Real Estate & Construction

The real estate and construction sector has faced huge difficulties lately. With the economic downturn and depressed property values, you may think there are few funding or investment opportunities available or that you will find it tough to get your project off the ground. But, at Harper Macleod, we believe getting your ventures going and keeping them on track is a matter of receiving sound strategic advice which limits risk. We can provide that service to you.

From acquisitions and disposals to development agreements, portfolio management and funding, we can help with all aspects of the property and construction process - and we don't just take the tried and tested route; we look at developing new financing and partnering models for our clients. Because we have close working relationships with the leading operators in Scotland's property and construction industry (including Scottish Government, investors, developers and their funders, main contractors, specialist subcontractors, purchasers and tenants) we see the bigger picture and anticipate the best approach to help push your plans over the line, on time and on budget.

We also work alongside clients and law firms based in jurisdictions outside Scotland, who require our knowledge of the Scottish legal system and the property and construction sector in general. We also know that, in a competitive industry such as this, not everything can go to plan. If you find yourself in the middle of a dispute which is holding your project up - we offer mediation and other alternative dispute resolutions; these are often more cost-effective than court proceedings and avoid publicity.

Our Key Services

We advise contractors, developers, funders, investors, office and retail tenants on a variety of property and construction matters. We also work with property professionals including engineers, surveyors, architects and accountants to achieve their aims and objectives. Our Real Estate & Construction Sector Group can help you with (click for more info):  

Landlord & Tenant

Increased insolvencies, lower activity levels, estate rationalisation by retailers - coupled with shorter leases and lower rents - creates a very different environment. Our clients include both landlords and tenants of all types of commercial property and, as a result, we appreciate the needs of both sides and advise on commercially achievable results in close liaison with our clients' agents.


We advise on acquisitions, sales and the management and letting of investment properties. We have substantial experience with shopping centres, hotels, retail parks, offices, business parks, student accommodation and industrial estates across Scotland - and the particular nuances that go with each.


Our construction team handles both non- contentious and contentious matters. We have vast experience negotiating and assessing construction contracts and related project documentation. We act for employers, funders, contractors, consultants and end operators of building projects, identifying the commercial points and achieving acceptable packages, taking into account the interests of all relevant parties.

We also provide strategic advice and representation in relation to construction disputes - and can represent our clients at each stage, from negotiation and mediation through to adjudication, arbitration and litigation.

Property Structures & Distressed Property

We advise on asset protection, realisation strategies, restructuring of property companies and investments for stability and funding arrangements in a tax efficient manner. We act for banks, financial institutions, hedge funds and private clients in determining and recommending options to achieve their desired solutions.


We provide proactive strategic advice on timely submissions on the National Planning Framework and emerging Local and Strategic Development Plans. We are recognised by developers and planning authorities for our advice on strategic development management, enforcement and planning negotiations and agreements.

Our experience extends to contentious work and includes judicial review and statutory appeals to the Court of Session as well as inquiries and appeals administered by the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals.


While the ultimate goal of development is to create buildings for sale or lease, it is a procurement process to be contractually mapped and navigated with ingenuity. We are recognised for our pragmatism, technical legal skills and for working in partnership with our clients.

Our team advises on urban renewal projects, residential land, industrial estates, commercial buildings, shopping centres, leisure and rural properties. We have a track record of devising structures to suit particular developments through forward funding agreements, joint venture agreements and profit share arrangements. Our legal advice covers projects through site assembly, statutory procedures, infrastructure agreements, utility supply or diversions, procurement advice, oversailing agreements and development agreements.

Property Litigation

We have extensive experience of conducting litigation in the Court of Session, Scottish Land Court, Land Tribunal for Scotland and the Sheriff Court, where we aim to bring the swiftest, most cost-effective resolution to property law disputes. This experience includes landlord and tenant disputes (including eviction and dilapidations), breach of missives, recovery of arrears, boundary disputes and disputes relating to title conditions.

Property Finance

The relentless focus on the banking industry in recent times has culminated in an increasing amount of commoditisation security work and, at the other end of the scale, an increased usage of Loan Market Association documentation and far more complex security instruments. Our team ensures that its advice to banks, financial institutions, hedge funds and private clients delivers the desired solution in a commercially sound and cost-effective manner..

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