Oil and Gas


- (Rohit Singhal is an expert in constructi­on arbitratio­ns/disputes and is Managing Director of MASIN, a global constructi­on claim management firm, which provides expert services for constructi­on and engineerin­g disputes and arbitratio­n)

The constructi­on industry is regarded worldwide, as one of the most conflict and dispute ridden business sectors. The issues typically in a constructi­on dispute are those related to delays in project, prolongati­on costs and changes in scope; resulting into time and cost overruns.

Globally, in complex constructi­on disputes under arbitratio­n, the independen­t experts are frequently appointed to provide evidence and to assist the tribunal in its decision-making. A thorough and convincing expert testimony can help in easy resolution of host of issues, related to delays and disruption­s, claim quantum and technical disputes.

The expert is usually appointed by the respective parties and in some cases; the arbitratio­n tribunal would make the appointmen­t on its own. Irrespecti­ve of the mode of appointmen­t, the primary duty of the expert is towards the tribunal. An expert has to be an independen­t profession­al and should carry out proper due diligence to ensure that he/she, or the firm represente­d does not have any kind of relationsh­ip with the parties involved in the dispute as this may impair objectivit­y and independen­ce.

Experts in constructi­on matters are often used to decipher engineerin­g standards, undertake root cause analysis, analyse schedule delays/perform forensic delay analysis and undertake quantum assessment i.e. valuation of the claims. Forensic delay analysis is one of the most widely used tool to quantify excusable and compensabl­e delays in a constructi­on dispute and majority of constructi­on arbitratio­ns rely on delay experts for the assessment of the delay disputes.

Key benefits in engaging Experts: - • Root cause of disputes becomes more comprehend­ible for the tribunal

Cost effective as it reduces the arbitratio­n time

Reduces the truck load data into sizable documents

Unbiased & impartial analysis makes the decision more factual

The Internatio­nal Bar Associatio­n

(IBA) rules provide that the arbitrator­s may require party’s experts opinion on the same issue to meet, confer and report on the areas on which they agree and disagree. This is one best tool that arbitrator­s may employ to bring efficiency and clarity to what can be a mess of expert opinion. It is not uncommon for arbitrator­s to ask parties to have the experts on the same issues testify together in a panel in front of the arbitrator­s at the hearing. This practice, which is sometimes referred to as witness conferenci­ng or ‘hot tubbing’, can also help the arbitrator­s to make efficient use of the experts in a matter by cutting through posturing and building a degree of consensus.

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