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Natalie Keyes


Natalie possesses over 6 years’ experience in both contentious and non-contentious construction matters.

Having worked with a wide variety of clients, including international, national and regional contractors, sub-contractors, consultants and employers, Natalie has experience across various sectors and disciplines including leisure and educational buildings, infrastructure, energy, groundworks and piling, roofing, mechanical and electrical, lifts and commercial and residential developments.

Natalie’s wide-ranging non-contentious experience includes review, negotiation and drafting of build contracts, appointments, collateral warranties and framework agreements, particularly using the JCT and NEC forms of contract.

Natalie’s contentious/dispute experience includes advising clients in relation to commercial resolution of disputes through negotiation, mediation, adjudication, and, where necessary, Court proceedings, particularly in the Technology and Construction Court and Natalie has gained experience in the conduct of several multi-million pound cases.

Natalie also has experience in advising on insurance issues, including assisting a developer client to pursue and obtain confirmation of insurance cover from underwriters in relation to the defective waterproof envelope of a residential development.

Natalie works hard to build relationships with her clients and, where possible, goes the extra mile to deliver a service which exceeds expectations. Feedback from clients in relation to Natalie’s work includes:

“Well done Natalie, a tall order and nailed right on time!”
“Thank you to yourself, David and Natalie, a great result.”

Natalie’s commitment to understanding how to provide the best service to her clients extends to a passion for involvement in the wider construction industry and keeping up to date with, and being part of, developments in the industry.

Natalie regularly writes legal briefings for Watson Burton’s website and Construction Edge newsletter and has presented numerous legal update seminars both to clients and on behalf of other organisations such as the University of Leeds, Constructing Excellence, CECA, ICE, and CIAT.

Natalie has also been involved in speaking to GCSE students regarding careers in the Construction Industry through the enormously successful, award winning, ‘Building My Skills’ scheme which is run by one of our key clients, the Esh Group.

Natalie acted as Chair of the Constructing Excellence North East Generation4Change group (G4C) for 18 months up to April 2017 (and was involved in the group for some time before this, part of this as Vice-Chair) and continues to be part of the committee. During her time as chair Natalie assisted in the organisation and delivery of CPD events, social events and the G4C awards 2016 and 2017.

Her role in G4C allowed Natalie to become involved in the Construction Industry Council North East group, and contributed to a presentation of CENE’s G4C vision of the future at the CIC Construction Summit 2017.

During the last year, Natalie has also been involved in a leadership focus group, supported by Constructing Excellence and DSA Building Performance, which saw 11 individuals from various construction disciplines come together to carry out a study and produce a reference website for individuals interested in developing their leadership skills and making positive changes in the industry, dubbed the Lead 2 Change group.

“In her role Natalie worked with an enthused group of construction professionals as her committee to develop and put on a series of activities and events which were extremely well received by all who attended. Natalie, herself, spoke at many CPD seminars with an extensive knowledge of her subject and the feedback was always excellent. Natalie also Chaired many events and spoke about G4C and the construction sector to the wider construction industry, universities, colleges and schools, encouraging many to look at the sector as a serious career option that many may not have considered previously.”
Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive, Constructing Excellence in the North East.

“During the Lead 2 Change programme Natalie illustrated initiative, focus and the ability to devise and deliver pragmatic strategies, alongside an ability to both lead group colleagues and work well within the group to encourage engagement. A natural leader who gets stuff done with a determination and skill. Every moment is packed with usefulness.”
David Stitt of Lead to Change


recent experience

  • Assisting in the conduct of Court proceedings and settlement of a multi-million pound negligence claim by our client, a college of further education, against its consultant engineer and design and build contractor.
  • Conduct of a multi-million pound dispute for breach of contract and negligence by a public authority against its Design and Build Contractor.
  • Assisting in the resolution of a claim worth in excess of £1 million, for breach of contract and negligence, made by our developer client against its superstructure sub-contractor (and insurers) for defective works following issue in the Technology and Construction Court.
  • Assisting in the resolution, at mediation, of a negligence and breach of contract claim (worth in excess of £1million) by our clients against their foundation contractors and insurers.
  • Assisting with the defence of a claim for damages against an international design and engineering consultant in respect of alleged negligence in the design and supervision of a remedial works scheme which ultimately resulted in resolution for her client.
  • Assisting in the defence of a Part 20 claim made against our developer client by its employer and pursuing the same claim against its sub-contractor in relation to alleged defects with lifts installed at a residential development.
  • Assisting in management of a multi-million pound final account dispute between a national contractor and international developer
    • Negotiation of a contract for commercial building works by an education college.
    • Assisting in the management of building contracts and associated documentation including appointments and warranties in relation to residential developments and student accommodation.
  • Commercial resolution, at pre-action stage, of a claim by our developer client for breach of contract for defective works against its dry-lining sub-contractor.
  • Successful adjudication for a sub-contractor client recovering in excess of £1million;
  • Successful and complete defence of a multi-million pound adjudication seeking payment from our civil engineering contractor client.
  • Negotiating the successful, commercial termination of an appointment by our client for furniture installation dealing with ongoing and outstanding works and guarantees for work completed.
  • Numerous examples of successful resolution of disputes on terms favourable to her clients without the need for recourse to formal dispute resolution;
  • Advising a number of regional and national developers, contractors and sub-contractors in relation to final account claims and defects claims.
  • Assisting our developer client to pursue and obtain confirmation of insurance cover from underwriters in relation to defective waterproof envelope of a residential development.

Natalie originates from Belfast, Northern Ireland and enjoys returning several times a year. She also enjoys visiting new places, most recently Australia, New Zealand, France, Switzerland, Italy and New York.

Natalie would like to go paragliding and skydiving after having been white water rafting and surfing.