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WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Ted Scott has a stellar reputation for his delay analysis work, with respondents heralding “the clarity of his reports and his ability to adapt to changing circumstances”. 

Questions & Answers

Mr Scott is a managing director of Secretariat International and oversees their West Coast practice in the United States. He is a licensed civil engineer, specialising in dispute resolution, delay and disruption analyses, cost overruns, scheduling and project controls. Mr Scott has been appointed as an expert on numerous disputes in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and the Middle East. He has testified in US federal and state courts and in arbitrations (under ICC, AAA and JAMS rules) as an independent expert on matters of scheduling, project delay, loss of productivity and quantum.

What qualities make for an effective construction expert in today’s climate?

To be a good expert requires the combination of a number of skills. On top of being technically experienced enough to carry out the analysis, you have to master communication skills in order to articulate the analysis in a concise and persuasive way (both in written and oral form). Then, and perhaps the most difficult skill to hone, is being able to think on your feet such that you can handle cross-examination.  

However, even if you have all of these skills, there can be factors outside of your control. Like maybe you are perceived to be too young i.e. you do not have enough ‘grey hair’. That is what I found to be the most difficult thing about entering the practice. I quickly learned that what matters is earning the trust and respect of your clients by demonstrating the above skills.

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

Due to how competitive it is, the construction Industry historically has had some of the lowest profit margins of any sector. This leaves little room for error in completing a project. This problem has only been exacerbated as the complexity and multidisciplinary nature of projects has increased. It is one of the main reasons why the construction industry is particularly dispute-prone.

What are the best ways of remaining impartial and independent when providing analysis and testimony?

My practice is to start the analysis by finding the effect first. In terms of a delay analysis, this means identifying which critical activities were delayed (and when) before looking for (or even knowing) the claimed causes. This means the foundation of the analysis is formed independently of either sides claim. The next step is then to give fair weight to both sides claims to see if any of them caused the effect you independently found.

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?

The reality is that a successful mediation is significantly more cost effective than a full-blown arbitration or trial. This reason, along with the increased quality of available mediators, has made them an attractive proposition for settling disputes.  

How has covid-19 affected expert work and the type of matters conducted? Can you see these changes being long term?

As covid-19 spread across the globe, I was in the middle of an arbitration in New York. After the first week, it was postponed while the parties tried to figure out how to proceed. I was quite surprised at how quickly and seamlessly the transition to a virtual hearing took place. Within two weeks things were up and running and shortly thereafter I was giving evidence via Zoom. It was quite remarkable thinking back on it.

Virtual hearings and depositions have been a way of life for six months now and I think there are aspects that will likely last; particularly related to depositions. The reality is that they can be taken from anywhere and at any time now. Since scheduling depositions can be a problem (due to time and travel constraints), I think many of them will still be taken virtually in the future. I also think that while having in-person hearings will always be the preference, if a witness or expert needs to give evidence virtually it will not be seen as a problem (as how I think it was seen in the past).

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

My father used to always tell me, “Think before you speak.” It has taken me a long time to fully comprehend that short statement. I now understand this in the context of my career - it starts with really listening and comprehending what is being asked, then saying what you mean, standing behind your statements and finally being responsible for them. I continue to strive to hone these skills each day.

Thought Leaders - Construction Experts 2020

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Ted Scott possesses “foremost expertise” in construction claims and is applauded by sources for his “calm under cross-examination”. ​

Questions & Answers

Mr Scott is a managing director of Secretariat and oversees their West Coast practice in the United States. He is a licensed civil engineer, specialising in dispute resolution, delay and disruption analyses, cost overruns, scheduling and project controls. Mr Scott has been appointed as an expert on numerous disputes in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and the Middle East. He has testified in US federal and state courts and in arbitrations (under ICC, AAA and JAMS rules) as an independent expert on matters of scheduling, project delay, loss of productivity and quantum.

Describe your career to date.

I certainly never thought my career would take the path it did. When I was in College, I was very interested in coastal engineering and thought that would be my career. However, I was presented with an internship opportunity working in the construction industry which I ended up taking. I enjoyed it so much that I went to work there full time upon graduation. My career began as a project engineer working on a number of highway and bridge projects in and around Washington DC. From my experience there, I became more and more interested in scheduling and claims and left to pursue a career in that field. 

I cut my teeth on scheduling and delay analyses at a small (at that time) construction consulting firm, getting to work on all types of different projects. 

From there, I went to work at one of the big accounting firms to help start a forensic construction practice. It was there that I met the core group of colleagues and friends that I continue to work with today. In fact, it was this core group that started Secretariat over 10 years ago.

What do clients look for in an effective testifying expert?

To be a good expert requires the combination of a number of skills. On top of being technically experienced enough to carry out the analysis, you have to master communication skills in order to articulate the analysis in a concise and persuasive way (both in written and oral form). Then, and perhaps the most difficult skill to hone, is being able to think on your feet such that you can handle cross-examination. 

However, even if you have all of these skills, there can be factors outside of your control. For instance, maybe you are perceived to be too young (i.e. you do not have enough grey hair). That is what I found to be the most difficult thing about entering the practice. I quickly learned that what matters is earning the trust and respect of your clients by demonstrating your skills.

To what extent is the construction industry a particularly dispute-prone one? 

Due to how competitive it is, the construction Industry historically has had some of the lowest profit margins of any sector. In order to win work, contractor’s often cut their contingency to unrealistic levels which leaves little room for error in completing a project – and we all know that construction projects rarely, if ever, go as planned. 

Why do you think owners and contractors are moving towards seeking the advice of experts in the early stages of the construction process?

Both Owners and Contractors are becoming increasingly interested in how they can better capture the real impact of a delay event – both in terms of time and cost. As a result, we are progressively being engaged in projects at an earlier stage. This is to ensure proper controls are in place and the impact can be monitored and documented contemporaneously (rather than trying to rebuild it retrospectively). I think clients are also realising that there is a cost benefit in doing so as well.

What are the greatest challenges the construction industry face with the advent of covid-19?

I think the construction industry will be drastically changed by the both public health and economic effects of the pandemic. Jobsites will be cleaner and safer which will be reinforced by state, local and federal regulations. Distancing will likely continue. Meetings, including public meetings, will be virtual. Supply chains will be recalibrated. All of this will have an effect on schedule, productivity and cost.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

My father used to always tell me, “Think before you speak.” It has taken me a long time to fully comprehend that short statement. I now understand this in the context of my career — it starts with really listening and comprehending what is being asked, then saying what you mean, standing behind your statements and finally being responsible for them. I continue to strive to hone these skills each day.

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

Peers and clients say

"Ted is reliable, on time and uber-professional"
"Ted's work product is a 10/10 - very detailed and compelling"
"I would never hesitate to use him or refer him to others - oh, and I win when I use him"
"He's cool and calm on cross-examination and convincing on direct examination"

Biography

Mr Scott is a managing director of Secretariat and manages their West Coast practice in the United States. He is a licensed civil engineer, with over 20 years of experience in the construction industry, specialising in dispute resolution, delay and disruption analyses, cost overruns, scheduling and project controls. His experience spans a variety of large-scale infrastructure and commercial projects including airports, casinos, education, high-rise commercial/residential, highways and bridges, hospitals, hotels, judicial, oil and gas, ports, power, rail, stadiums, tunnels and water/wastewater treatment facilities.

Mr Scott has been appointed as an expert on numerous disputes in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and the Middle East. He has testified in US federal and state courts and in arbitrations (under ICC, AAA and JAMS rules) as an independent expert on matters of scheduling, project delay, loss of productivity and quantum.

Mr Scott is also an author and frequent speaker on a variety of construction-related topics. He currently serves on the American Society of Civil Engineers’ committee for the development of a national standard for conducting CPM schedule delay analyses in construction.

Prior to working in the consulting field, Mr Scott worked both as a civil engineer and scheduler on several large highway and bridge projects gaining hands-on experience from the ground up.

Mr Scott received both a BS in civil engineering and an MBA from Virginia Tech.

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Ted Scott possesses “foremost expertise” in construction claims and is applauded by sources for his “calm under cross-examination”. ​

Biography

Mr Scott is a managing director of Secretariat and manages their West Coast practice in the United States. He is a licensed civil engineer, with over 20 years of experience in the construction industry, specialising in dispute resolution, delay and disruption analyses, cost overruns, scheduling and project controls. His experience spans a variety of large-scale infrastructure and commercial projects including airports, casinos, education, high-rise commercial/residential, highways and bridges, hospitals, hotels, judicial, oil and gas, ports, power, rail, stadiums, tunnels and water/wastewater treatment facilities.

Mr Scott has been appointed as an expert on numerous disputes in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and the Middle East. He has testified in US federal and state courts and in arbitrations (under ICC, AAA and JAMS rules) as an independent expert on matters of scheduling, project delay, loss of productivity and quantum.

Mr Scott is also an author and frequent speaker on a variety of construction-related topics. He currently serves on the American Society of Civil Engineers’ committee for the development of a national standard for conducting CPM schedule delay analyses in construction.

Prior to working in the consulting field, Mr Scott worked both as a civil engineer and scheduler on several large highway and bridge projects gaining hands-on experience from the ground up.

Mr Scott received both a BS in civil engineering and an MBA from Virginia Tech.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Ted Scott has a stellar reputation for his delay analysis work, with respondents heralding “the clarity of his reports and his ability to adapt to changing circumstances”. 

Biography

Mr Scott is a managing director of Secretariat and manages their West Coast practice in the United States. He is a licensed civil engineer, with over 20 years of experience in the construction industry, specialising in dispute resolution, delay and disruption analyses, cost overruns, scheduling and project controls. His experience spans a variety of large-scale infrastructure and commercial projects including airports, casinos, education, high-rise commercial/residential, highways and bridges, hospitals, hotels, judicial, oil and gas, ports, power, rail, stadiums, tunnels and water/wastewater treatment facilities.

Mr Scott has been appointed as an expert on numerous disputes in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and the Middle East. He has testified in US federal and state courts and in arbitrations (under ICC, AAA and JAMS rules) as an independent expert on matters of scheduling, project delay, loss of productivity and quantum.

Mr Scott is also an author and frequent speaker on a variety of construction-related topics. He currently serves on the American Society of Civil Engineers’ committee for the development of a national standard for conducting CPM schedule delay analyses in construction.

Prior to working in the consulting field, Mr Scott worked both as a civil engineer and scheduler on several large highway and bridge projects gaining hands-on experience from the ground up.

Mr Scott received both a BS in civil engineering and an MBA from Virginia Tech.

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