Building & Construction

We understand construction projects and disputes. We focus on providing a competitive advantage for our clients, often using creative or alternative approaches to achieve the best solution.

About Building & Construction

Cornwalls caters for every level of the building and construction sector, providing a full range of front-end, back-end and regulatory services. We understand construction projects and disputes. We provide practical, clear and strategically sound advice.

Our key objectives are first to prevent our clients from having problems, and second, to efficiently resolve any problems that do arise. We focus on providing a competitive advantage for our clients, often using creative or alternative approaches to achieve the best solution.

We help clients establish and negotiate the contractual framework for projects. We advise on the management of risks and other issues during the development, construction and implementation phases. Finally, we help clients resolve their construction disputes whether by negotiation, litigation or other dispute resolution process.

Our team’s strength lies in listening to clients, understanding their commercial drivers, identifying legal risks and providing practical solutions.

Who we represent

Our Building & Construction team members represent every level of the sector, including:

  • Principals including federal, state and local governments, statutory authorities, government-owned corporations and local government enterprises and developers
  • First and second tier building contractors
  • Owners corporations and bodies corporate
  • Specialist subcontractors
  • Civil contractors
  • Construction industry employer organisations
  • Engineers
  • Architects
  • Private certifiers
  • Financiers
  • Receivers, managers, administrators and liquidators of construction companies.

Types of Projects

We help our clients with a range of projects including:

  • Flat land residential developments
  • Low-rise and high-rise residential, retail, commercial and mixed-use developments
  • Commercial construction projects
  • Health and aged care developments
  • Infrastructure projects
  • Major road, civil and rail infrastructure projects
  • Projects in the energy/resources and mining sectors.

Types of Services

We assist our clients with matters such as:

  • Pre-contract and tender negotiations
  • Drafting and negotiating construction contracts
  • Ongoing project management advice (especially in relation to distressed projects)
  • Payment claims and payment schedules
  • Advising on the regulatory issues experienced by building and construction sector participants
  • Advising industry participants in relation to insolvency.
  • Dispute resolution including:
  • Adjudication under the security of payment laws
  • Mediation
  • Expert determination
  • Arbitration
  • Litigation


  • Administrative law proceedings
  • Adjudication
  • Arbitration
  • Building and construction disputes
  • Building protection works
  • Contract drafting, advice, negotiation and preparation (commercial and domestic)
  • Consultancy agreements
  • Distressed projects
  • Early neutral evaluation
  • Expert determination
  • Financier due diligence
  • Government liaison and representation
  • Heritage building refurbishment
  • Insolvency in building and construction
  • Intellectual property
  • Infrastructure
  • Inquests
  • Legislation and codes
  • Licensing including compliance, prosecutions and defence
  • Litigation, all courts and tribunals
  • Manufacturing projects
  • Mediations
  • Owners corporation / body corporate advice
  • Procurement and probity
  • Project management advice, including claims prevention
  • Security of payment (SOP) claims
  • Technology projects


Our experience includes acting for and representing:

  • Principals – e.g. preparing, negotiating and finalising overarching agreements for the appointment of builders, and full suites of related documents for the construction of buildings, infrastructure and subdivision works
  • Land owners – e.g. preparing, negotiating and finalising construction, infrastructure and related contracts, and providing related advice for developments; recent examples include a project involving the upgrading of large format retail centres, Australia-wide
  • Local councils, statutory bodies and national infrastructure corporations – includes construction and infrastructure projects from the tender phase, through negotiations and preparing construction contracts including for infrastructure projects such as roads, airports and bridges; recent examples include acting for the principal on the Brisbane Airport Second Runway Project, for the main contractor on the Pacific Motorway Upgrade Project, for a statutory body on a large-scale landscaping project and in a dispute with a construction contractor (resolved following mediation), for an infrastructure contractor, including advising on contracts for capital works, and operations and maintenance, and advising on the surfacing contract for Melbourne’s EastLink tollway
  • Head contractors – can involve the whole gamut of construction issues and advice; eg acting for the head contractor in the construction of a new port in Vanuatu, representing the head contractors on the Gold Coast Rapid Transport Project, the Gold Coast Private Hospital Project, the Ballina Bypass Project and the Rosewood Reservoir Project
  • Specialist contractors – e.g. acting for an alliance of piling contractors on the Gateway Bridge Duplication Project; representing an alliance of major contractors in relation to the Eastern Pipeline Project; representing a major electrical contractor on the Legacy Way (tunnels and roads infrastructure) Project; in the ‘water space’, working on a highly detailed and technical response to a show cause notice and default notices (successfully resolved through negotiation); and regular advice and representation, particularly in relation to payment claims and contract disputes, of specialist air and mechanical contractors, fire services contractors, plumbing contractors, electrical contractors and other contractors
  • Major specialist sector clients like sporting clubs – this can be from the tender phase, through preparing and subsequent negotiation of construction contracts for the design and construction or refurbishment and upgrade of specialist facilities such as stadia; recent examples include a soccer stadium and an AFL stadium
  • Manufacturers and installers – e.g. acting for an international telecommunications manufacturer and supplier in negotiations with NBN Co for the roll out of Australia’s national broadband network (NBN); acting for the same client in relation to Telstra’s T3 network and in a series of multimillion dollar disputes (one well over $100 million) involving various security of payment claims and an international arbitration; acting for a major manufacturer and installer in the construction of the Lihir Gold Mine in Papua New Guinea; a claim involving a coating manufacturer over the failed coating of a bridge, including a successful 23-day Supreme Court trial; a matter involving trade practice issues and disputes arising from an innovative overseas manufactured pipe system, when it was introduced into Australia from Italy
  • International clients – in addition to examples such as the Lihir Gold Mine in Papua New Guinea and the new port in Vanuatu, recent examples include complex negotiations for a US based technology and services provider to the NBN and representing the major civil contractor in disputes at the Goro Nickel Mine in New Caledonia.

Building & Construction Articles

Our Experts

Ian Heathwood

Partner, Brisbane

Paul McCann

Partner, Sydney

Richard Hutchings

Partner, Melbourne

Brent Turnbull

Partner, Brisbane

Chris Kintis

Partner, Sydney

Matthew Kennett

Partner, Sydney

Anita Luland

Special Counsel, Brisbane

Andrew Sutherland

Consultant, Sydney

Michael Cope

Special Counsel, Brisbane

Michael Manoria

Senior Associate, Melbourne

Anthony Blazevic

Associate, Melbourne