million project post Mainzeal insolvency
  • Transmission Gully PPP project - advising the Leighton/HEB Joint Venture (the preferred bidder) on this $1 billion project
  • Transpower's $670 million North Island Grid Upgrade Project including 400kV North Island transmission line procured on a "competitive alliance" basis (the first competitive alliance in New Zealand)
  • Wiri Prison PPP - advising the Leighton/Mainzeal Joint Venture
  • Hobsonville Schools PPP - advising a design and construct contractor and a lead engineering subcontractor on contractual arrangements with the design and construction contractor for the successful consortia
  • Transpower's $900 million HVDC Upgrade Project - advising Transpower on all aspects of this project from early procurement and documentation to final completion issues
  • Housing New Zealand - advising on procurement and contract templates for major affordable housing projects
  • University of Auckland Newmarket site redevelopment - advising on procurement process and all construction documentation
  • Ultra-Fast Broadband Project - advising on tender process and issues and advising Vector on its bid for the Auckland region
  • Tekapo Canal remediation - advising Swiss head contractor on major canal re-lining project
  • Fiji National Providence Fund - Momi Bay and Natadola developments
  • Advising New Zealand Transport Agency and Auckland Council on the multi billion dollar Eastern Transport Corridor Project
  • The Vector Arena Project - a 12,000 seat indoor stadium for Auckland City (DBFO/BOOT type contract structure)
  • Development of public buildings under PPP develop/lease structures for Tauranga City and Christchurch City (PPP develop/lease type contract structure)
  • Auckland City's Britomart Above Ground Development under PPP develop/lease structures involving heritage restoration and new developments in down town Auckland totalling over $500 million+ (PPP develop/lease type contract structure)
  • Advising Tetra Pak on the development of major milk powder plants for Fonterra
  • Several solid waste and recyclables processing facilities throughout New Zealand (DBFO/BOOT type contract structure)
  • The $200 million terminal expansion project for Christchurch International Airport
  • The $1 billion+ Victoria Quarter development project involving over 20 mixed use commercial, retail and residential building in the Victoria Quarter adjacent to the Auckland central business district
  • Multiple projects for Waitemata District Health Board
  • The $1 billion+ Kawarau Falls development in Queenstown
  • The $100 million+ Otago Rugby Stadium Project
  • Multiple projects for Todd Property
  • Multiple projects for Bunnings
  • Waihi Gold's Project Alliance Agreements with Leighton Contractors for the development of the new Favona underground mine in Waihi
  • Denarau Island developer Tabua Investments' Golf Terrace Apartments, Sheraton Denarau Villas and Denarau Beach Resort projects
  • North Shore City's $32 million Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade and associated outfall project
  • Christchurch City's $80 million sewage outfall project
  • North Shore City's $100 million+ trunk sewer and ocean outfall project
  • The Second Manapouri Tailrace Tunnel, one of the world's largest hard rock tunnelling projects, including advising Meridian Energy on all documentation and resolving significant ground conditions claims via Dispute Review Board
  • Transit NZ and North Shore City's $200 million+ North Shore Busway project
  • North Shore City's $100 million+ mixed use (car park/ residential/ commercial/ retail) development in Takapuna
  • Counties Manukau District Health Board's $100 million+ facilities modernisation redevelopments at Middlemore Hospital, including KidzFirst Children's Hospital, an acute hub providing an emergency care centre, a coronary care centre, staff facilities and energy centre, Manukau Surgical Hospital, and other refurbishment works

Examples of Work - Dispute Resolution

Michael has been the lead legal adviser on a large number of construction disputes ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of millions of dollars, including the following:

  • International head contractor on disputes arising in relation to construction of a milk powder plant (one of the largest of its type constructed worldwide)
  • Head contractor on an adjudication dispute relating to construction of the new Otago stadium
  • Head contractor on disputes in relation to construction of Christchurch International Airport
  • New Zealand head contractor on an adjudication dispute relating to a milk powder plant
  • Employer and engineer (parties to the contract) on major disputes arising on State Highway 20 project in South Auckland
  • Employer on disputes in relation to $250 million underground transmission line project
  • Local Authority employer on disputes relating to operation of a landfill
  • Employer on disputes in relation to $300 million transmission line upgrade project (undertaken under an Alliance contract)
  • Employer (Manukau Institute of Technology) on issues arising from insolvency of Mainzeal Construction, the head contractor on the new MIT business school and transport centre in Manukau
  • Head contractor on issues arising from insolvency of the developer on the Kawarau Falls development in Queenstown
  • Employer on disputes with the head contractor (NZ/international consortium) on the Second Manapouri Tailrace Tunnel, one of the world's largest hard rock tunnelling projects (involving Dispute Review Board)
  • Architect on insurance claims arising from a commercial development in Auckland
  • Head contractor on a dispute with employer arising from acoustic issues on gymnasium project

Other Credentials

  • Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand - Member
  • INGENIUM - Member
  • Society of Construction Law (New Zealand) - Member
  • Society of Construction Law (United Kingdom) - Member
  • Standards New Zealand - NZS 3910 Committee Member
  • Solicitor, England and Wales
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