Questions & Answers
Founding Partner of NPG Abogados. Specialist in Construction Law and Dispute Resolution. Has represented owners, engineering companies and contractors in landmark cases involving all types of infrastructure. Noteworthy legal participation in the Pan American Games Lima 2019 using NEC contracts. Has also worked on projects using FIDIC contracts and been a member of arbitral tribunals and dispute boards in Latin America. Teaches construction law at the Peruvian University of Applied Sciences and the University of the Pacific.
What attracted you to a career in construction?
When I was 19 years old I was a law student and an opportunity arose to be an intern in the legal department of one of the most important contractors in Peru. I discovered a whole new world and the importance of having a clear allocation of risk, good contracts, etc. Also, I really liked to visit the construction sites and honestly, I think I am a frustrated engineer as I very much enjoy how things are planned, designed, built and operated.
In addition, I had an excellent mentor. Enrique Navarro was the best guide I could have had. He is now my partner in our law firm and has been for the last 25 years.
What did you find most challenging about entering construction law?
To change the market’s erroneous idea that the engineering world is isolated from the legal world. There is a single world which is multidisciplined and professionals with different careers must work together.
How has the market changed since you first started practising?
The market has changed in many aspects but I would like to emphasise the erasing of the lines between common law and civil law. These days you see that there are a lot of common features and that in many respects the legal principles are the same.
To what extent is the construction industry a particularly dispute-prone one?
I think that yes, the construction industry for decades has been dispute-prone, but I would say that this characteristic is changing. More and more owners and contractors are finding that it does not make sense to be conflict oriented and that on the contrary it makes perfect sense to be collaborative, have common goals and yes, share risks.
What challenges did you face when setting up your own firm?
Lots of challenges were faced. From listening to colleagues and big firms saying that the construction law did not exist to breaking mental barriers which hindered the integration between engineers, architects and lawyers in construction projects. I consider now that the ideas I just mentioned have changed and are simply obsolete nowadays.
How has NPG Abogados adapted to address the challenges caused by covid-19?
We have favoured working from home but we still have strong connections with ongoing projects and we do not rule out constructions site visits. Also, we are assisting some owners and contractors to manage the challenges arising from the pandemic, including the Peruvian state.
How is technology currently revolutionising the nature of construction law?
I think that technology is really revolutionising construction and consequently construction law. For example, a good BIM platform which integrates the analysis and management of communications, resources, financing, assets and changes, simply transforms for the better the contractual strategy and dispute resolution in any construction project.
Looking back over your career, what has been your proudest achievement?
I think that beyond serving as First President of the Peruvian Society of Construction Law or as a Co-Chair of the IBA International Construction Committee or being a fellow of the International Academy of Construction Lawyers or any other similar recognitions, my proudest professional honour is that of having contributed to the development of construction law in my country and in Latin America as well as being the mentor of excellent young construction lawyers such as Elisa Figueroa, Guillermo Alarcón, Fiorella Reyes and Jonathan Bravo, among others.