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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Hamish Clark

Hamish Clark

HKA1 Hickson Rd,The RocksSydneyAustraliaNSW 2000

Thought Leader

Thought Leaders - Construction Experts 2020

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Hamish Clark is a “very approachable” and “very thorough” expert, who “gets to grips with the complex issues at lightning speeds”.

Questions & Answers

Hamish is a chartered architect with 40 years of experience of the construction industry in the UK and Middle East. He now specialises as an expert witness and is based in the Sydney office of HKA from where he leads HKA’s Expert Engineering Services for Oceania. Hamish’s experience covers all stages of project delivery from planning to commissioning in the industrial, educational, retail, commercial, public, oil & gas, residential and heritage sectors.

Describe your career to date.

Following my training, I worked on the construction of an oil platform in the North Sea, an international architectural practice and in the Sultanate of Oman before returning to Glasgow to join Honeyman Jack and Robertson. As a partner and job running architect my experience covered all aspects of the design and construction process: drafting architectural and consultant appointments, preparing feasibility studies, scheme designs, statutory approvals, production information, detailed specification, performance specifications, condition surveys and reports. Front end, design management activities were complimented by extensive procurement and contract administrator roles.

I gained the Diploma in Construction Law from Strathclyde University and Accreditation in Building Conservation in Scotland. I shared my experience by lecturing in professional practice at Strathclyde University and was an examiner for architects’ final professional examinations. 

After 28 years as a partner, I made the decision to withdraw from practice and specialise as an expert witness. As part of our continued growth, I came to Sydney in April 2019 to lead HKA’s Expert Engineering service in Oceania.

What has been your most memorable case to date and why?

I was a member of a multidisciplinary team of experts for an international arbitration. We had all worked as separate design team members when in practice. We came together to use our collective experience of almost 150 years to provide a comprehensive expert service that built upon the strength our individual experiences. 

How has the market changed since you first started practising?

In the late 1970’s design team fees were based upon fixed percentage rates depending upon the nature and value of the work, architects led the design team and competition between designers was entirely founded upon quality. Those days have gone.

Financial pressures have pushed down the front-end resource to develop the design and address risk. Many aspects of the process have now been transferred to the contractors whose own financial pressures all too often result in an under-resourcing of the design management process and the coordination of the different elements. There is often a lack of resource to manage the design to balance the competing priorities.

Design and coordination take time and that requires properly resourced design teams and design management structures.

How difficult is it to maintain your specialist knowledge as an architect while balancing the demands of your role as an expert? 

It is a challenge, particularly because architecture is such a broad discipline. Even when in practice, there were many areas where I would not consider myself an expert whether it be building typology or a technical aspect. Knowing the limits of your expertise is therefore critical.

Maintaining an active involvement in professional training for architects was one way of ensuring that I remained abreast with developments. It was essential that I was one step ahead of the emerging professionals.

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

The foundation for cross-examination is set by your report. As you write your report, consider that every word and punctuation is open for scrutiny. You cannot disguise a weak opinion and every assertion must be supported by evidence. Furthermore, ignoring evidence that does not support your opinion will simply be exposed and cast doubt over your impartiality. When it comes to the hearing make sure that you know your report and those of the other experts as well as you possibly can.

In advance of any concurrent evidence (hot-tubbing) make sure that you are clear on the process that is being followed. Is it being led by the tribunal or counsel? Be clear as to when you are in a position to express a view. Whatever happens, and no matter how much you may disagree, be respectful of the opposing expert’s opinions.

How does HKA distinguish itself from the competition?

HKA’s QED+ Expert Service is unique, offering experts in Quantum, Engineering, Delay and Commercial Damages from a single source. These experts can be appointed as individuals, but often, if it is appropriate, as a team with management support from one of our Expert and Commission Managers. With a global pool of over 400 engineering experts alone, we consider that our breadth and depth of expertise is unmatched.

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?

As we come to terms with covid-19 there will be new ways of working when it comes to investigation and hearings. Virtual hearings are now becoming common place requiring additional skills and technical support.

It appears that ever narrowing fields of expertise are required to satisfy the needs of each specific case. A blend of sector, technical skills, language and not least testifying experience are all factors that come into play when lawyers are considering an expert’s suitability. At HKA we have processes in place to identify the “expert expert” and provide them with the necessary support. 

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Hamish Clark is a “very approachable” and “very thorough” expert, who “gets to grips with the complex issues at lightning speeds”.

Biography

Hamish is a chartered architect with over 35 years' experience as a practising architect. He has been appointed as an expert architect on 26 disputes and has been a member of a team of experts on four occasions. He has been cross-examined as an expert in international arbitration and court proceedings and has participated in expert conferencing in an international arbitration.

Hamish leads HKA's expert engineering services for Oceania in Sydney, from where he provides expert opinion on architectural matters to clients in the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Oceania. His expert appointments include matters associated with resource infrastructure projects, transport infrastructure projects (airports), light industrial, commercial, hospitality projects, social housing projects including residential towers, luxury residential developments and heritage buildings. Hamish has acted in disputes with values in excess of A$200 million and in the dispute resolution arenas of litigation, arbitration, adjudication and mediation. Hamish manages and peer reviews expert reports for other HKA experts.

Hamish worked for 29 years as a partner and 20 years as managing partner in a UK architectural practice. During that time, he combined management responsibilities with those of a project architect. His experience therefore includes professional appointments, feasibility studies, design development, design documentation, detailed and performance specifications, and building condition surveys and reports. He has acted as project lead and contract administrator throughout his career and is well acquainted with a variety of procurement routes and contract forms. His early experience included North Sea construction projects and the construction of oilfield support facilities in the Middle East.

Hamish is a fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) and a member of the Australian Institute of Architects. He has a Diploma in Construction Law and is a member of both the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). He is an accredited member of both the RIBA and RIAS expert witness panels. In addition to acting as an examiner for the final "Part 3" professional examinations for architects, he has lectured in professional practice for the department of architecture at the University of Strathclyde for a number of years. While in practice, Hamish held an accreditation in building conservation from the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Hamish Clark earns plaudits as "thorough and diligent", and capable of producing "detailed reports which remain focused and to the point."

Biography

Hamish is a chartered architect with over 35 years' experience as a practising architect. He has been appointed as an expert architect on 26 disputes and has been a member of a team of experts on four occasions. He has been cross-examined as an expert in international arbitration and court proceedings and has participated in expert conferencing in an international arbitration.

Hamish leads HKA's expert engineering services for Oceania in Sydney, from where he provides expert opinion on architectural matters to clients in the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Oceania. His expert appointments include matters associated with resource infrastructure projects, transport infrastructure projects (airports), light industrial, commercial, hospitality projects, social housing projects including residential towers, luxury residential developments and heritage buildings. Hamish has acted in disputes with values in excess of A$200 million and in the dispute resolution arenas of litigation, arbitration, adjudication and mediation. Hamish manages and peer reviews expert reports for other HKA experts.

Hamish worked for 29 years as a partner and 20 years as managing partner in a UK architectural practice. During that time, he combined management responsibilities with those of a project architect. His experience therefore includes professional appointments, feasibility studies, design development, design documentation, detailed and performance specifications, and building condition surveys and reports. He has acted as project lead and contract administrator throughout his career and is well acquainted with a variety of procurement routes and contract forms. His early experience included North Sea construction projects and the construction of oilfield support facilities in the Middle East.

Hamish is a fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) and a member of the Australian Institute of Architects. He has a Diploma in Construction Law and is a member of both the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). He is an accredited member of both the RIBA and RIAS expert witness panels. In addition to acting as an examiner for the final "Part 3" professional examinations for architects, he has lectured in professional practice for the department of architecture at the University of Strathclyde for a number of years. While in practice, Hamish held an accreditation in building conservation from the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland.

National Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Hamish Clark impresses market sources with his profound understanding of defect claims and high-value construction disputes.

Biography

Hamish is a chartered architect with over 35 years' experience as a practising architect. He has been appointed as an expert architect on 26 disputes and has been a member of a team of experts on four occasions. He has been cross-examined as an expert in international arbitration and court proceedings, and has participated in expert conferencing in an international arbitration.

Hamish leads HKA's expert engineering services for Oceania in Sydney, from where he provides expert opinion on architectural matters to clients in the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Oceania. His expert appointments include matters associated with resource infrastructure projects; transport infrastructure projects (airports); light industrial, commercial and hospitality projects; and social housing projects including residential towers, luxury residential developments and heritage buildings. Hamish has acted in disputes with values in excess of A$200 million and in the dispute resolution arenas of litigation, arbitration, adjudication and mediation. Hamish manages and peer reviews expert reports for other HKA experts.

Hamish worked for 29 years as a partner, and 20 years as managing partner, in a UK architectural practice. During that time, he combined management responsibilities with those of a project architect. His experience therefore includes professional appointments, feasibility studies, design development, design documentation, detailed and performance specifications, and building condition surveys and reports. He has acted as project lead and contract administrator throughout his career and is well acquainted with a variety of procurement routes and contract forms. His early experience included North Sea construction projects and the construction of oilfield support facilities in the Middle East.

Hamish is a fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) and a member of the Australian Institute of Architects. He has a diploma in construction law and is a member of both the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). He is an accredited member of both the RIBA and RIAS expert witness panels. In addition to acting as an examiner for the final "Part 3" professional examinations for architects, he has lectured in professional practice for the department of architecture at the University of Strathclyde for a number of years. While in practice, Hamish held an accreditation in building conservation from the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland.

Features by Hamish Clark

Putting Your Cards On The Table: An Alternative Approach To Documentary Evidence

Putting Your Cards On The Table: An Alternative Approach To Documentary Evidence

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