Graham McNeill
Office:
Level 35, Oxford House
Taikoo Place, 979 King’s Road
Quarry Bay
City:
Hong Kong
Country:
Hong Kong
Tel:
+852 3768 4674
Fax:
+852 3012 9664

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders Global Elite

The views expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting, Inc, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals.

Graham McNeill is a senior managing director and head of the construction solutions practice in Asia-Pacific. He has broad experience in quantity surveying, dispute management, dispute resolution and litigation support across multiple sectors, working internationally. Graham is recognised by WWL as a Quantum Expert “Thought Leader” and “top-class expert who is highly respected in the international markets”. He is also cited for his “very comprehensive and well-reasoned report” and his “excellent performance on the stand”.

What inspired you to pursue a career as a construction consultant?

Both my father and my uncle were chartered quantity surveyors, so construction consultancy runs in the family! I have always been intrigued by “mega-structures” and how they were built. Quantity surveying enabled me to see the full life cycle of projects. The transition from a traditional site quantity surveyor to a construction consultant, specialising in disputes, came when I moved to Hong Kong. Working as a commercial manager, I hired a claim consultant to advise on a particularly problematic issue we had. Working closely with that claims consultant sparked my interest in the legal/dispute resolution aspects of construction.

What was the most challenging aspect of starting out in the arbitration expert field?

Securing your first expert appointment is inevitably the most challenging aspects of any budding expert witness. Understandably, solicitors are reluctant to recommend experts who have not given evidence and been cross-examined. Even if you are fortunate enough to be appointed, the vast majority of expert commissions will settle before a hearing, again leaving the expert “unproven” on the stand. That said, one must always prepare as if each and every appointment will go the distance.

How does FTI Consulting maintain its competitive edge as a firm?

Each of our practitioners are clearly focused on client needs. We work closely with our clients to ensure we properly understand the issues and challenges they face, create an action plan on how best to address these and delivery a quality work product on time and within budget. Our strength is found in the depth of our staff experience and our critical mass. We are able to advise on the largest global disputes and be where our clients need us.

Which part of your current role do you enjoy the most?

Working as a quantum expert witness is perhaps the most challenging aspect of my work. Maintaining the highest professional standards and ensuring you remain both independent and impartial is essential. However, the most interesting part of my work is actually on the commercial/dispute management projects. I enjoy managing the dispute team and being able to advise my clients strategically, which one cannot do as an independent expert. Making a difference to the bottom line (adding value) is always the most enjoyable aspect of my work.

What do clients look for in a top construction consultant?

I specialise in commercial management and construction disputes, having worked for large international contractors, a professional quantity surveyor and now a top construction consultant, FTI Consulting. The top firms will have staff who can provide timely, accurate and – most important – practical advice that enables their clients to make informed commercial decisions. In our role, we can wear a number of hats so it’s important to have lived and breathed a number of positions. Only then can you truly understand things from a client’s perspective.

How do you prepare for your role as a quantum expert in an international commission case?

Regrettably, there is no magic formula or shortcut to this. To act as a credible expert witness you simply have to know your report and ensure that the opinions you have drawn are genuinely your own. All too often experts view their role as “points scoring” over their opposing expert. The best preparation for a hearing is to work collaboratively with your opposing expert and ensure you collectively provide the tribunal or judge with your opinions. Before submitting my reports I will challenge my own opinions to ensure what I am saying is independent and not simply advocating my appointing solicitor’s case. My support team is also invaluable in the preparation for any international commission. They assist in document review and ensure I have visibility of all relevant information from both parties.

What has been the proudest achievement in your career so far?

Being recognised as a quantum expert Thought Leader by my peers and instructing solicitors is most definitely a highlight. As an expert, you are held to the highest standards in your profession. I remain keen to continue on that journey and ideally help others to advance in this field.

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Construction

The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting, Inc, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals.

Graham McNeill is a senior managing director and head of the construction solutions practice in Asia Pacific. He has broad experience in quantity surveying, dispute management, dispute resolution and litigation support across multiple sectors, working internationally. Graham is recognised by WWL as a Quantum Expert “Thought Leader” and “top-class expert who is highly respected in the international markets” He is also cited for his “very comprehensive and well-reasoned report” and his “excellent performance on the stand”.

How has the construction market changed since you first started as a practitioner?

The last 25 years has seen considerable change in the construction industry. As a Quantity Surveyor, I grew up with a scale rule. Thankfully we have moved on and technology has played a huge part. Digital records, BIM, 3D printing, drones and smart construction software have changed the way we build and how we now consider and assess disputes. That said, I haven’t noticed a drop in construction disputes. While technology improves, regrettably our desire to “win” (wanting more for less from employers and/or contractors) means that someone has to lose and disputes tend to arise. Contract forms have improved over the years in an attempt to mitigate disputes which is a step in the right direction.

What do clients look for in a top construction consultant?

I specialise in commercial management and construction disputes, having worked for large international contractors, a professional quantity surveyor and now a top construction consultant, FTI. The top firms will have staff that can provide timely, accurate and – most important – practical advice that enables their clients to make informed commercial decisions. In our role, we can wear a number of hats so it’s important to have lived and breathed a number of positions. Only then can you truly understand things from a client’s perspective.

Which assignment in your career has taught you the most about the construction market?

It is always better to learn from other peoples’ mistakes as opposed to your own. I feel that the most valuable lessons learned are when things go wrong. There have been a number of cases recently which highlight the role of an expert witness and more importantly what not to do! Those cases continue to provide valuable learning opportunities for us all.

What is the most interesting aspect of your work?

Working as a quantum expert witness is perhaps the most challenging aspect of my work. Maintaining the highest professional standards and ensuring you remain both independent and impartial is essential. However, the most interesting part of my work is actually on the commercial/dispute management projects. I enjoy managing the dispute team and being able to advise my clients strategically, which one cannot to as an independent expert. Making a difference to the bottom line (adding value) is always the most interesting aspect of my work.

How do you prepare for your role as a quantum expert in an international commission case?

Regrettably, there is no magic formula or shortcut to this. To act as a credible expert witness you simply have to know your report and ensure that the opinions you have drawn are genuinely your own. All too often experts view their role as “points scoring” over their opposing expert. The best preparation for a hearing is to work collaboratively with your opposing expert and ensure you collectively provide the tribunal or judge with your opinions. Before submitting my reports I will challenge my own opinions to ensure what I am saying is independent and not simply advocating my appointing solicitor’s case. My support team are also invaluable in the preparation for any international commission. They assist in document review and ensure I have had visibility of all relevant information from both parties.

In what ways do you think the construction market will evolve in the next few years?

With digital technologies entering the construction market we are bound to see substantial savings and efficiencies on how built assets are designed, constructed, operated and maintained. However, in parallel with this climate change, resource scarcity, urbanisation and a construction-specific talent gap will all pose different challenges.

What are the main attributes young practitioners must have to succeed as construction consultants?

To succeed as future construction consultants the young practitioners must differentiate themselves and upskill to address the challenges above. Practitioners must be familiar with the new digital age. AI, commercial software systems, 3D printing, modular construction, BIM, etc, are our future. Current practitioners are by and large unfamiliar with this new technology. The next generation will develop a different skill set which reflects the digital transformation we are experiencing. Gone are the days of the scale rule, thankfully!

What has been your proudest achievement in your career so far?

Being recognised as a quantum expert Thought Leader by my peers and instructing solicitors is most definitely a highlight. As an expert, you are held to the highest standards in your profession. I remain keen to continue on that journey and ideally help others to advance in this field.

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Arbitration: Expert Witnesses

Graham McNeill is a senior managing director at FTI Consulting and head of the Asia-Pacific construction solutions practice, based in Hong Kong. He has broad experience in quantity surveying, dispute management, dispute resolution and litigation support, working on numerous standard and bespoke forms of contract.

Mr McNeill has worked in Asia for over 20 years with some of the largest blue-chip employers and contractors in the construction industry. He has extensive experience in the preparation, defence, negotiation and settlement of contractual claims. He works alongside, and in support of, solicitors and barristers providing claims advice, commercial and contract management and dispute resolution services. In addition, Mr McNeill is an accredited practising member of the Academy of Experts. He has been appointed as quantum expert witness on numerous large international commissions under ICC and ICSID rules, giving evidence and being cross-examined. Mr McNeill has worked in many sectors, including but not limited to infrastructure, oil and gas, power, rail and aviation.

In addition, Mr McNeill has also been appointed as dispute manager on a number of high-profile construction disputes and is an accredited mediator with the HKIAC.

Having worked as a PQS, contractor and consultant, Mr McNeill is able to provide strategic advice to a range of clients. His core competencies include quantity surveying, risk analysis and change management,  commercial management and contract administration, the preparation and management of delay, disruption and prolongation cost claims, and the formulation of commercial settlement strategies.

Mr McNeill has additional qualifications and experience in construction law, arbitration, mediation and project management.

WWL says: Graham McNeill is “a top-class expert” who is highly respected in the international market for “the level of constructive analysis and new and interesting perspective he brings to arbitration proceedings”. 

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Arbitration which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Consulting Experts: Experts - Construction - Quantum & Delay

Graham McNeill is a senior managing director at FTI Consulting and head of the Asia Pacific construction solutions practice, based in Hong Kong. He has broad experience in quantity surveying, dispute management, dispute resolution and litigation support, working on numerous standard and bespoke forms of contract.

Mr McNeill has worked in Asia for over 20 years with some of the largest blue-chip employers and contractors in the construction industry. He has extensive experience in the preparation, defence, negotiation and settlement of contractual claims. He works alongside, and in support of, solicitors and barristers providing claims advice, commercial and contract management and dispute resolution services. In addition, Mr McNeill is an accredited practising member of the Academy of Experts. He has been appointed as a quantum expert witness on numerous large international commissions under HKIAC, ICC and ICSID rules, giving evidence and being cross-examined. Mr McNeill has worked in many sectors, including but not limited to infrastructure, oil and gas, power, rail and aviation.

In addition, Mr McNeill has also been appointed as dispute manager on a number of high-profile construction disputes and is an accredited mediator with the HKIAC. Having worked as a PQS, contractor and consultant, Mr McNeill is able to provide strategic advice to a range of clients. His core competencies include quantity surveying, risk analysis and change management, cost value reconciliation, commercial management and contract administration, the preparation and management of delay, disruption and prolongation cost claims, and the formulation of commercial settlement strategies. Mr McNeill has additional qualifications and experience in construction law, arbitration, mediation and project management.

WWL says: Graham McNeill is a stand-out practitioner in Hong Kong who comes highly regarded by peers and clients alike for his "constructive analysis and new and interesting perspectives".

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Consulting Experts which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Consulting Experts: Experts - Financial Advisory and Valuation - Quantum of Damages

Graham McNeill is a senior managing director at FTI Consulting and head of the Asia Pacific construction solutions practice, based in Hong Kong. He has broad experience in quantity surveying, dispute management, dispute resolution and litigation support, working on numerous standard and bespoke forms of contract.

Mr McNeill has worked in Asia for over 20 years with some of the largest blue-chip employers and contractors in the construction industry. He has extensive experience in the preparation, defence, negotiation and settlement of contractual claims. He works alongside, and in support of, solicitors and barristers providing claims advice, commercial and contract management and dispute resolution services. In addition, Mr McNeill is an accredited practising member of the Academy of Experts. He has been appointed as a quantum expert witness on numerous large international commissions under HKIAC, ICC and ICSID rules, giving evidence and being cross-examined. Mr McNeill has worked in many sectors, including but not limited to infrastructure, oil and gas, power, rail and aviation.

In addition, Mr McNeill has also been appointed as dispute manager on a number of high-profile construction disputes and is an accredited mediator with the HKIAC. Having worked as a PQS, contractor and consultant, Mr McNeill is able to provide strategic advice to a range of clients. His core competencies include quantity surveying, risk analysis and change management, cost value reconciliation, commercial management and contract administration, the preparation and management of delay, disruption and prolongation cost claims, and the formulation of commercial settlement strategies. Mr McNeill has additional qualifications and experience in construction law, arbitration, mediation and project management.

WWL says: Graham McNeill has over 20 years' experience offering quantity surveying and litigation support to key clients in the construction industry.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Consulting Experts which can be purchased from our Shop.

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