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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Thought Leader

Thought Leaders - Construction Experts 2020

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

The experienced Marianne Ramey is widely recognised as “one of the most prominent experts internationally”.

Questions & Answers

Marianne C Ramey is the founder and President of Project Advisors International, a bespoke consulting firm delivering programming, expert delay analysis specialist services, including expert witness testimony, on large and complex construction projects worldwide. She manages offices in the US and UAE providing leadership and direction to PAI’s specialists, as well as expert testimony on the cause and effect of delay in various international forums for the resolution of construction delay disputes.
Describe your career to date.
Before founding PAI, I worked in a variety of roles in the construction industry, including that of design engineer, owner’s engineer, construction management, programmer, and independent expert. I am fortunate to work on amazing projects in many countries and continents, be part of diverse cultures, and work with and around some of the most talented, engaging, and knowledgeable people in construction and arbitration. I found a niche area that interests and continually challenges me.
What are the biggest misconceptions about construction experts?
The misperception is that Expert Witnesses take sides. We are specialised professionals with a duty to give the Court, or Tribunal, our impartial opinion on disputed matters within our expertise. Most of us take that duty very seriously, and the fact that two experts have different views is not probative of partiality. Large volumes of data are studied, and hundreds of decisions made when analysing. Experts establish the appropriate approach to the analysis, record the steps, and interpret the model results to arrive at their opinion. To understand the differences in opinion between opposing Experts, the (usually) few issues driving the differences must be identified and then tested in the project execution context.
What are the most common sources of construction disputes, and how do you think clients can minimise the risk of them occurring?
The causes of disputes have been studied widely with the two most significant contributors being cost and schedule overruns. Overruns result from scope changes, design errors/requirements, differing site conditions, ill-timed responses and actions, and incomplete documentation. 
Minimising the risk of disputes requires: i) implementation of processes that allow early identification of issues, and support the parties in collaboratively setting out a course of action on how to address them, and make cost and time adjustments in a timely manner, ii) preparation of robust project schedules prepared by experienced schedulers, and which incorporate inputs from designers and key field/site personnel, and iii) consistent preparation and systematic archiving of detailed project records.
It has been noted that mediation is increasingly being used to resolve construction disputes. Why do you think it is becoming more popular as a form of dispute resolution?
Mediation provides an avenue for resolving issues while preserving relationships by staying out of formal dispute resolution processes, such as litigation and arbitration. Parties engage voluntarily, having the ability to discontinue at any time and control the discussion. Attorneys assist the process by providing advice to their client rather than by presenting positions. It gives parties greater control over the outcome as they formulate the terms of their agreement, and while the mediator facilitates the negotiation, the parties make the decisions. Mediation provides an avenue for resolving issues with creative packages, allowing each side to benefit and the project to continue to progress. It can be done at any stage, and it is a cost- and time-effective method for rapid resolution. It requires good faith participation by the parties and focuses on a resolution in the present rather than uncertainty on the path ahead.
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?
Covid-19 has changed how we work and interact on a global level. Experts historically have travelled frequently, to visit sites, collect data, discuss their instructions, and attend hearings. In-person meetings created opportunities for face to face communication and brainstorming. We have all made the change to online platforms for video meetings, but I do miss the informal conversations and synergy of being with others. We all have to be better masters of our technology, do less multi-tasking, and embrace more frequent and regular interaction, not waiting for the upcoming trip to speak, and discuss issues.
How does Project Advisors International distinguish itself from competitors?
We have stayed a bespoke firm focused on one core speciality, programming – its execution and analysis in resolving disputes. We have retained a cadre of professionals over many years that has preserved decades of experience and team building within the company. PAI consists of a multicultural community of professionals with roots in North and South America, the four corners of Europe, Asia Minor, and Asia. As a result, the inclusivity of cultures and ethnic backgrounds is natural within the team.
What impact will covid-19 have on megaprojects? 
Covid-19 will increase costs and schedule overruns. There is a lack of clarity from governments on what parts of commerce are allowed to proceed and how. There are increased risks to health and safety with little past guidance to assist in charting new ways forward. The supply chain is unpredictable and unreliable; people are fearful; money is tight and will continue to tighten as money diverts to health care and covid-19 related activities. In short, we are in for a considerable period of complete unpredictability in the cost and schedule increases to projects, which will require parties to engage in proactive problem solving with each other more than they had done in the past.
What advice would you give younger practitioners undertaking their first cross-examination or hot-tubbing proceeding?
Whether it is your first time or last time, always tell the truth, listen carefully to the question, and know your report.

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

The experienced Marianne Ramey is widely recognised as “one of the most prominent experts internationally”

Biography

Ms Ramey is the founder and president of Project Advisors International, an independent construction consultancy delivering programming, delay expert and specialist services on large and complex construction projects located worldwide. She manages offices in the US and the UAE, providing leadership and direction to PAI’s construction delay specialists, as well as expert testimony on the cause and effect of delay in various international forums for the resolution of construction delay disputes. She has extensive experience resolving complex time-related dispute issues using advanced programme analysis techniques and presenting the results in a way easily understood by both construction managers and attorneys.

Ms Ramey is a highly regarded independent expert witness on programming, project controls, project management and dispute resolution. Her experience is focused on infrastructure (power, transit, highways, tunnels and process plants) and specialty building projects, and she consults on projects in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia and the US.  Her specialist skills are in the analysis of project performance through detailed analysis of project records – in particular the critical path network programmes for the project, development of detailed progress records – and identifying delays and the causes of delays. This requires specialist software skills with Primavera P6 and more routine office software such as Excel, Word and mind mapping software.

Ms Ramey is a civil engineer in the US and Australia; a certified project management professional; a founding member of the Society of Construction Law North America, and international liaison officer; a contributing author to the Delay and Disruption Protocol (second edition); a member of the Worshipful Company of Arbitrators; and a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

The "excellent" Marianne Ramey receives widespread plaudits for her first-class expertise in global infrastructure and speciality building projects. 

Biography

Marianne Ramey is the founding member and president of Project Advisors International, and has worked on some of the world’s the largest construction and engineering projects.

Ms Ramey has provided independent expert testimony on extensions of time, delay, acceleration and disruption on over 50 projects under ICC, UNCITRAL and SIAC rules in court or arbitration proceedings in Europe, Asia and the US.

Ms Ramey provides advice to owners, contractors, engineers, legal teams and other associated project members on the project controls for large and capital-intensive civil construction projects across the world. She specialises in the assessment of programmes, preparation and maintenance of detailed programmes for all phases of work, construction dispute resolution, suitability of delay analysis methodologies, evaluation of claims, project controls, contract solutions, programme and project management. She also advises on management policies and procedures to comply with specialised contract requirements, while also creating and detailing alternative solutions to overcome problems impacting project delivery.

Ms Ramey is a registered professional engineer with over 30 years’ experience in the engineering and construction industry. She has consulted on projects globally, including power plants, process plants, transit systems, airports, motorways and interchanges, marine and canal projects, oil refineries, sports facilities, hospitals, hotels and speciality building projects.

Ms Ramey is the international liaison officer for the Society of Construction Law North America, and a contributing author to The SCL Delay and Disruption Protocol (second edition). She is a member of the Worshipful Company of Arbitrators and a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

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