Michael Weatherall

PGDip(Law)(UK) PGDip(LegPrac)(UK) BE(Civil)(Hons)(Canterbury) CPEng Auckland

Michael is one of New Zealand’s pre-eminent construction lawyers and heads the firm’s Construction National Practice Group.

He has specialised in construction law since 1992, initially with the largest construction law firm in the UK, and since 1997 with Simpson Grierson.

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;
  • Collaborative contracting, including alliancing and early contractor involvement, on complex projects;
  • Major Project procurement processes, structuring and documentation;
  • Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and the use of private finance in the funding of infrastructure projects (BOOTs and DBFOs, including tolling); 
  • The resolution of construction and engineering disputes.

Michael also has extensive experience in adjudication, arbitration, dispute review boards, mediation, negotiation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

Michael is admitted as a Solicitor to the High Court of England.  Prior to qualifying as a lawyer Michael was a structural engineer and project manager and remains a Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng).

He is the Co-Author of Lexis Nexis’ “Kennedy Grant and Weatherall on Construction Law in New Zealand”, the country’s leading practitioner text. 

Michael 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 associated suite of contracts. 

He is a past President and Honorary Lifetime Member of the New Zealand Society of Construction Law.

Asia Pacific Legal 500 2024
Construction & Transport

Leading Lawyer (Hall of Fame)

Asia Pacific Legal 500 2024

Leading Lawyer

Chambers Asia–Pacific 2024

Leading Lawyer

AsiaLaw 2021

Distinguished Practitioner

Work Highlights

‘Front end’ / projects

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

Canterbury Multi Use Arena
Lead adviser to Christchurch City Council on this $470 million project.

Central Interceptor Project
Lead adviser to Watercare on this $1 billion+ underground tunnelling project - one of the largest and most complex infrastructure projects ever undertaken in New Zealand.

Christchurch Entertainment and Convention Centre
Advising CPB Contractors.

Enterprise Model - advising on innovative procurement and commercial structure for accelerated delivery of $multi billion programme of capital works on a collaborative basis.

New Zealand International Convention Centre Project
Advising Fletcher Construction.

Auckland City Rail Link
Lead adviser to City Rail Link Limited (and previously Auckland Transport) on the procurement for the $3.5 billion City Rail Link project.

Massey University
Advising on innovative collaborative contracting models for delivery of Massey University’s $400million+ 10 year capital plan.

America’s Cup 36
Advising Auckland Council on the Interim Project Alliance Agreement and Project Alliance Agreements for the America’s Cup 36 bases in Auckland.

University of Canterbury
Advising on a collaborative early contractor involvement model for the delivery of the $80million Garden Halls student accommodation project.

University of Auckland Newmarket site redevelopment
Advising on procurement process and all construction documentation across this multi project development.

Transmission Gully PPP project
Advising the Leighton/HEB Joint Venture on this $1 billion project from early tender stages through to ongoing project advice.

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.

Christchurch Earthquake Rebuild
Lead adviser to Christchurch City Council on many of the ‘Anchor’ rebuild projects including Christchurch Public Art Gallery and Christchurch Public Library, Christchurch Town Hall (heritage rebuild).

SCIRT Alliance Christchurch
Advising Christchurch City Council (one of the owner participants alongside NZTA) on this alliance for the $multi billion rebuild of vertical infrastructure post-earthquake in Christchurch.

$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).

$900 million HVDC Upgrade Project - advising Transpower on all aspects of this project from early procurement and documentation to final completion issues.

Fiji National Providence Fund
Multiple projects in Fiji including Momi Bay and Natadola.

The Vector Arena (now Spark Arena) project
A 12,000 seat indoor stadium for Auckland City (DBFO/BOOT 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).

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.

Principal (Local Authority) on several negligence claims against design consultants.

Head contractor on an adjudication dispute relating to large National motorway project.

International head contractor on disputes arising in relation to construction of a milk powder plant (one of the largest of its type constructed worldwide).

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 an adjudication dispute relating to construction of the new Otago stadium.

Head contractor on disputes in relation to construction of Christchurch International Airport.

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.

Areas of Expertise

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