David Barry, Who’s Who Legal’s Construction Expert Witness of the Year 2018, is a Director of Blackrock Expert Services. He is an experienced construction management professional who specialises in using critical path method scheduling as the principal tool in managing complex construction projects/programmes. David also acts as a dispute advisory board member, arbitrator and mediator. He has had a number of appointments as court/tribunal-appointed expert.
DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER TO DATE.
Educated in Ireland where I qualified as a quantity surveyor, I quickly switched my focus to project management. I moved to New York after graduation and worked on a variety of large-scale projects in many different roles, including construction manager, project manager and planner. In 1995, I was transferred to London to head up the European division of a major US construction management business. In 1999, I co-founded consulting company Precept, which provided project management and project finance consulting services. From this point forward, I became more involved in the delivery of independent expert witness services on project management and/or scheduling matters, all the while maintaining my involvement in live projects. Precept was acquired in 2006 by a large US practice. In 2008, I completed a graduate diploma in law. In 2009, I founded Blackrock with a staff of one. This has now grown to a company of over 150 professionals with a number of international offices. We are slightly unusual in our industry as we do not provide any type of claims consulting or advocacy services. Our mantra is independence and integrity, and we won’t compromise on that.
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO FOCUS YOUR PRACTICE ON THE CONSTRUCTION SECTOR?
The practical and physical aspects of this industry really appealed to me, and I was fascinated by the intersection of construction technology and management sciences.
HOW HAS THE ROLE OF CONSTRUCTION EXPERTS EVOLVED SINCE YOU ENTERED THE MARKET?
The two biggest changes relate to technology, one progressive and one regressive. On the progressive side, the volumes and types of data, as well as the tools with which to organise and analyse such information, have increased exponentially. This usually means that the riddles can be solved. Happily, on the regressive side, the industry has moved significantly away from the “dark arts”-type theoretical delay analyses that dominated in the 1990s and 2000s.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES CURRENTLY FACING EXPERTS WHEN CONDUCTING CONCURRENT DELAY ANALYSES?
Semantics. In particular, whether an activity and/or event needs to be on the critical path(s) to be treated as concurrent.
IN YOUR OPINION, ARE DISPUTE ADJUDICATION BOARDS THE FUTURE OF CONSTRUCTION DISPUTES?
They are one of several very useful dispute resolution tools that the industry has available to it. They don’t suit every circumstance but can be very effective in some of the larger-scale and more complex projects. I definitely think one great advantage of the DAB system is the presence of significant technical experience and skills on the panel to complement the obviously necessary legal skills. Another advantage is the earlier intervention that is promoted by the DAB process.
WHAT QUALITIES MAKE FOR A GOOD EXPERT WITNESS IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY?
High technical competence, integrity, diligence and the ability to communicate.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNGER EXPERTS WHO HOPE ONE DAY TO BE IN YOUR POSITION?
Collect experience, be curious and never compromise on your independence.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
Building the culture within our company Blackrock, which undoubtedly led to us winning a 2017 Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
David Barry is internationally renowned as a world-class testifying witness on construction delay disputes.
David Barry, Who’s Who Legal’s Construction Expert Witness of the Year (2018), is an experienced delay expert and programme and construction management professional who specialises in using critical path method scheduling as the principal tool in managing complex construction projects/programmes.
He has over 30 years of project and construction management and consulting experience, gained on a wide range of construction projects including major civil, commercial, institutional, process, industrial and environmental works. Projects have included light and heavy rail transportation systems; airports; highways; bridges; ships; office buildings; entertainment/recreational facilities; hotels; hospitals; land reclamation and mining works; and process, industrial, mechanical and electrical installations.
His experience encompasses programme, project and construction management; general contracting; planning and programming; cost estimating and control; value engineering and risk analysis; partnering consulting; as well as claims analysis and dispute resolution. He is a reputable expert witness on construction project management and delay/programming issues, and he has extensive testifying experience.
David also acts as a dispute advisory board member, arbitrator and mediator. He has had several appointments as court/tribunal-appointed expert. As an expert, David has considered and reported upon issues such as project and construction management performance matters as well as delay, disruption, acceleration, concurrency, resource usage, float ownership, mitigation responsibility and other planning issues. He has also provided expert witness services regarding the management and programming of a software development dispute.