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Expert hot tubbing, also known as expert conferencing, has become standard practice in international arbitration hearings for construction experts. Expert hot tubbing is a process typically mandated by a tribunal, domestically referred to as an arbitration panel. The parties’ experts simultaneously answer questions put forth by the arbitrators with neither assistance nor interruption from the parties’ counsel. The process takes place after the experts have testified and as one of the last activities in the hearing. In some situations, the experts are allowed, or even encouraged, to debate an issue (or issues) of interest to the panel.

International arbitration is experiencing significant growth in recent years due to many mega engineering and construction projects being developed around the world. Such projects bring together participants from different corners of the world, including host country owners, large international engineering and construction contractors, and international banks. When disputes arise, the parties often select international arbitration forums. These forums offer many advantages; however, each forum offers several unique features that engineering and construction experts need to understand before engaging in this type of work.

Benjamin Franklin was once quoted saying, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Franklin was not a construction expert; otherwise he would have included project changes in his famous quote. Most projects have changes that impact scope, cost, or schedule – it’s how the changes are managed that determines project success. This article seeks to summarize some basic steps that can be taken to ensure that project changes are not the death of you. An effective change management process includes the following five (5) important steps: identification of the change; notification of the change as required under the contract; documentation of the impact of the change; preparation of the change order proposal; and resolution of the change order proposal. Diligent change order management enhances your company’s bottom line and ensures that project changes ...

Contractors face several challenges when developing claims for productivity loss due to owner/architect/engineer or third-party interference. These include the burden of linking the interference to the productivity loss and establishing the reasonableness of estimated increased time and/or costs. AACE International describes various methodologies in its Recommended Practice No. 25R-03 for estimating lost productivity, with the most favorable being the Measured Mile.

Currently, overall construction spending is increasing globally after a prolonged slowdown. In the United States, Interface Consulting expects the increasing demand for energy and the retirement of older, less efficient power plants to drive investment in power projects. In recent years, the quantity and size of power construction projects has reflected considerable growth in that subsector. Based on Interface Consulting’s research and experience, this trend is expected to continue for several years.

There are many ways to avoid problem construction projects. However, an old sports metaphor best comes to mind – focus on blocking and tackling and the rest will take care of itself. In football, blocking and tackling are the fundamentals and are done down in the trenches away from the glamour of touchdowns and long pass-plays. However, success in football cannot be achieved without first excelling at blocking and tackling; the basics. The same can be said about successful construction projects. The fundamentals in most construction projects are typically defined in each contract and include the scope of work, change orders, compensation, and schedule. While there are many other contract issues that can be important such as indemnification, insurance, warranties, termination, suspension, and dispute resolution, none of these items typically come into play if the scope of work is performed ...

The impact of hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the construction industry is expected to be significant. Last year the U.S. construction market experienced huge price increases for virtually all common construction materials. This year, prior to the storms, construction prices have continued to be high. Shortages of some materials have also continued. The recent devastation caused by these storms is expected to drive prices even higher, increase shortages, and raise wages. Cement was already in short supply prior to the hurricanes and calls for lowering the 55% tariff on imported Mexican cement have gone unheeded. On top of the already high demand for cement, several major cement ports located in New Orleans were disrupted. The U.S. construction market is relying increasingly on foreign cement, as cement imports grew from 20 to 26 percent of the market in the first half ...

Introduction The goal of any contractor is to build a project on time and within budget. To be an effective and productive contractor, one must have a complete understanding of the construction process, which includes not only building the project, but, more importantly, effective scheduling and management of the project. The contractor is ultimately responsible for managing its activities as well as the activities of the construction parties under its supervision. Successfully managing a construction project is a four-step process. It requires that the parties establish a project plan, develop a project schedule, monitor the project schedule, and manage change events. Each step requires dedication and commitment from each team member, and each step in the process is essential to a successful project outcome. Step 1: Establishing a Project Plan The first step in successfully managing a construction project is ...

Today’s refining, chemical, petrochemical, and heavy industrial facilities process and utilize hazardous chemicals, and despite the best laid plans and procedures, accidents do happen. Accidents could range from fires to explosions, resulting in chemical releases and damage to equipment and the facility, hopefully with minimal or no injury to personnel.   Insurance is often called upon to reimburse the owner for property damage and business interruption expenses following the fire, all of which could result in claims and disputes if not handled appropriately. Heeding some lessons learned during the rebuild process can help minimize the opportunities for claims and disputes following a fire or explosion.   Extinguishing the Fire and Preserving Surrounding Assets   There are many critical items that should be considered following a fire or explosion. First and foremost, safety of all personnel should drive all responses. It ...

“A picture is worth a thousand words” is an old proverb that suggests complex stories can be described by just a single picture. The same is true with respect to proving construction claims, where one visual or graphic can be more persuasive and influential than a thousand words. Construction is a complex and risky process requiring extensive planning, engineering, procurement, and construction management. When all of these activities operate in concert with each other, the result is a successful project. However, when any one of these activities fails, the result can be a troubled project, often resulting in construction claims. The claimant typically has the burden of proof in preparing and proving its damages in construction claims. However, oftentimes the decision makers are company executives who may not be intimately familiar with the project details. Therefore, it is essential to ...