Lawyer Monthly - June 2022

65 JUN 2022 | WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM EXPERT INSIGHT 2018 I have also seen change. With the advent of private equity investment in construction consultancies there has been a scrambling by the main players for the top talent and a renewed emphasis on the need to “grow your own” from within existing teams. What, in your experience, are the most common disputes that arise on construction projects? What do you see as the role of an expert in the dispute resolution process? The causes of construction disputes can vary depending on procurement methods, the type of project, the location of the project, the parties and sometimes the individuals involved. In my experience the issues most parties involved in construction projects fight over are the same. These are, in simple terms: delay, disruption, the valuation or existence of variations, payment (or lack thereof), design (timing and quality) and scope gaps. These issues manifest in many different forms on construction projects and, when disputes arise, establishing the facts or the most likely scenario so that liability and loss or damage can be demonstrated and apportioned is a minefield. It is not a revelation to say that records on construction projects generally fall short of what is needed by way of evidence in a formal construction dispute. This is where construction experts can be vital. Even in cases where the records are good, experts are often needed to piece the puzzle together so that the issues can be readily understood by the legal teams and explained to the dispute resolver (typically the judge, the adjudicator, the arbitrator, the tribunal, the dispute resolution board, etc.). This is often the situation on large complex projects that are typically managed by highly sophisticated parties. In this regard the expert’s role is twofold: on the one hand the expert bridges the gap between the parties to the dispute, the legal teams, and the judge and, on the other hand, the expert fills the gap – where an opinion is needed because there is either a lack of factual evidence available or the factual evidence is so voluminous and complex that specific expertise is needed to disentangle it and establish what really happened, how much it cost and who is (or is most likely) to blame. In your experience of being involved in disputes across three different continents, do the most commonly occurring project disputes vary between the UK, Asia, and Australia? If so, why do you think this is? The cause of disputes can vary but the manifestation of the cause is, in my experience, the same. One of the differences between the continents that is most apparent, from my involvement in various dispute resolution procedures in each one, is how disputes are managed, before and after formal proceedings commence. I think a contributing factor to this is the use of standard and bespoke forms of contract on each continent. In Australia, for example, heavily amended Australian standard forms are commonplace on large-scale projects; bespoke contracts from major multinational With the advent of private equity investment in construction consultancies there has been a scrambling by the main players for the top talent.

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