Building and Construction

Building and Construction

Providing firm foundations

Understanding the commercial realities of the Cairns and North Queensland building and construction industry is key to Miller Harris Lawyers’ expertise. We advise building contractors, sub-contractors, engineers, owners, developers, government agencies, investors as well as homeowners and bodies corporate in all areas of building and construction law.  Our experienced lawyers can assist with a range of services tailored to the building and construction industry.

We provide practical and commercially-relevant advice assisting with project planning and inception through to tendering, contract negotiation and drafting, project management advice, contract interpretation, claims management and dispute resolution. Proper planning and risk assessment from the outset, can minimise the potential for issues to arise down the track. However, when disputes do arise, Miller Harris Lawyers is able to advise on the alternative courses of action to resolve such disputes and their relative merits.

We offer legal advice and services for:

Project planning and due diligence

It is important that proper planning and research is undertaking before you commence any construction project and our team has a wealth of experience in undertaking due diligence and assisting with project planning strategies in this regard. Taxation, risk management and asset protection are just some of the considerations that need to be taken into account when planning or considering a project.

Financing and capital raising strategies

Securing the appropriate finance and/or capital for your construction project is an important task and relies on developing strong contracts and undertaking productive negotiations. Our commercial team is able to advise you on the potential risks and legal implications of various forms of finance or capital raising and can also prepare and/or review the underlying documentation which supports funding alternatives.

Planning approvals

The regulatory framework surrounding planning approvals is constantly changing and can be difficult to negotiate without professional assistance. We can help you navigate the process efficiently with as little delay to the project as possible.

Native title and cultural heritage

Greenfield projects and projects which impact upon non-freehold land can be critically impacted by native title and cultural heritage issues. Miller Harris Lawyers has been assisting clients with such issues for over 20 years, and can help you navigate the complex procedures involved, and reach agreement in an efficient and culturally sensitive way.

Industrial relations, including workers’ compensation and health and safety

Healthy employment relationships are often key to the success of a project. We can assist you with the preparation of workplace policies and independent contractor agreements, as well as advising on a broad range of operational employment issues. We are also able to advise and assist in defending WorkCover claims and prosecutions brought by the workplace, health and safety regulator.

Procurement and tendering strategies

Establishing cost effective and efficient supply chain relationships is made easier when clear procurement strategies and tender documents are in place. We can draft policies and create tender documents that will ensure procurement and tendering processes are clearly defined, objective and secure the best procurement result for your organisation.

Consortium agreements

Agreements between businesses entering into any kind of commercial venture together, need to be transparent and effective. Miller Harris Lawyers can prepare consortium agreements to suit the specific circumstances relevant to your arrangement in consultation with relevant stakeholders.

Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017 claims

Whether you are initiating or defending a claim in relation to the Building and Construction Industry Payment Act 2004, Miller Harris Lawyers can assist. We are familiar with all aspects of the Act and all associated obligations and rights.

Contracts, including pre-contract documents such as heads of agreement, memoranda of understanding, EPC, construction, operation and management

Agreements with partners, land holders, financiers and employees are important in ensuring your construction project progresses as smoothly as possible. Ensuring these contracts and agreements clearly set out the rights and obligations of the various parties will minimise the potential for project disruption due to dispute or disagreement.

Construction contract delivery models

A range of different delivery models are available for construction contracts, including Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), Early Contractor Involvement (ECI), Alliances, Design and Construct (D&C), Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT), Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Management (EPCM) and more. We can advise you on the best model/s to suit your particular needs.

Construction exit strategies

As with any business, understanding your exit strategy from the construction industry should be a key part of your overall business strategy. Miller Harris Lawyers can offer advice on available options and timing considerations that provide the best outcome for you and your business.

Dispute resolution, including mediation, arbitration and litigation

Unfortunately disputes occur frequently in this sector, over contracts, payments, project timelines and more. We can assist you in resolving your dispute through a variety of means including mediation and arbitration, with the aim of reaching a successful resolution without full litigation where possible.


Regardless of the scale of project you are undertaking, it is essential that you, the project, your staff and contractors have adequate insurance coverage at all times. As levels of exposure and the nature of the project change during its development, we can advise you on the potential risks that need to be considered so you are able to then liaise with your insurer and/or insurance broker to ensure these risks are appropriately protected.

Meet the experts in
Building and Construction

Elaine Jesurasingham


Elaine is a civil litigator and dispute resolution lawyer with a work background in commercial, property and building disputes.

Show Number Show Number
more about Elaine

Nigel Hales


Nigel is the only Queensland Law Society accredited property law specialist in Cairns.

Show Number Show Number
more about Nigel

Sean Walsh


Sean is an experienced business and commercial lawyer, having practised exclusively in these areas for almost 30 years.

Show Number Show Number
more about Sean

Understanding the commercial realities of the Cairns and North Queensland building and construction industry is key to Miller Harris Lawyers’ expertise. We advise building contractors, sub-contractors, engineers, owners, developers, government agencies, investors as well as homeowners and bodies corporate in all areas of building and construction law.

Show Number Show Number
more about Building

Rowan Wilson


Rowan is a litigator and dispute resolution lawyer. Rowan’s expertise in commercial disputes spans a wide range of industry areas particularly banking and finance, property, insurance, construction, and insolvency.

Show Number Show Number
more about Rowan