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Mr Harvey is a managing director at Secretariat (a leading provider of expert services). Mr Harvey provides advice on delay, cost/damages, and productivity/inefficiency. He has been engaged on many of the highest-profile construction disputes in the world such as the Panama Canal, Wembley Stadium and the Burj Khalifa. Mr Harvey is known for his independence and common-sense approach. He is one of the leading testifying experts in the construction dispute arena. Mr Harvey is a civil engineer with an MBA in finance.
What is the most interesting case you have had to date, and why?
The Panama Canal. It has been the most interesting case because of the canal’s history combined with its engineering and construction achievements.
What types of dispute have you seen being brought to arbitration recently and what would you say is driving this?
We have seen many disputes relating to the impact of covid-19. Some projects have truly suffered from covid-19, but the pandemic is also being used to justify some non-performance.
What challenges arise as a result of projects becoming more complex and multidisciplinary?
We are seeing more potential conflicts of interest. In my view, it would be helpful for the industry if clear guidance could be developed on what constitutes a conflict of interest for an expert witness (which is different from the conflict rules for a law firm).
As quantitative analysis in disputes becomes more sophisticated, do you think there is a danger they become detached from the reality of the disputes? If so, how do you prevent this?
Analyses need to be practical and rooted in the facts. While analyses may become more sophisticated, we should not stray from the basic fundamentals of construction disputes such as being able to clearly explain “what actually happened”.
What are the key skills required for acting as an expert in disputes involving mega projects in the construction field?
Being able to articulate complex issues and analyses, in a simple and independent manner.
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?
The greatest challenge facing our industry is developing the next tier of top-calibre construction experts. In my view, the industry is heavily reliant on too few names that have dominated the industry for the past 20 or so years. As a firm, we are constantly trying to develop our people and give them opportunities.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Surround yourself with people more talented than yourself.