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Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Dakus Gunn has “an excellent ability to explain with clarity complex technical issues” and is held in high esteem for “his around-the-clock availability” and ability to “handle cross-examination extremely well”.

Questions & Answers

Dakus Gunn grew up in the construction industry and has served as a consultant and testifying expert for nearly 20 years. Mr Gunn currently provides expert testimony in the disciplines of delay, productivity and quantum analysis. He has testified in multiple ICC arbitrations and United States court proceedings, and has consulted on numerous projects involving a wide variety of industries including transportation, entertainment and sports arenas, onshore and offshore renewable/non-renewable energy production facilities, and military installations.

In your opinion, what are the benefits and challenges of virtual hearings and virtual hot-tubbing proceedings? 

Due to the covid-19 pandemic, almost all hearings are being conducted virtually. While this changes the dynamic of the arbitration itself, most particularly cross-examinations, there are benefits. First, the expenses incurred by clients are dramatically reduced. Second, the virtual environment benefits experts who are experienced and fluent with online document control and presentation. Finally, we have seen an increased effort in pre-trial conferencing so that issues can be resolved before the virtual environment becomes a limiting factor to opposing counsel and client interactions.

Why is it becoming increasingly important to carefully manage conflicts of interests when appointing expert witnesses in international construction disputes? 

Many smaller expert firms are being swallowed up by larger firms in the era of private equity, causing confusion and predatory behaviour. This greatly increases the possibility of conflicts arising. An expert’s involvement in a case can become conflicted simply with his or her firm’s acquisition. This is one of the reasons that Delta has avoided this trend, and maintains a careful and meticulous conflict check policy. We are also extremely transparent with our clients and counsel when potential new matters arise.

To what extent would you say owners and contractors are becoming increasingly short-term focused. What impact is this having on construction disputes? 

As the current pandemic forces economic downturn, many of our clients are narrowing their focus on surviving the challenges ahead in the short term. Contractors and owners are demanding more real-time controls, and better information on projects so they can see the short-term difficulties and address them ahead of time. Having seasoned experts available that you can trust to deal with these challenges is a must, as we can often apply our experience in the disputes arena to avoid problems for clients in the future.

How will possible labour shortages affect the approach of clients in their day-to-day processes post-covid-19? 

Owners and contractors across the world will have to take a long look at how the current pandemic can be mitigated. The response time to infection clusters will require real-time monitoring on a level that has never been seen before. Site safety staff will require all new levels of training and protective equipment to avoid a cluster taking down the entire work force. There is still a lot more to learn in reference to the longevity of antibodies as well as other long-term effects. It is clear that the construction industry, and the world in general, will be dealing with this new environmental threat for a long time to come.

What challenges do you face with the increased volume of data being used in disputes? 

With the construction and litigation industries becoming more and more data rich, we have been facing an exponential increase in client data available to us to conduct analysis. The challenge is in recruiting and retaining people who are gifted in handling this data and working with it to extract the information we need to support our opinions. Thankfully, Delta has been placing a premium on this effort for the last 10 years which has led to us being at the forefront of data analysis methodologies such as productivity analysis, complex dynamic modelling and technical delay analyses.

What impact will covid-19 have on construction contracts? 

We are entering a new era of force majeure claims and contract considerations. The responsibility for monitoring and protecting the labour force is going to be very contentious.  For example, how will contractors and subcontractors be held responsible for monitoring their work forces or maintaining social distancing on a project? How will job sites deal with the presence or detection of a cluster? All these concepts of risk will need to be addressed in the future. This will create a new wave of contract language that will then need to be tested against the law.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? 

The first thing I ask myself when someone criticises me is, “Are they right?”  I find that, as an independent expert, we must look beyond our egos, the advocacy, and the rhetoric in dispute resolution and seek out the essence of disagreements between parties and/or experts. When we remove the emotion, cut away the distractions and succinctly identify the true elements of disagreement; this is when we truly serve the trier of fact effectively.

Thought Leaders - Construction Experts 2020

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

The “very professional” Dakus Gunn is renowned for consistently doing an “outstanding job” in quantum and delay analysis.

Questions & Answers

Dakus Gunn grew up in the construction industry and has served as a consultant and testifying expert for nearly 20 years. Mr. Gunn currently provides expert testimony in the disciplines of delay, productivity and quantum analysis. He has testified in multiple ICC Arbitrations and United States Court proceedings and consulted on numerous projects involving a wide variety of industries including transportation, entertainment and sports arenas, onshore and offshore renewable/non-renewable energy production facilities, and military installations.

How can clients avoid some of the most common issues in construction disputes?

In the world of delay and quantum disputes there is always something unplanned that arises. The question becomes who is responsible for the potential economic consequences of that event. When this happens, the people who are directly involved with the unplanned event must know how to follow the contract instructions so they can deal with the problem immediately. They must use this process to limit exposure and work towards an effective solution.

Why is mediation becoming more popular as a form of dispute resolution and what are the qualities of a good mediator?

Mediation, done properly, is one of the last moments when the outcome of a case is under the complete control of the parties. Excellent mediators typically have an arsenal of techniques at their disposal. They have developed methods that will help persuade the parties to talk to one another. Also, a good mediator can help each party see the weaknesses of their own case. This form of dispute resolution allows the more rational decision makers to find an alternative resolution before the case is handed over to a third party. 

What do you think will be the greatest challenges facing construction experts over the next five years and how will you ensure you are prepared to face them?

With technology rapidly evolving in the construction industry, the way contractors and owners monitor and assess progress has changed. There is a phenomenal amount of data available for expert firms to analyse. Only those firms that cultivate people who have the technical capabilities to use and analyse this data, will be able to effectively work in this environment. At Delta, we pride ourselves on recruiting experts who have a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. We have found that they often bring unique ways to handle data, they are familiar with new software, and they know how all of this can best be used in a case.

In your opinion what can be done to diversify the construction industry at senior levels?

The benefits of diversifying executive level and project management teams through effective and open-minded recruiting has dramatic consequences on the culture of a construction company or a consulting firm. This demonstrates a commitment to different perspectives and community learning. When companies encourage diversification, all parties benefit from the shared knowledge of different backgrounds and perspectives. If everyone thinks the same way, there is little to no growth in the organisation.

What impact will covid-19 have on construction projects and in litigation?

Construction in general has always had a culture of protection and safe distancing as it is the only way to perform the dangerous work of construction safely. However, construction projects must react quickly when an outbreak like covid-19 arises. The quicker the reaction, the more successful the project. Additional resources and costs, for example, contact tracing and testing, will be required to ward off the danger of covid-19 on the labour force. Additionally, companies with systems in place to monitor real-time progress at the site, such as virtual walk-through inspections to see what work has been completed, will be more capable of meeting this new challenge. 

Regarding litigation, I recently participated in a virtual hearing due to covid-19, which went well, but the virtual platform definitely affected the process. I believe the technology we are using during covid-19 will help us all be more efficient post covid-19, especially on large international cases.

What advice would you give younger experts undertaking their first cross-examination or hot-tubbing proceeding? 

Put yourself in the opposing expert’s shoes and ask yourself how you would attack your opinions and positions on certain matters. Once you learn to do this far in advance, you can anticipate these attacks with more careful analysis and written evidence. If your analysis is clear, transparent, and objective, then you have nothing to fear from any line of questioning as all you are doing at that point is teaching and explaining.

You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?

Continuing to train the next generation of experts to uphold and surpass the standard that Delta has set in the industry is the most rewarding thing I can think of. Watching someone evolve and develop the skills to work as an effective expert is truly the ultimate accomplishment.

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

Peers and clients say

"Dakus is highly intelligent and extremely good at testifying"
"Dakus can testify about both quantum and delay analysis which gives him a unique advantage"
"He is very good, very thorough and very hands on"

Biography

Dakus Gunn, senior director of Delta Consulting Group, has served as an expert in dispute resolution for over 18 years. He provides expert analysis, opinions and testimony in complex construction litigation and arbitration on numerous matters involving delay, damages and loss of productivity.

Mr Gunn’s experience spans a broad diversity of projects including international airports, energy and power industry (wind, hydroelectric, coal, oil and gas); transportation (light rail, bridge, and interstate construction); and multibillion-dollar infrastructure projects. His international experience includes disputes in Africa, Europe, South America, the Middle East and Central America. Mr Gunn has provided expert analysis and/or testified in venues such as AAA Arbitration, ICC Arbitration, DIAC Arbitration, United States federal and state courts, mediations, dispute adjudication boards, and other alternative dispute resolution venues.

He has provided expert opinions on complex delay analysis for projects including 700-acre land developments, international airports, urban high-rises and major urban infrastructure projects. Mr Gunn has presented damages to DCAA auditing authorities and provided numerous expert reports relating to damages on construction projects for owners, engineers, contractors and suppliers. He has also provided expert opinions and analysis on the loss of productivity for labour forces on projects numbering in the thousands, such as two US$5 billion coal fire power plants in South Africa, a US$1 billion expansion of a Middle Eastern airport, and a US$457 million baseball stadium.

Mr Gunn has a BSc in economics, and a BSc in brain and cognitive science, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Delta Consulting Group is an international consulting firm of multidisciplined professionals in engineering, accounting, construction, project management and litigation support.

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

The “very professional” Dakus Gunn is renowned for consistently doing an “outstanding job” in quantum and delay analysis.

Biography

Dakus Gunn, senior director of Delta Consulting Group, has served as an expert in dispute resolution for over 18 years. He provides expert analysis, opinions and testimony in complex construction litigation and arbitration on numerous matters involving delay, damages and loss of productivity.

Mr Gunn’s experience spans a broad diversity of projects including international airports, energy and power industry (wind, hydroelectric, coal, oil and gas); transportation (light rail, bridge, and interstate construction); and multibillion-dollar infrastructure projects. His international experience includes disputes in Africa, Europe, South America, the Middle East and Central America. Mr Gunn has provided expert analysis and/or testified in venues such as AAA Arbitration, ICC Arbitration, DIAC Arbitration, United States federal and state courts, mediations, dispute adjudication boards, and other alternative dispute resolution venues.

He has provided expert opinions on complex delay analysis for projects including 700-acre land developments, international airports, urban high-rises and major urban infrastructure projects. Mr Gunn has presented damages to DCAA auditing authorities and provided numerous expert reports relating to damages on construction projects for owners, engineers, contractors and suppliers. He has also provided expert opinions and analysis on the loss of productivity for labour forces on projects numbering in the thousands, such as two US$5 billion coal fire power plants in South Africa, a US$1 billion expansion of a Middle Eastern airport, and a US$457 million baseball stadium.

Mr Gunn has a BSc in economics, and a BSc in brain and cognitive science, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Delta Consulting Group is an international consulting firm of multidisciplined professionals in engineering, accounting, construction, project management and litigation support.

WWL Ranking: Recommended
WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Dakus Gunn has “an excellent ability to explain with clarity complex technical issues” and is held in high esteem for “his around-the-clock availability” and ability to “handle cross-examination extremely well”.

Biography

Dakus Gunn, senior director of Delta Consulting Group, has served as an expert in dispute resolution for over 18 years. He provides expert analysis, opinions and testimony in complex construction litigation and arbitration on numerous matters involving delay, damages and loss of productivity.

Mr Gunn’s experience spans a broad diversity of projects including international airports, energy and power industry (wind, hydroelectric, coal, oil and gas); transportation (light rail, bridge, and interstate construction); and multibillion-dollar infrastructure projects. His international experience includes disputes in Africa, Europe, South America, the Middle East and Central America. Mr Gunn has provided expert analysis and/or testified in venues such as AAA Arbitration, ICC Arbitration, DIAC Arbitration, United States federal and state courts, mediations, dispute adjudication boards, and other alternative dispute resolution venues.

He has provided expert opinions on complex delay analysis for projects including 700-acre land developments, international airports, urban high-rises and major urban infrastructure projects. Mr Gunn has presented damages to DCAA auditing authorities and provided numerous expert reports relating to damages on construction projects for owners, engineers, contractors and suppliers. He has also provided expert opinions and analysis on the loss of productivity for labour forces on projects numbering in the thousands, such as two US$5 billion coal fire power plants in South Africa, a US$1 billion expansion of a Middle Eastern airport, and a US$457 million baseball stadium.

Mr Gunn has a BSc in economics, and a BSc in brain and cognitive science, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Delta Consulting Group is an international consulting firm of multidisciplined professionals in engineering, accounting, construction, project management and litigation support.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Dakus Gunn is highlighted as "very good at testifying and being cross-examined" and possesses "excellent analytical skills". Sources add, "Dakus is great at explaining complex issues in an easy to understand manner."

Biography

Dakus Gunn, senior director of Delta Consulting Group, has served as an expert in dispute resolution for over 18 years. He provides expert analysis, opinions and testimony in complex construction litigation and arbitration on numerous matters involving delay, damages and loss of productivity.

Mr Gunn’s experience spans a broad diversity of projects including international airports, energy and power industry (wind, hydroelectric, coal, oil and gas); transportation (light rail, bridge, and interstate construction); and multibillion-dollar infrastructure projects. His international experience includes disputes in Africa, Europe, South America, the Middle East and Central America. Mr Gunn has provided expert analysis and/or testified in venues such as AAA Arbitration, ICC Arbitration, DIAC Arbitration, United States federal and state courts, mediations, dispute adjudication boards, and other alternative dispute resolution venues.

He has provided expert opinions on complex delay analysis for projects including 700-acre land developments, international airports, urban high-rises and major urban infrastructure projects. Mr Gunn has presented damages to DCAA auditing authorities and provided numerous expert reports relating to damages on construction projects for owners, engineers, contractors and suppliers. He has also provided expert opinions and analysis on the loss of productivity for labour forces on projects numbering in the thousands, such as two US$5 billion coal fire power plants in South Africa, a US$1 billion expansion of a Middle Eastern airport, and a US$457 million baseball stadium.

Mr Gunn has a BSc in economics, and a BSc in brain and cognitive science, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Delta Consulting Group is an international consulting firm of multidisciplined professionals in engineering, accounting, construction, project management and litigation support.

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