We had a good presentation by an experienced (self-described) development lawyer in Reading on Friday – the delightful Jon Pike. Lots of interesting details were provided on the roles of the various specialist lawyers (in construction contracts, planning agreements, taxation, funding agreements, offshore vehicles etc.) and how they’re prevalent throughout the development process. You could base a whole module on the material covered – land acquisition, options, title and searches, funding documentation, procurement, pre-letting, Practical Completion, utilities and other infrastructure providers etc. Key takeaways for me…
- It’s complicated, it’s often technical and there’s no manual! The developer has to procure and co-ordinate a huge amount of specialist and technical knowledge and expertise throughout the process. Most of this stuff can’t be picked up in any textbook that I know of.
- Banks still provide most of the money and attempt to keep a tight control on the process. Most of the time developers are in breach of at least one of the multitude of loan conditions. However, banks rarely want to use their power since they don’t want to end up responsible for stepping into a business in which they have little or no expertise.
- Most of the contracts between the developer and land owners, funders, contractors and tenants are basically concerned with risk allocation. This reminds me that I need to get hold of a risk register used by a developer.
- Be wary of dealing with Network Rail 🙂