DWS, Norton Rose, Trowers scoop first procurement pack model PFI

Denton Wilde Sapte (DWS), Norton Rose and Trowers & Hamlins have all landed key roles advising on a £250m South London PFI project.

Trowers advised the London Borough of Lewisham on the refurbishment and maintenance of 1,900 homes in Brockley, South London. Norton Rose advised financing bank Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), while DWS was instructed to advise developer Regenter B3.

This is the first PFI project to be completed under the Government’s housing procurement pack model guidance.

Paul McDermott, lead partner on the Trowers team, said: “The procurement guidance was implemented a few years ago, but this is the first project to be subjected to it from start to finish. It’s significant because it proves that it works. It will change the way lawyers work on this kind of project.”

The procurement pack model guidance covers how PFI projects are structured and aims to make the sector more efficient. The intention is that it will standardise the sector in a number of areas, such as maintenance arrangements and tenancy agreements.

Partner Howard Barrie, who led the DWS team, said: “This is definitely a pathfinding project in terms of the guidance rules. These projects can indeed be very complicated in terms of negotiations, so standardising may create benefits.”

Standardising the PFI sector may decrease work for firms traditionally involved in the negotiation process between each party involved.

McDermott said: “It may reduce work for lawyers, but it may also mean that lawyers become more involved in different aspects of the initiatives rather than just pure negotiation.”