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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Hamish Clark

Hamish Clark

HKALevel 1, 1 Hickson RoadThe RocksAustraliaNSW 2000

Thought Leader

Thought Leaders - Construction 2019

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Hamish Clark has an “impressive ability to analyse clearly complex situations”, with clients also praising “both his written reports and his oral explanations of technical matters”.

Questions & Answers

Hamish Clark is a chartered architect leading HKA’s expert engineering services in Sydney, and is responsible for embedding the firm’s multi-disciplinary QED+ (quantum, engineering, delay, disruption and damages) service in the region. He has access to HKA’s global expert pool of over 500 experts. Hamish has been appointed as an expert on over 25 occasions and has provided oral evidence in court and in international arbitration. This has included providing concurrent evidence. Hamish has provided evidence in matters that include technical issues, contract scope and professional services.

What motivated you to become an expert in architectural matters?

I am cautious about using the word “expert”. Having practised architecture for over 30 years, I am comfortable saying that I have expertise in the field of architecture but do not claim to possess any higher level than my peers. Every project is unique, be it the site, the client, the function or the contractor, and each presents its own set of circumstances. In preparing expert evidence, I can reflect upon a wealth of scenarios and use this to arrive at an opinion. I find the process of investigating, reflecting and articulating the circumstances of an issue fascinating.

What qualities make for a successful expert witness?

Knowing the limits of your expertise is vital. As an architect responsible for leading design teams, I was required to understand a huge range of technical issues, whether these were legislative, structural, acoustic or building services. That did not, however, give me expertise in these matters. When disputes arise in construction, very often they are interlinked with other disciplines. It is important to recognise where your expertise ends and where that of another discipline or specialism starts.

An opinion should be based upon sound technical knowledge as well as a balanced and measured investigation. If an opinion has been arrived at with a selective or partial review of the information, then the decision maker is likely to give less credibility to the evidence. It is essential, therefore, that the expert’s appraisal is balanced.

How do you prepare for a testifying case?

Firstly, when preparing my report, I am conscious that I could be cross-examined on any sentence. The report must therefore be clear and unambiguous, and my opinions must address the required issues.

Every assertion used to support opinions must be backed by evidence. If the evidence is not available then the opinion is groundless. This may seem obvious, but it is easy to fall back upon a default assertion without providing the evidence.

In preparing for a hearing, I ensure that I know my own report and the reports of the other experts intimately. It is not a memory test, but I must be able to draw upon the content of my own report and refer to the other expert reports with ease.

The industry has experienced a profusion of cladding cases. How has this impacted your practice?

We have experts investigating cladding issues from San Francisco to Sydney, and we have drawn upon our worldwide pool of technical experts accordingly. The issues require input from experts in architecture, fire, materials and structure, and each location has its own legislation. The differences in legislation between regions can be nuanced and it is essential that the appointed expert is entirely versed with these differences.

What have become evident in all regions, however, are the failings in the design and regulatory processes. It has been apparent to us that, for many high-rise refurbishment projects, there was no single point of design responsibility. Consequently, cladding solutions were selected without a full appreciation of the specific circumstances.

How important is it to identify technical issues at the start of a dispute?

Construction or engineering projects have at their heart the technical scope. While the root of the dispute may lie in a technical issue, this can be overlooked at the initial stage because the impact of the issue becomes apparent in cost or time. I often work closely with my quantum, delay and damages colleagues to provide our QED+ service offering.

While I accept that an assessment of the financial impact is necessary to appraise the justification for the appointment of technical experts, I am of the view that an earlier appraisal of the technical issues could narrow the focus for the cost and time assessment.

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

The dynamic of a multidisciplinary design project is complex. When the project gives rise to a dispute, unearthing the underlying issue can become even more complex. The established model for the appointment of experts requires single expert appointments for the preparation of individual reports. This can then result in a blinkered view, which obscures an inter-disciplinary issue.

How important is it to have a high degree of specialist knowledge as an expert in the field?

Increasingly so. If it is considered that a case will turn on a very narrow technical issue, the criteria for a suitable expert will become equally narrow. We may well be asked to identify an expert who not only has the technical knowledge and direct experience of an issue but also has specific first language, contract and regional experience. This very quickly narrows the field to find a conflict free expert. I am able to draw upon our global expert pool of over 340 technical experts.

Looking back over your career, what has been your greatest achievement to date?

Architecture is a challenging profession and I consider that every completed project is an achievement. There are all kinds of ways of measuring this achievement and clients’ aspirations for their projects are all different. Walking around a completed project with a satisfied client, however, brings a huge amount of pleasure.

I was a partner in an architectural practice for 28 years. Despite two global recessions, we remained profitable and claim-free throughout that period. That was an achievement.

As an expert, measuring achievement is less tangible, but helping a decision maker come to a good decision is hugely satisfying.

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Hamish Clark has an "impressive ability to analyse clearly complex situations", with clients also praising "both his written reports and oral explanations of technical matters".

Biography

Hamish is a chartered architect with more than 35 years’ experience as a practising architect. He has acted as an expert architect on 24 occasions and has been a member of a team of experts on two further occasions. He has been cross-examined as an expert in court proceedings.

Hamish’s expert appointments cover a range of building types including high-end residential, industrial, commercial, leisure, public sector housing and buildings constructed using traditional construction methods. He has acted for disputes with project values of up to £20 million across various dispute resolution arenas including litigation and arbitration. He has also provided expert advisory services for defect and dispute investigations and has acted in a personal injury case. Hamish has managed and reviewed expert reports prepared by specialists associated with building design and construction prior to being issued.

Hamish has broad ranging experience that includes the drafting of architectural and consultant appointments and the preparation of feasibility studies, scheme designs, production information, detailed and performance specifications, and condition surveys and reports. He has acted as lead consultant and contract administrator throughout his career and is well acquainted with a variety of procurement routes. Hamish has specific experience of the educational, commercial, retail, ecclesiastical and conservation sectors. His early experience included North Sea construction projects and the construction of oilfield support facilities in the Middle East.

Hamish has extensive experience as a project-running, senior architect, responsible for the delivery of commissions in both the UK and, during his early career, the Middle East. He worked with the same, established firm for 31 years – 29 years as a partner, with 20 of those as managing partner – where he combined his responsibilities as a partner with those of a project architect.

Hamish is a fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. He has completed a diploma in construction law and is a member of both the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Royal Institute of British Architects. 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 is praised as “thorough and detailed, as well as persistent in closing out matters with those on the other side”. He has experience of working on cases involving commercial, residential, public sector housing and leisure developments.

Biography

Hamish is a chartered architect with more than 35 years' experience as a practising architect. He has acted as an expert architect on 26 occasions and has been a member of a team of experts on two further occasions. He has been cross-examined as an expert in international arbitration and court proceedings and has participated in concurrent evidence.

Hamish is based in Sydney from where he leads HKA’s Expert Engineering Services for Oceania. He provides expert opinion on architectural matters to clients in the Middle East, Europe and Oceania. Hamish's expert appointments cover a range of building types including high-end residential, industrial, commercial, leisure, public sector housing and buildings constructed using traditional construction methods. He has acted in disputes with values in excess of A$200 million across various dispute resolution arenas including litigation and arbitration. He has also provided expert advisory services for defect and dispute investigations and has acted in a personal injury case. Hamish has managed and peer reviewed expert reports prepared by specialists associated with building design and construction.

Hamish has broad ranging experience that includes the drafting of architectural and consultant appointments and the preparation of feasibility studies, scheme designs, production information, detailed and performance specifications, and condition surveys and reports. He has acted as lead consultant and contract administrator throughout his career and is well acquainted with a variety of procurement routes. Hamish has specific experience of the educational, commercial, retail, ecclesiastical and conservation sectors. His early experience included North Sea construction projects and the construction of oilfield support facilities in the Middle East.

Hamish has extensive experience as a project-running, senior architect, responsible for the delivery of commissions in both the UK and, during his early career, the Middle East. He worked with the same, established firm for 31 years – 29 years as a partner, with 20 of those as managing partner – where he combined his responsibilities as a partner with those of a project architect.

Hamish is a fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) and a member of the Australian Institute of Architects. He has completed 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 is a "thorough and diligent" construction expert who is held in high esteem by market sources for his "ability to analyse clearly complex factual situations in order to identify the root of construction defects".

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 for 20 years as managing partner, at 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 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.

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