Property, Planning & Projects


Our Property, Planning and Projects team is valued by our clients because of our industry knowledge and commitment to delivering timely, practical advice. Swaab recognise that to be successful in the practice of law in a complex environment, it is important for us to have an interest in and understanding of our clients' businesses, a problem-solving, practical approach and a highly engaged, collaborative team supported by the most advanced and appropriate technology.

The Property, Planning and Projects team covers the gamut of services required to effectively carry out large scale transactions as well as support our clients in their day to day needs. This expertise includes property law, construction and engineering, planning, environment and government.

Our team is led by partners Mary Digiglio (accredited property specialist), Tony D'Agostino, Cecilia Rose and Emma Fleming, each of whom brings a breadth of expertise and industry knowledge to their clients. Our partners are supported by a team of highly competent and experienced solicitors.


Property Law

We provide transaction and advisory services to property owners, investors, landlords and tenants throughout Australia. We are sought out by leading land developers as well as state government departments and local government agencies for our expertise. We work with our clients to develop, negotiate and document deals. Our early involvement and understanding minimises unexpected complications which can delay transactions. Based on our extensive industry experience, we offer our clients a full range of services and practical advice from the local to the national level. Our expertise includes:

  • Disposal and acquisition of commercial buildings, retail shopping centres, industrial parks, manufacturing plants and transport nodes throughout Australia. This includes due diligence, drafting and negotiating sale and acquisition contractual documentation, including put and call options and complex contractual arrangements to deal with delayed settlement, structured payment regimes and vendor finance mortgages
  • Acting for both landlords and tenants in high volume and "bespoke" commercial, industrial and retail leasing
  • Providing leasing advice, including with respect to:
    • rent reviews
    • tenant breaches
    • make good obligations
    • incentive structures
  • Project joint ventures and development agreements
  • Advice on title structuring options in for land subdivisions and multi-use developments
  • Drafting of, and advice with respect to easements and covenants and licences for supply of services and rights over property
  • Advisory services for property owners, investors, landlords and tenants in Australia
  • Tenders and Expressions of Interest
Construction and Engineering

We understand that there are many things to consider when embarking on a construction or engineering project, for instance, the contract model must be appropriate for your circumstances. We can help you decide what procurement strategy is suitable for your project and assist you document and implement it, keeping a close eye on the protection of your business.

During the lifecycle of a project, we are on hand to provide advice and assistance to ensure you achieve your objectives. We are experienced in complex and difficult disputes, including mediation, expert determination, arbitration and construction and engineering litigation. Based on our extensive industry experience, we can offer our clients a full range of services and practical advice from the local to the national level. Our expertise includes:

  • Procurement strategy and contract selection
  • Contract negotiation, amending standard forms and preparing bespoke contracts
  • Advice on project risks, project audits and corporate exposure throughout the life-cycle of a project
  • Advice on contact entitlements and negotiation, specialising in contract interpretation, variations and extensions of time
  • Resolving disputes through ADR, including expert determinations, mediation and adjudication
  • Bringing and defending claims in the NCAT, the District Court and the Supreme Court
Planning, Environment and Government

We are proud of the reputation we have as a leading team of experts in land use planning & development, environment and government law. We are sought out by both leading land developers as well as state government departments and local government agencies for our expertise and the practical application of our knowledge to facilitate commercial outcomes. We have an enviable record of achieving our client’s desired objectives.

Planning and Environmental Law

  • Development applications
  • Heritage law
  • Land and Environment Court proceedings (all classes)
  • Planning agreements and developer contributions
  • Policy and legislative changes
  • Rezoning and planning approvals
  • Council orders
  • Town planning compliance and risk assessment
  • Contaminated land assessment and remediation
  • Pollution law

State Government Law

  • Intergovernment transactions including dedications, land and land interest transfers and swaps, advices on stamp duty applications for government transactions
  • Compulsory acquisitions and compensation agreements
  • Construction leases and licences
  • Public Positive Covenants and Restrictions as to User
  • Commercial and retail leases, subleases and licences both of government assets
  • Long term leases by government bodies as lessee with extensive provisions granting redevelopment rights to the government
  • Sales of government assets by tender, expressions of interest and private treaty contracts
  • Asset management agreements
  • Civil liability

Local Government law

  • Code of Conduct
  • Corporate Governance
  • Delegation of authority
  • Freedom of information
  • Infringements and prosecutions
  • Land Management
  • Notices and Orders
  • Tenders and Service Contracts and Licences
  • Waste management
  • Roads Act openings, works and closures
  • Ratings issues


Acquisition & disposal 
  • Due diligence, negotiation and documentation for the acquisition of a portfolio of exclusive resort style accommodation dwellings throughout Asia and Australia
  • Due diligence, negotiation and documentation for the acquisition of numerous shopping centres, stand-alone retail, CBD mixed use buildings circa $10 million - $100 million,  car parks, amalgamated residential development sites circa $30 – 70 $ million
  • Due diligence, negotiation and documentation for the acquisition of transport nodes  throughout Australia
  • Acquisition of manufacturing and storage facilities, circa $20 million - $400 million
  • Disposal of hotels, resorts, numerous CBD mixed use buildings, circa $50 million - $350 million and numerous development sites
  • Disposal and acquisition of rent rolls
  • Disposal of portfolios of commercial properties across NSW, Victoria and Queensland, circa $90 million
  • Disposal of a retail clothing chain of 30 stores Australia wide
  • Acquisition of a prominent retail clothing label including 30 stores Australia wide
  • High volume industrial leasing for one of Australia's largest landlords
  • Preparation of standard commercial and retail lease documents for numerous significant national landlords
  • Preparation of agreements for lease and lease for large scale purpose built facilities and "bespoke" lease arrangements, including shopping centres and hospitals
  • Tenant advisory and lease negotiation throughout Australia for Australian 'Blue Chip' corporate tenants
  • Complex sublease of long term leasehold premises including negotiation with government departments
  • Preparation and negotiation of supermarket leases for a national supermarket chain
  • All facets of large scale development work for broad acre land sites in South West of Sydney and multi use development sites in the metropolitan area of Sydney, Wollongong, mid north coast of NSW, including drafting and negotiating joint venture arrangements, development agreements, project delivery agreements, section 88B instruments, strata management statements, community management statements, by-laws and facility agreements
Off the plan developments
  • Acquisition and subdivision of an existing hotel, preparation of sale contract and sale of approximately 100 rooms off the plan
  • Acting for developers in relation to community title mid north coast development and numerous continuing staged south coast developments
  • Acquisition, development, strata subdivision and sale of approximately 130 commercial and industrial lots off the plan
Project documentation
  • Negotiating and drafting project documentation for a range of commercial developments across Australia
  • Preparing high volume contract documentation for affordable housing residential developments
  • Drafting suites of contracts for goods and services suppliers in engineering and manufacturing
  • Acting on the implementation of the National Broadband Network
  • Undertaking due diligence and preparing project documentation for the redevelopment of large complex shopping centres
  • Providing advice on tender preparations
  • Preparing amendments to standard and bespoke forms of contracts (including caps on liability, liquidated damages provisions, insurance clauses, warranties, indemnities, liability for pure economic loss and releases)
  • Drafting novation agreements, joint venture agreements, MoUs, partnering agreements, letters of intent, deeds of guarantee, alliance agreements, GMP contracts, consortium agreements and EPC and EPCM agreements.
Contract management
  • Acting for a member of the successful consortium advising on terms and obligations of the parties and assisting in the administration of the contract for the Dublin Light Railway project in Ireland
  • Advising on the correct application of the performance regime for the London Underground PPP
  • Advising on NEC contracts regarding compensation events following the discovery of asbestos
  • Adviser on complex rail projects including the NSW Waratah PPP and the OSCAR and Hunter PPP train contracts
  • Advising on claims arising out of the construction of commercial maintenance facilities
  • Advising on claims on residential and commercial developments in North Sydney
  • Advising in respect of a pavement failure on a major arterial road, involving management of upstream liability risk and downstream recovery action
  • Negotiating entitlements on mining projects in Western Australia
  • Preparing high volume advice on claims for and defending claims in respect of variations and extensions of time
  • Negotiating and documenting complex settlement agreements and deeds of release.
Dispute avoidance
  • Acted on behalf of a civil works contractor for claims of negligence and breach of contract
  • Successful verdict in defending proceedings on behalf of a supplier for alleged defective plant designed for a waste water treatment works
  • Acted for a contractor in claiming insurance proceeds for defective design.
  • Judgement and costs awarded in favour of a client defending a summary judgement application in the NSW Supreme Court
  • Successful verdict in an expert determination action for variations associated with safety integrity levels and contract interpretation
  • Proceedings in a multi-million dollar dispute against a consultant for traffic forecasting forecasts
  • Proceedings in for alleged defective design and associated damages arising out of the Lane Cove Tunnel collapse
  • Proceedings in a substantial claim for alleged defective design and construction on the Parramatta Rail Link
  • Regular representation of principals, contractors and consultants in Security of Payment Claims.





The recent Supreme Court of Queensland decision of GWC Property Group Pty Ltd v Higginson & Ors affirms the long-held but (until now) untested fear that ...

20 Jan 2015 /   Mary Digiglio, Managing Partner and Daniel Kentwell, Graduate at Law read more
Poke the adjudicator at your peril

In years gone by, poking at an adjudicator's decision was a popular past-time for the construction lawyer. That is, when an adjudicator made a ...

31 Oct 2014 /    Swaab Attorneys read more
Take the money and run...

Building, engineering and related contracts often include a pre-agreed dispute resolution mechanism to cater for those occasions when things aren't going ...

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SoP challenge floats away in the breeze

A losing party to an adjudication decision is often left scrabbling around searching for reasons why the decision shouldn't be enforced and why the losing ...

27 Aug 2014 / Swaab Attorneys read more
NABERS Certification: Don't get caught on the wrong side of the fence

With the commercial property market heating up, if you are a vendor or a lessor you should ensure that your building has appropriate NABERS certification ...

15 Jul 2014 /   Wendy Conceicao, Senior Associate and Daniel Kentwell, Paralegal read more

Set off - use it or lose it!

The concepts of set off and back charges are fairly common in construction and engineering circles, however, the correct application of these types of ...

26 Jun 2014 /Swaab Attorneys read more
Court says ‘game over’ on incomplete adjudication application

This article looks at the recent case of Conveyor & General Engineering v Basetec Services with regards to service of documents. In this case, the court ...

15 May 2014 /Swaab Attorneys read more

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