Expert evidence and construction claims (2018) 29 3 Cons.Law 18 [Archived]
Expert evidence and construction claims (2018) 29 3 Cons.Law 18 [Archived]

The following Construction guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Expert evidence and construction claims (2018) 29 3 Cons.Law 18 [Archived]
  • Key points
  • The role of expert witness
  • Case analysis
  • Conclusion and practical advice

ARCHIVED: This Practice Note has been archived and is not maintained.

This article appears as originally published in Construction Law on 1 April 2018 and is not maintained.

Digby Hebbard and Thomas Edwards of Fladgate review recent court cases that highlight the consequences of failing to manage expert witnesses adequately. Be careful in selection of experts as well, they warn.

Key points

  1. Expert evidence is required in most construction and engineering disputes

  2. Experts will usually prepare written reports and may be cross-examined

  3. Expert evidence can be determinative on the outcome of construction disputes

  4. Several recent judgments highlight adverse effects of performance and/or management of experts

  5. Careful deliberation should be exercised in expert selection and management

Construction and engineering projects are inherently complex. Specialist technical skills are required in order to design and deliver them. When disputes arise in connection with construction projects, yet further technical input will normally be required to understand the issues and, critically, to support claims for liability and quantum (and the defences thereto). Such technical input is provided by expert witnesses.

Expert witnesses in construction disputes may, for example, consider (i) whether a designer acted with reasonable skill and care; (ii) if tunnelling was on the critical path of the programme; (iii) the cause of cracking in foundations or water penetration; and (iv) whether a particular element