Senior Associate

Sarah Holderness

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

Sarah has over 12 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

Complexities of contract termination – High Court calls halt on the Contractor’s process in Rau Paenga v CPB
The High Court in Rau Paenga Ltd v CPB Contractors Pty Ltd [2023] NZHC 2947 granted an interim injunction preventing the Contractor from suspending and terminating its contract for the construction of...
30.05.2024 Posted in Construction & Disputes
The Legal500 Construction Comparative Guide
The Construction team at Hesketh Henry is the exclusive New Zealand contributor to The Legal 500: Country Comparative Guide for Construction.  Partners Glen Holm-Hansen and Helen Macfarlane along wit...
21.05.2024 Posted in Construction
HH News NZS  Release
What You Need to Know About the New NZS3910:2023
The new NZS3910:2023 (conditions of contract for building and civil engineering construction) was released by Standards New Zealand in December 2023 (see our article here).  It is now gaining relevan...
10.04.2024 Posted in Construction
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...