The Shard, 32 London Bridge Street
SE1 9SG, London, England
Peers and clients say:
"He is dependable and produces well-considered work"
"I am immensely impressed with Mr Barry's clear mastery of construction delay issues and his clear and easy speaking style"
"David is a seasoned professional"
David Barry is one of the world’s pre-eminent construction experts, and he was named Who’s Who Legal’s Construction Expert of the year in both 2020 and 2018. He is very highly regarded as both a construction management and delay expert, and is renowned for his independence and integrity. David has over 30 years of programme, project and construction management experience, spanning a wide range of industries that include major civil, commercial, environmental, industrial, institutional, process and energy works.
Describe your career to date.
Educated in Ireland where I qualified as a quantity surveyor, I quickly switched my focus to project management. I moved to New York after graduation and worked on a variety of large-scale projects in many different roles, including construction manager, project manager and planner. In 1995 I was transferred to London to head up the European division of a major US construction management business. In 1999, I co-founded consulting company Precept, which provided project management and project finance consulting services. From this point forward, I became more involved in the delivery of independent expert witness services on project management and/or scheduling matters, all the while maintaining my involvement in live projects. Precept was acquired in 2006 by a large US practice. In 2008 I completed a graduate diploma in law. In 2009, I founded Blackrock.
What motivated you to focus your practice on the construction sector?
The practical and physical aspects of this industry really appealed to me, and I was fascinated by the intersection of construction technology and management sciences.
How has the role of construction experts evolved since you entered the market?
The two biggest changes relate to technology, one progressive and one regressive. On the progressive side, the volumes and types of data, as well as the tools with which to organise and analyse such information, have increased exponentially. This usually means that the riddles can be solved. Happily, on the regressive side, the industry has moved significantly away from the “dark arts”-type theoretical delay analyses which dominated in the 1990s and 2000s.
What are the main challenges currently facing experts when conducting concurrent delay analyses?
Semantics. In particular, whether an activity and/or event needs to be on the critical path(s) to be treated as concurrent.
In your opinion, are dispute adjudication boards the future of construction disputes?
They are one of several very useful dispute resolution tools that the industry has available to it. They don’t suit every circumstance but can be very effective in some of the larger-scale and more complex projects. I definitely think one great advantage of the DAB system is the presence of significant technical experience and skills on the panel to complement the obviously necessary legal skills. Another advantage is the earlier intervention that is promoted by the DAB process.
What qualities make for a good expert witness in the construction industry?
High technical competence, integrity, diligence and the ability to communicate.
What advice would you give to younger experts who hope one day to be in your position?
Collect experience, be curious and never compromise on your independence.