Head of Construction
Sarah heads up Shulmans' Construction team.
For more than 20 years Sarah has specialised in providing strong, solutions-based legal advice in heavyweight engineering and construction projects. Sarah deals with high value matters across a variety of sectors, including chemical works, energy, utilities, waste, and housebuilding.
Sarah’s dispute resolution skills cover all major forms of construction contracts and include:
- Defective piling;
- Waste to energy;
- Oil and gas;
- Sea defence work;
- Port and harbour work;
- Tunnelling defects;
- Water and electricity maintenance frameworks; and
- District heating networks.
Sarah often appears in the Technology and Construction Court (TCC) in relation to construction disputes. She also has in-depth experience of alternative dispute resolution methods including mediation, adjudication and arbitration (domestic and international), as well as dealing with arbitration ‘appeals’ and adjudication enforcement proceedings.
On the non-contentious side, Sarah is also an expert on the majority of standard forms of construction contract and particularly NEC, JCT ICE, IChemE and MF1. She has negotiated contracts on a wide range of substantial projects including:
- Waste treatment plants;
- Factory fit-outs;
- Electricity plants;
- Port and harbour works;
- Utilities framework contracts;
- Student accommodation; and
- Remedial works.
Sarah was commended in a past edition of The Legal 500 UK for being someone “you would want to have on your side in contentious matters” for her “robust, direct and reliable advice” as she “always finds the best path for resolving issues”. In addition, that she is an “excellent strategist” and is “intellectual and highly committed”.
Chambers and Partners lists Sarah in Band 2 for construction, stating that “Sarah’s very thorough, very objective and she’ll tell you the truth of what’s in front of her – it’s not always what you want to hear but it’s what you need” and “very knowledgeable and understands the industry and its practices”.
Sarah’s recent work includes:
- Negotiating a contract for work in Holland for the construction of ‘clean rooms’ for use for animal care. This was a bespoke contract which required extensive amendment having been prepared by the developer from a mix of American and Dutch contracts.
- Proceedings in both the TCC and in the Scottish Courts for a cumulative value exceeding £11 million.
- A £20 million defects claim involving civil and structural engineering and quantum issues.
- Three EU procurement disputes on framework contracts; two against a local authority and one against a utility company.
- Successfully adjudicating a £1 million claim for a contractor on the NEC3 ‘deeming’ provisions where the PM failed to accept the Contractor’s quote within the contract time limits.
Sarah has strong relationships with regional and national organisations such as Constructing Excellence, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), CIOB and CIHT. Sarah has presented seminars to these organisations and also RIBA (having formerly been a Specialist Practice Consultant for the organisation), RICS, IstructE and The Adjudication Society.
In addition, Sarah has produced articles for the RIBA Journal, the Building Services Journal, the Journal of Building Appraisal, RIBA CPD Network Newsletter, the Terrier (quarterly periodical for The Journal of The Association of Chief Estates Surveyors and Property Managers in Local Government) and RICS. Topics have included framework contracts, NEC, Compensation Events, NEC case law, NEC Options C and D, Payments, and JCT.
Sarah is a Governor of the Leeds College of Building.