Sarah Thomas has over 25 years' experience advising on major infrastructure projects, both in the UK and internationally and across a range of sectors, focussing on the energy, mining, water, manufacturing and technology sectors.
She has acted for a number of utility clients (in the electricity and water sectors) in the UK , Ireland and France. In the energy sector, Sarah has extensive Interconnector experience - most recently having advised French electricity utility, RTE on its joint procurement with National Grid of the IFA2 project linking UK and France transmission systems, which closed in April 2017.
Sarah is a recognised FIDIC expert - the standard form most commonly used as the base for Wind farms/Interconnector projects worldwide - having adapted these forms for the procurement of infrastructure across a range of sectors (including for Interconnectors, cable supply/installation, Converter stations and substations) and across both common law and civil code jurisdictions.
As well as the traditional UK and international standard forms, Sarah is also familiar with construction and erection, EPC, E&P (Engineer and Procure) and EPCM (Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management) forms used in the energy and process sectors, as well as frameworks, alliance agreements and mining development agreement. Sarah's infrastructure expertise has been recognised by the UK Legal Directories - Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners - both as a water lawyer and as a construction lawyer and Sarah is also ranked in Legal 500 for her work in Mining and Minerals.
- Advised French electricity utility, RTE on its joint procurement with UK electricity utility National Grid of the IFA2 1000MW HVDC interconnector project linking the UK and French transmission systems, which closed in April 2017, and prior to that advising Moyle Interconnector Limited (part of Northern Ireland electricity utility, Mutual Energy Group) on all aspects of its procurement of a replacement 500MW HVDC interconnector linking Scotland to Northern Ireland, which closed in 2015.
- Advised an international technology company on its procurement (on an EPC turnkey basis) of an electricity substation in Belgium to serve its data centres and related infrastructure based on FIDIC Silver Book (EPC / Turnkey) and English governing law but with localisation to reflect the mandatory requirements of the local (civil code) Belgian jurisdiction.
- Advised the Irish water utility on its framework and call off contract arrangements for a program of D&B and DBO projects to upgrade, operate and maintain waste water treatment and water filtration facilities over an eight year timeframe.
- Advised a number of UK water utilities in relation to the framework contract arrangements for delivery of their five yearly capital asset management programs (known as 'AMPs') , namely:
- Thames Water Plc (AMP5) in respect of the procurement strategy and framework documentation for its £3 billion AMP5 (2010 - 2015) capital works programme for its water and wastewater networks and processing facilities.
- United Utilities Plc for both its AMP4 (2005 - 2010) and AMP5 (2010-2015) multi billion pounds sterling programs of works using a bespoke contract form and call off contract form. Sarah also advised in relation to a separate framework for the provision of reactive operation and maintenance to United Utilities' water/wastewater networks.
- Also advised the contracting joint venture (comprised of civil and process contractors and design engineering house) on the terms of its alliance contract arrangements with Thames Water Plc and others for delivery of Thames Water's AMP6 (2015 - 2020) program of design build and maintenance works across a range of water and wastewater networks and processing facilities.
- Advised on all EPC construction aspects for the SPV (comprising Aéroport de Paris and Bouygues Bâtiment International) arising from the Concession Agreement for the financing, construction and operation of a new terminal at Zagreb International Airport for 30 years, including the design and construction (on an EPC basis) of the new terminal. This project won the Project Finance Magazine European Airports Deal of the Year 2013.
- Advised mining major, Anglo American on construction and procurement matters including the development of feasibility study, EPCM, construction and framework supply agreement templates for use by its business units in Africa, Australia and South America and also advised on its EPCM contract with an international mining engineering house for a copper mining project in Peru.
- Led a team advising the project sponsor on construction of a £3 billion funded mining project in the UK involving multiple EPC packages for the design and build of a mine shaft development and a mineral transit tunnel based on the FIDIC Silver Book (EPC Turnkey).
- Advised a US food products manufacturer on the development of construction templates for use across businesses worldwide for the construction of manufacturing facilities and related infrastructure based on international standard (FIDIC) forms and assisted with localisation of these templates for use in particular jurisdictions across the MENA and Asia Pacific regions.
- Advised The London Clinic, one of the UK's largest private hospitals, on its capital redevelopment program In London including repairing a suite of templates for consultancy (project management cost consultancy and design/architectural services) appointments, construction works and design and build contracts for the refurbishment and new build of health care facilities.
- St. John's College, Oxford University, M.A. (Law), 1989
- Sarah was selected as one of Women in Mining's (WIM) 2015 "100 Inspirational Women in Mining" list
- Clients praise Sarah's 'very high level of commitment', 'ability to be involved in a project team and manage relationships/negotiations with external parties', 'real force for bringing forward proposals and solve issues' and 'competence to produce clear and practicable documents'
- Sarah's infrastructure expertise has been recognised by the UK Legal Directories - Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners - both as a construction and as a water lawyer and Sarah is also ranked in Legal 500 for her work in Mining and Minerals
Sarah has presented at a number of FIDIC International Users Conferences and recently chaired an expert panel discussing the new  FIDIC construction forms at a FIDIC workshop organised by the EBRD in late September this year.
Memberships And Affiliations
- Called to the Bar (Gray's Inn) - 1990
- Passed QLTT and admitted to the Law Society of England and Wales - July 1997
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