Ian Robinson is looked upon with enormous favour by sources who consider him “one of the best delay experts in the market”.
Ian Robinson is the founder and senior partner of Tempus Delay Analysis LLP, based in London. Ian founded Tempus in 2012 having been a partner with construction specialists Davis Langdon LLP since 1998. Ian leads a specialist team providing advice, support and expert analysis in relation to delay and disruption as it affects the construction and engineering industries, and specialises in forensic investigation of construction and engineering delays.
What attracted you to specialise in construction delay analysis?
I first developed an interest in this area of work in the mid-1990s when it was very much a new discipline. I had always had an interest in construction planning techniques and, earlier in my career as a QS, had advised architects in relation to extension of time claims. As my career developed I enjoyed the challenge of grappling with the difficult forensic and analytical problems created when complex construction projects fall into delay. I’m also an amateur historian so I enjoy trying to find out what really happened on projects and why.
What has been your most interesting case to date and why?
There have been many. Hydro-electric power plants in the Andes, deep water harbours in South Africa, solar towers in the Negev Desert. But overall I would probably have to say Walter Lilly v Mackay. It’s the only case I’ve been involved in that grabbed headlines in the Daily Mail. From a professional perspective it was interesting because of the need to find a reliable way of measuring critical delay in the absence of most of the information we would normally use. It was also an entertaining case because of the colourful characters involved.
What are the benefits of using concurrent expert evidence of hot-tubbing to provide expert testimony?
I’ve done this a few times and I think it can be quite helpful. From the expert’s point of view I think it is advantageous to be able to respond directly to a point made by the opposing expert. Sometimes it can be quite difficult and frustrating to try to do this indirectly through normal cross-examination by counsel. I also think hot-tubbing encourages a more inquisitorial approach on the part of the tribunal which, in my experience, is more conducive to getting the right decision in due course.
What short and long-term affects do you see covid-19 having on the construction industry?
In the short term it is obviously a priority to be able to introduce safe, socially distanced methods of working to avoid encouraging the spread of the virus.
In the longer term, while the virus remains with us, these methods will have to be baked into future management strategies for construction projects and particularly for those of any size. From a planning and programming perspective this will need to take account of matters such as the numbers of workers who can safely occupy the same space at the same time and the consequences of this for safe sequencing of work by different trades. Transport to the work face will also be an issue given the need to maintain social distancing, and in particular in tall buildings where it is necessary to use lifts and hoists to transport personnel to the work face. It is likely that, until we are in a position to control the virus, measures such as these will lengthen construction programmes and projects will need to be planned accordingly.
I would also expect there to be a significant number of disputes over the course of the next couple of years concerning the effect of lockdowns and of covid-safe working methods on projects which were planned before the outbreak.
As senior partner, what are your main priorities for the firm’s development over the next five years?
Given the economically challenging times we are currently facing, which no-one expected even as recently as six months ago, it is obviously a priority in the short term to ensure that the business comes through the current turmoil in good shape. I am confident in that regard that the fine reputation we have built up over a long period will leave us well placed to do so. In the longer term I am keen to encourage the senior members of my team to progress towards partnership and to expand their own workloads so as to broaden what we can offer to clients. In that regard I was particularly pleased that this year Tempus became a partnership and I was able to welcome my long-term colleague Chris Dean as a partner. I also take pride in the fact that the core of the present-day Tempus team remains much the same as it was on day one of the business eight years ago, and I hope to be able to build on this solid foundation in taking the business forward over the next period.
What advice would you give to younger experts hoping to one day be in your position?
Never be afraid of a challenge. Grab opportunities when they come along. Remember that cases tend to be won by those with the best command of the detail and this necessarily involves hard work. But inspiration is as important as perspiration. Skilled messaging and communication are crucial and a bit of the x-factor never goes amiss.
Ian Robinson is considered “a market-leading delay expert”, both in the UK and internationally.
Ian Robinson is the founder and senior partner of Tempus Delay Analysis, based in London. Ian founded Tempus in 2012 having been a partner with construction specialists Davis Langdon since 1998 and having led Davis Langdon’s legal support group since 2008. Ian leads a specialist team providing advice, support and expert analysis in relation to delay and disruption as it affects the construction and engineering industries. Ian specialises in the forensic investigation of construction and engineering delays, with a view to assisting parties and tribunals to identify the extent, causes of and responsibility for critical project delays. Ian’s clients include property developers, government and local government departments (UK and international), universities, contractors and specialist subcontractors, utility companies, engineers and architects and their insurers.
Ian has practised in this area since 1995 and has acted as an expert witness in numerous high-value and high-profile cases before a variety of tribunals.
Ian’s practice is a combination of UK and internationally based work, including projects in Canada, South Africa, Peru and Chile, the UAE, Ireland, the Philippines, Romania, Trinidad, Turkey, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Spain, Kathmandu, Kenya, Angola and Saudi Arabia. Ian’s experience covers a wide range of sectors in the construction, civil engineering, energy, process engineering and oil and gas industries. This includes commercial and residential property (including a number of iconic projects in London), hospitals, hotels, military facilities, major roads and bridges, flood defence and control facilities, coal, gas, hydro-electric, nuclear and offshore power generation, airport facilities, oil and gas pipelines and pumping facilities, smelting plants, offshore jetties and harbour construction.
Ian is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, having qualified as a chartered quantity surveyor in 1990.