In the spotlight: Maria Greener
Maria is a Partner in our Bristol Construction team
Name: Maria Greener
Job Title: Partner
Area of expertise: Construction Law
Has worked at Clarke Willmott for: Six months
What is your background?
I recently joined the Clarke Willmott Construction team, having previously worked at Burges Salmon LLP for 15 years. I specialise in all aspects of non-contentious construction law with a focus on residential and commercial development, from support with the procurement strategy of a construction project, right through to advice on issues that may arise following completion of the development, together with everything in between! My client base is very varied and includes private developers, investors, end-users and funders, as well as public sector clients from all over the UK.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Whilst I have only been at Clarke Willmott for a short time, I have enjoyed meeting (albeit virtually!) some fantastic clients and it’s been great getting to know and understand their businesses and commercial approaches and objectives. One of the great things about construction law is the huge variety of projects, clients and consultants that I get to work with in a very dynamic industry. It’s also been great to join such an exciting and friendly team, which is growing at a fast-pace and I look forward to helping shape that growth going forwards.
What challenges have you seen in the industry recently?
The construction industry is a fast-changing landscape, especially in the last five years – the challenges facing main contractors, from increasingly low profit margins, insolvency risk, Brexit, shortages of materials and labour and of course the pandemic, has meant that traditional approaches to procuring projects is changing. These challenges, together with technical developments in the industry, such as Modern Methods of Construction and Design for Manufacture and Assembly, has meant an increasing shift in the way parties are now seeking to procure and allocate risk in projects. Add to that changes in the bond and insurance markets, it has meant that parties to a development are needing to review how contractual risk and reward is managed on a project in a very different way to what they did several years ago.
How do you help clients?
I have predominantly acted for developers, landowners and investors across a broad range of commercial development transactions within a wide variety of sectors. I support clients with anything related to contract procurement strategy, preparation and negotiation of construction contracts with contractors and appointments with consultants, collateral warranties packages, novation agreements, security packages such as bonds and guarantees and advice on contractual mechanisms, such as variations. Early involvement of construction legal advice is often overlooked, with support on the construction ‘legals’ often being an afterthought. Re-engineering a previously agreed construction contract to get it to a position that can properly protect a client’s interests, can often be more time-consuming and costly than starting off with the right form of contract in the first place (which a contractor can then price the risk for more accurately). As such, early engagement with construction legal support to discuss procurement strategies, market conditions and risks can often reap great benefits to clients in the long-run.