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Major investment in building and construction from Arntzen de Besche

Arntzen de Besche has recently hired a number of new lawyers in both the construction group and in the public procurement department.

This represents a great investment towards the building industry.

– Building and construction represent a rapidly growing industry, and we are now in the middle of a major investment in this sector. We have hired several new lawyers within the construction group, many of whom have significant experience within the sector, as well as other new and competent lawyers. Our construction group now comprises seven employees in Oslo and seven at our Trondheim office, says Knud Jacob Knudsen, partner and head of the construction group  in Oslo, to the publication Byggeindustrien. He joined the company about two years ago from DLA Piper. Wenche Maartmann-Moe also joined as a partner this spring, representing an important element of the construction department’s investment.

– We have now put in place a lot of expertise in the team, and are well-positioned to compete in the growing market towards the building, real estate and construction industries, Knudsen adds.

The entire value chain

He informs that they assist a number of nationwide contracting companies and construction clients with advice and litigation assignments within building and construction.

– We are also experienced with various forms of national and international manufacturing contracts – our lawyers have extensive experience of both the contractor’s and the construction client’s side. We can have a presence in various phases of a project. Not least, we note that increasingly more time is spent on assignments in the preparatory phase. The contracts are becoming ever larger and more complex – which requires professional assistance on both sides of the table. In addition, we see that the complexity and scope of jobs carried out, not least within construction, necessitate closer follow-up along the way. We also observe an increase in conflicts in parts of the industry, which has occurred in parallel with the higher number and volume of assignments. This in itself calls for a greater degree of professional legal assistance, not only in the final settlement phase, but also during the construction process, Knudsen elaborates.

Arntzen de Besche has also invested heavily in assignments involving new forms of development and contracts, including the use of early involvement and various interaction models.

– We often find ourselves involved at an early stage these days, for example with staffing and organising. We have also dedicated a lot of time to developing contractual standards that promote collaboration and reaching common goals, rather than a one-sided focus on positions. We believe that using these types of contract models in the right projects can contribute to lowering the conflict level in the industry, says Knudsen.

Public procurements

In addition to the construction department, the company has also expanded the head count within the procurement and competition law department. They recognise the synergies between the construction and procurement disciplines and work closely together, their latest collaboration being for one of the Rv3/25 bidders.

– In many ways, the boundaries between construction law and public procurements are fluent. These two expert groups thereby complement each other, and we draw knowledge from both these groups for certain assignments at the office, says partner Svein Terje Tveit, who has recently arrived from law firm Thommessen.

In addition to Tveit, several lawyers have also been hired, who will be working in this transition area between procurements, competition law and contracting within the building and construction industry. In virtually every construction conflict with a public sector construction client there is an element of procurement law. The latest example of this is Magne Sveen and the ruling from the Supreme Court of Norway, says partner Espen Bakken, who heads the procurement initiative at Arntzen de Besche.

– We also see challenges with large contracts in the Norwegian infrastructure market. The Norwegian Competition Act stipulates narrow boundaries for such collaboration, Bakken continues. He is hoping that the so-called road-marking case from Denmark will contribute to a greater scope for collaboration in the building and construction industry.

– Arntzen de Besche will definitely be challenging the more established suppliers, the two new partners Maartmann-Moe and Tveit conclude. 

Article written by Arve Brekkhus, bygg.no (translated into English)
View PDF of the article in Byggeindustrien no. 9 - 2019