King & Spalding was one of the first full-service law firms to establish a practice devoted to construction law. Today, King & Spalding has one of the largest transactional construction and procurement practices in the world, comprised of lawyers in Houston, Atlanta, London and Abu Dhabi, focused solely on representing owners, developers and lenders in the drafting and negotiation of construction-related agreements for their global projects.
In 2009, King & Spalding’s construction team was a finalist for the Chambers USA Award for Excellence in Construction.
According to Chambers USA, King & Spalding has “a distinguished team with great experience on international projects,” and “knows all the ins and outs of the construction business and how to protect [their] clients.” “Energy is the forte of the team.”
King & Spalding’s construction team assisted with a major oil storage tank development project that was named Latin American Refinancing Deal of the Year for 2009 by Project Finance magazine.
King & Spalding was awarded the Gold Award as Best USA Law Firm 2010 for project finance, infrastructure and energy at the International Legal Alliance Summit & Awards.
King & Spalding’s focus on representing solely owners, developers and lenders is unique in the industry, and enables us to avoid potential conflicts of interest with contractors, architects and engineers. Our team consists of lawyers with hands-on construction industry experience. Many of the team’s lawyers are engineers, who are comfortable “rolling up their sleeves” and working with the owner’s engineers, architects and consultants to coordinate the terms and conditions with the technical exhibits and to help prevent common pitfalls that occur in technical documentation. Our team’s lawyers also have extensive prior experience arbitrating and litigating construction disputes, giving them a strong understanding of problems that can arise during projects and how to avoid or mitigate against them.
Our lawyers have drafted and negotiated thousands of construction-related agreements for major projects in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, the CIS, Africa, and Asia ranging from as little as US$10 million to over US$40 billion in value, including:
- Liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification facilities
- Natural gas liquefaction facilities
- Natural gas pipelines
- Natural gas storage facilities
- Thermal power plants (nuclear, coal, combined cycle, and gas fired)
- Uranium enrichment facilities
- Hydroelectric plants
- Compressed-air energy storage facilities
- Offshore oil production facilities
- Wind farms
- Petrochemical facilities
- Hydrocarbon extraction
These projects include some of the largest in the world, as well as first-of-its-kind projects, such as the first LNG import terminal constructed in the U.S. in almost 30 years, the world’s largest power and desalination plant (over US$3 billion), and the first nuclear project to be constructed in the U.S. in almost 30 years.
King & Spalding’s lawyers are well versed in all forms of contract structures and types as well as project delivery systems, including engineer-procure-construct (EPC) contracts, engineer-procure-construction management (EPCM) contracts, design-build, construction, construction management (at risk and agency), multi-prime, development, program management, engineering, consulting, front-end engineering design (FEED), equipment purchase and lease agreements, operating and maintenance (O&M) agreements, and long term service agreements (LTSA).
We focus exclusively on the representation of owners, developers and lenders.
This focus enables our lawyers to represent clients throughout the entire construction process without the fear of current or future conflicts of interest. Because of this concentrated practice, we are routinely involved at the inception of projects, advising clients on the applicable project delivery system and structuring, drafting and negotiating engineering and construction contracts. We are experienced in all aspects of project planning, including counseling on the structuring of contracts to obtain the best tax treatment, negotiating “financeable” deals for a financed project, and providing advice on insurance strategies for reducing cost and risk. Along with other significant factors, project planning is critical to a project’s success, but is often ignored by lawyers not experienced in complex, construction transactional work.
Our construction lawyers are devoted solely to the practice of construction law.
We believe this devotion is essential. The engineering and construction of large, complex projects are rife with risks and responsibilities that often lead to change orders and disputes, resulting in mediation, arbitration, or litigation. We are fully attuned to the construction industry and therefore understand the many significant associated risks. We mitigate against risks through selection of appropriate insurance and use of progressive contractual risk-shifting provisions. We are adept at negotiating with contractors and are aware of the strategies used when negotiating and executing a construction contract. Without such a dedicated approach to construction, we believe it is impossible for lawyers to advise clients fully on many of the key aspects associated with large, complex construction projects.
We understand the technical complexities of projects and handle the associated risks.
Many of the firm’s Construction and Procurement Practice lawyers are engineers and/or have extensive experience in the engineering and construction industries. We excel in preparing uniquely structured contracts for first-of-its-kind construction projects because we understand the complicated engineering and technology involved, and are accustomed to dealing with innovations in the construction industry. We have developed the skills and confidence to work through complex issues side by side with the owner’s engineering, construction, legal and commercial advisors. We do not simply draft and negotiate the body of a contract, but with the client’s approval, we are heavily engaged in the drafting and advising of the scope of work, design basis, performance guarantees and other contract exhibits. This cooperative approach is the best way to ensure that the client has a cohesive document that adequately addresses the significant legal, commercial and technical challenges of a large, complex project.
Our lawyers have extensive arbitration and litigation experience.
We have witnessed the “games” contractors play during negotiation and construction, and the problems that inevitably arise during a project, including those resulting in arbitration or litigation. A number of the firm’s Construction and Procurement lawyers have prior litigation and arbitration experience, and the group itself constantly interacts with King & Spalding’s Construction Litigation and Arbitration Practice Group, which includes more than 35 lawyers located in Houston, New York, London, Paris, Austin and Atlanta. Therefore, we have a real-world understanding of the many ways in which engineering and construction contracts are tested on a day-to-day basis. As a result of our comprehensive construction experience and our understanding of the litigation and arbitration issues that may arise during or after construction of the project, we are able to advise our clients up front during negotiations. Alternatively, firms populated with construction litigators and arbitrators who are not equally well versed in construction contract negotiation and drafting generally do not have the necessary experience or resources to anticipate and handle critical issues associated with construction projects. We have the essential knowledge to understand fully all of the critical issues associated with large, international construction projects, such as understanding the various insurance products available in the market, tax implications and project-finance-related issues.
Areas of Expertise
- Advising on the appropriate project delivery system and contract structure
- Drafting requests for proposals and bids
- Drafting and negotiating construction-related agreements
- Comprehensive risk assessment
- Reducing claims by implementing proven project management contractual requirements
- Developing, negotiating and analyzing appropriate forms of financial security
- Providing contract administration throughout design and construction
- King & Spalding was lauded by Chambers Global 2010 as possessing a “thriving energy M&A and project development and finance practice.”
- King & Spalding is recognized for its “first-class energy team” and ranks as one of the top energy and natural resources firms in the United States in the 2010 edition of Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business.
- King & Spalding was ranked in the 2009 United Arab Emirates section of Legal 500 for projects and energy.
- King & Spalding lawyers are ranked in Euromoney’s “World’s Leading Energy and Natural Resource Lawyers.”
- King & Spalding was recommended as one of the leading Latin American practices focusing on project finance. (Latin Lawyer 2008).