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Thought Leaders - Construction Experts 2020

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Geoff Bewsey has established a reputation as a “highly intelligent and intuitive” expert with vast experience in disruption claims and delay analysis.

Questions & Answers

Geoff is a civil engineer with over 40 years of experience in the construction industry including in management for civil engineering projects and as expert witness on delay and disruption. He has advised clients on project management, project planning, dispute avoidance, claim preparation and bid management. Geoff has been appointed on many occasions as expert on construction disputes in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia and has given expert evidence in arbitration. 

What do you enjoy about working as a consultant?

I enjoy using my experience and understanding to assist clients to unravel the complexity of issues which invariably exist in major projects that fall into dispute. Quite evidently, my clients, whether owners or contractors, have great knowledge of the facts and issues concerning their projects. I find it very fulfilling to be able to help the client to identify, analyse and explain the matrix of key facts which reveal the causes the delays suffered and when these occurred. 

Can you tell us about the most challenging cases you have worked on?

Quite recently I was appointed to take over as expert in a matter concerning delays to the fabrication of three topsides for a gas field. The case was in an advanced stage, with first pleadings and expert reports for each party having already been exchanged. From a dead start, with my team, we had just seven weeks to investigate and analyse the project schedules and documents and to provide an independent expert report. The team worked well with clear responsibilities and frequent interaction being the key to success. The report we delivered was thorough, robust and well received. A good job, well done! 

What are the key pieces of advice you impart to clients when providing training concerning time management skills and procedures?

My key advice is to ensure that the regime of planning, project records and reporting is conceived and prepared for the purpose of good management of the project. I discourage initiating systems of records and correspondence which have the purpose of making claims. In my experience, on a job that is well managed it is usually possible to overcome the largest of problems and for claims to be proportionate, justified and not contentious. 

What are the best ways of remaining impartial and independent when providing analysis and testimony?

I have two principles which I follow for ensuring that I maintain impartiality and independence as an expert. Each is a test that I constantly apply whilst forming and then drawing up my opinion. The first is to test whether my opinion would be the same regardless of the party appointing me. The second is to check that the views I give represent truly my opinion, unfettered by the interests of the party appointing me or their lawyers. 

What challenges arise as a result of projects becoming more complex and multidisciplinary?

The challenge for the delay expert is always the need to understand the technical aspects and process of the projects which we are called upon to investigate. The delay expert is required to investigate and analyse a project and to give opinion as to how incidental delays affected the outturn of the project. However, the projects we are asked to consider are not always in our personal experience of construction. We need to first learn how a project should be implemented in order then to understand how problems that arose caused delay. As projects become more complex, this learning becomes more challenging. However, rising to meet the challenge makes our work all the more fulfilling.

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

My advice is: “Be prepared.” This comes from reflection on my own experiences of cross-examination and hot-tubbing. It was the substance of my answer to an aspiring expert when she asked me, “Do you find it easier to be cross-examined each time it happens?” Rather like the adage “records, records, records” in project management, delivering well under cross-examination or in hot-tubbing requires you to “prepare, prepare, prepare”. The expert’s reports are their evidence for the tribunal and will form the basis for the cross-examination. It is thus essential for the expert to be fully familiar with every aspect of their own reports (and with those of the opposing expert). All that said, I have never found being cross-examined to be a comfortable experience, merely less uncomfortable when I am well prepared. 

Looking back over your career, what has been your proudest achievement?

During my time in project management, I am most proud of delivering the 36 structures of a motorway-class road upgrade in the UK in the late 1990s. The project’s success was the result of a great team effort by all involved, dealing with challenges including encampment of protestors and relocation of endangered snails from a conservation area in the path of the new road. My team concreted structures with a very high standard of surface finish, so much so that the project was recognised in the millennium awards ceremony of the Concrete Society, UK.

In consultancy I am most proud of supporting younger people in my team in their learning and career development and seeing them become accomplished practitioners in their own right. In this, I am also proud to be a senior member of HKA as this practice of developing young talent is embedded in our ethos. I am proud to have been part of developing this ethos and thus having contributed to the flourishing of many people across the company. 

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

Peers and clients

“Geoff definitely deserves to be on the list!”
“He is an outstanding construction expert”

Biography

Geoff is a partner at HKA with over 40 years of experience in design, contracting and consultancy in the engineering and construction industries. He is a specialist in programming and analysis of delay and disruption on complex, major projects.

Geoff’s experience portfolio includes oil and gas facilities, power and process plants, roads and bridges, retail and industrial developments, as well as hospitals, schools, colleges and other public buildings.

He moved into consultancy in 1999, drawing on his management and commercial experience in construction to advise clients on project management, dispute avoidance and bid management. Geoff has also assisted clients to establish record and control systems that enable responsive monitoring and management of production in their construction works, and provides support and training to clients concerning time management skills and procedures.

He has been appointed on many occasions as planning and programming expert on construction disputes in the UK, Europe and the Middle East, as well as South Korea, Azerbaijan and the Philippines, and has given expert evidence in arbitration.

Geoff is a regular speaker at industry conferences around the world, presenting topics such as disruption analysis and valuation, management of project records, principles of time risk management and methods of delay analysis.

He holds a BSc in civil engineering from the University of Westminster, London, and is a member of the Society of Construction Law.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

With over 40 years’ in the construction industry, Geoff Bewsey is widely acclaimed by peers and clients for his deep expertise in project planning and disruption delays.

Biography

Geoff is a partner at HKA with over 40 years of experience in design, contracting and consultancy in the engineering and construction industries. He is a specialist in programming and analysis of delay and disruption on complex, major projects.

Geoff’s experience portfolio includes oil and gas facilities, power and process plants, roads and bridges, retail and industrial developments, as well as hospitals, schools, colleges and other public buildings.

He moved into consultancy in 1999, drawing on his management and commercial experience in construction to advise clients on project management, dispute avoidance and bid management. Geoff has also assisted clients to establish record and control systems that enable responsive monitoring and management of production in their construction works, and provides support and training to clients concerning time management skills and procedures.

He has been appointed on many occasions as planning and programming expert on construction disputes in the UK, Europe and the Middle East, as well as South Korea, Azerbaijan and the Philippines, and has given expert evidence in arbitration.

Geoff is a regular speaker at industry conferences around the world, presenting topics such as disruption analysis and valuation, management of project records, principles of time risk management and methods of delay analysis.

He holds a BSc in civil engineering from the University of Westminster, London, and is a member of the Society of Construction Law.

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