Senior Associate

Sarah Holderness

LLB (Hons) / BSc
Sarah Holderness is a Senior Associate in the Disputes team.

Sarah has 11 years’ experience in legal practice, and primarily specialises in front end construction work.  She has acted for a diverse range of project participants, sizes, and types of project.  Sarah is familiar with standard form agreements (such as NZS 3910 / 3916, SA-2017, CCCS etc), and regularly drafts either bespoke special conditions or entire contracts, as well as other project documents such as tender conditions, letters of intent, collateral warranties and continuity guarantees.  She also assists as required with contentious matters in the construction space, such as defective building claims, professional indemnity claims, and contract disputes including relating to delay and other issues on construction projects.

As well as her private practice experience, Sarah has also worked in-house for a multinational engineering firm, working almost exclusively on front end work.  Sarah was seconded for nine months in 2016, and then asked to return in 2018 to cover a period of leave; in this role Sarah has gained increased appreciation of business perspectives and drivers. 

Sarah is a member of the Society of Construction Law (New Zealand).

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Examples of work completed by Sarah include:

  • Redrafting and negotiating a construction contract for a large infrastructure project.
  • Reviewing and preparing contract tags for a joint venture bidding to join a panel for Council capital works.
  • Drafting a bespoke contract for a specialist cranage subcontractor.
  • Preparing special conditions for a developer principal embarking on an apartment development, including drafting bonds and bespoke warranties.
  • Defending a subcontractor in a proceeding involving a large apartment complex, multiple parties, and a variety of design and construction issues.
  • Assisting with the defence of a developer company and its director in a multi-party construction claim involving subsiding properties.
  • Assisting with defending professional indemnity claims.
  • Acting for a charitable trust board on an appeal from the Maori Appellate Court to the Court of Appeal concerning two related trusts of which the charitable trust board was a beneficiary.

Insights & Opinion / Sarah Holderness

Construction Framework Wide BW
Major milestone passed – NZS3910:2023 expected in time to fill Christmas stockings
As the most widely adopted standard form construction contract in NZ, NZS 3910 was more than ready for updated conditions given the changes in the industry since its last review in 2013.  After almos...
09.10.2023 Posted in Construction
Are you being served? Service of payment claims under the CCA
When the Construction Contracts Act 2002 (CCA) was introduced, email communication was not nearly as prevalent as it is now, generally being the preferred means of communication.
09.09.2022 Posted in Construction
Payment Claims: Incorrect Due Date From Delayed Delivery
Nicholls Group Projects Ltd v Plan Design Build Homes Ltd
20.05.2022 Posted in Construction
Subcontractor entitled to raise set-off claim against principal’s warranty claim
A recent High Court case examined the all too common situation where a contractor goes into liquidation, but there are unresolved matters on a construction project affecting both the principal and sub...
Retentions Regime: On the Road to Repair
The retentions regime in the Construction Contracts Act 2002 is on the road to repair with the introduction of the Construction Contracts (Retention Money) Amendment Bill (Bill) on 1 June 2021.  The ...
16.06.2021 Posted in Construction
Payment Claims and Payment Schedules
The Payment Claim / Payment Schedule regime in the Construction Contracts Act 2002 (CCA) can be a powerful tool in assisting cashflow in the industry.  Please click here for a practical explanation o...
08.03.2019 Posted in Construction
CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT REFORM: Ten Guidelines the Government could Adopt
“We need to lead by example and if there are things that we can do to take a leadership position with that industry then we should be.” Prime Minister Ardern[1] As 2018 draws to a close a...
21.12.2018 Posted in Construction