img 9557 hazelton law wellington construction law insurance law environmental lawOur services are largely focused on supplying services to clients with interests in the construction, development and infrastructure industries. We know this area of business well, so our advice takes account of industry practices when necessary.

As well as undertaking specialist work in the construction insurance and environmental areas, over the years our clients have asked that we undertake a range of work that compliments their main business concerns and our core areas of practice. Hence we undertake work in the insolvency area as well as general litigation.

Are areas of law speciality are:

  • Construction Documentation
  • Construction Disputes
  • Weathertight Homes
  • Insurance
  • Environmental
  • Insolvency

Construction Documentation

From the start of the firm we have advised clients on the legislative framework that exists in the industry. We acted for the New Zealand Building Subcontractors Federation providing advice on the passing of the Construction Contracts Act 2002.

Our firm was responsible for advising the BIA (as it then was) on a number of the suggested reforms set out in the Hunn Report prior to its disbanding. We advised the BIA in relation to the passing of the Building Act 2004.

We know the legislative framework for the industry very well. The Building Act is essential knowledge for us and we regularly advise on its provisions across all sections of the industry. We also deal with other relevant statutes including those regulating trades and professions.

Most projects can be undertaken under a standard form contract, though often with special conditions. We are familiar with various forms of contract including NZS:3910 and 3915, SCC1, FIDIC and NEC. We are a member of the NEC users group. We also have experience of Australian forms of standard contract.

Where a project requires a bespoke contract we have drafted main and sub contracts for various clients and projects and negotiated related documentation including novation and tripartite agreements. Our drafting style is concise and to the point. We do not undertake project finance or property transactions. These are specialist areas in their own right. We do work with colleagues in other firms who undertake this type of work.

Construction Disputes

Prior to the Construction Contracts Act 2002 there was very little litigation in the construction industry. What existed was an environment of "pay when paid" clauses and obstructive behaviour preventing legitimate payments being made. After the passing of the Construction Contracts Act 2002 we were the first firm to bring a summary judgment application where a respondent had not served a payment schedule under the Act‚ Tuf Panel Construction v Ernest Robert Capon.

Since that time we have been at the forefront of dispute work within the industry and have appeared in some of the lead cases including Marsden Villas v Wooding Construction Ltd, Winsloe Properties v Wooding Construction Ltd, Metalcraft Industries v Christie and Horizon Investments Ltd v Parker Construction Management (NZ) Ltd.

We have undertaken many adjudications for both payers and payees under the Act. Both Andrew Hazelton and Scott Galloway sit as adjudicators.

Common claims dealt with include those for time, money, defective works, and contractual interpretation issues.
Adjudication has taken over as the main form of dispute resolution in the industry. Many parties find that they can live with the results. If they cannot, we undertake arbitration or litigation for those clients and mediation is an option at any time.

Some claims are not suitable for adjudication because they involve matters other than payment of money, or are of a size and complexity that warrants a more long term strategy. Claims that we have dealt with in this category include multi-party disputes, usually involving design or constructability issues. Often an element of uncertainty, for example around ground conditions is involved.

Weathertight Homes

Since the introduction of the weathertight homes legislation we have acted for a range of clients in this area. This includes claimant homeowners, body corporates and respondents including developers, builders and the various trades.

We have an excellent understanding of how dwellings are constructed and what the major causes of failure are.

We acted for the first claimant to be taken on appeal to the District Court from the original WHRS (Young v McQuade) and have acted in numerous cases since including one of the earliest multi-unit cases to settle at mediation, and some significant cases that have proceeded to adjudication including Ong (one of the largest single awards to a claimant) and Heng.

Our construction experience in this area and working knowledge of the tribunal and how it differs from representation in the High or District Court is invaluable.

Insurance Law

Scott Galloway is the Lloyd's‚ General Representative in New Zealand.

The role involves advising Lloyd's‚ and market participants in relation to legal, regulatory and taxation issues, providing insurance market intelligence, liaising with brokers, regulators, insureds and other insurers.

The firm has also acted in relation to policy wording drafting advised UK insurers about New Zealand regulatory and other legal issues and international reinsurers on law and procedures for doing business and ceasing to do business in New Zealand.

Within our construction practice we have pursued claims made under Contractors All Risk policies, and advised clients on insurance requirements for particular projects. We also undertake claims work for and against insurers involving professional indemnity issues.

Environmental Law

We have worked for a range of clients under the Resource Management Act including local Councils, developers, and submitters and across a range of industries including property development, child care facilities, electricity sector, manufacturing, and discharges of various types.

Our work involves day to day handling of resource management issues including resource consent applications, working with planning consultants on plan drafting and consideration, submissions and appeals. We represent clients at all levels of the process from council hearings to the High Court.

We are presently engaged by the 3 Wairarapa District Councils to advise them on appeals arising from the countries first Proposed Combined District Plan. In addition we act for some Councils on appeals against consents and on related Local Government issues. Being able to view the Act from all sides ‚ for applicants, submitters and the territorial authority provides a real advantage in giving practical advice on strategy and process.

On the enforcement front we have acted on abatement and enforcement proceedings in the Environment Court. We have defended prosecutions under the Resource Management Act and the Building Act and have taken prosecutions under the Historic Places Act. Our court work in the field extends to defending and taking judicial review proceedings.

Insolvency

Our insolvency work is largely centred on the recovery of monies owed to clients. This can include the pursuit of bankruptcy or liquidation proceedings. Often these are taken in pursuit of judgments obtained from clients as a consequence of our dispute work in the construction industry‚ known for its solvency issues.

We also act for liquidators or receivers in pursuing debts owed to insolvent companies.