8M Building Expert Witness Service

About this Building Expert Witness

As a baby boomer raised in the post-war era, I spent my childhood playing snap with my sisters using ration coupons and listening to the wireless in the evenings. Shows like Mrs. Dale’s Diary and The Archers, dubbed “an everyday story of country folk,” were staples. This period was marked by significant building activity due to the Blitzkrieg damage inflicted by the Axis Forces. My uncle, a bricklayer, often took me along to building sites on Saturday mornings, exposing me to the world of construction from a young age.

Occasional visits to my Granny in Perth, Scotland, offered glimpses into a different way of life. I vividly recall the single electric plug in the hall, powered at 110 volts DC for the radiogram, which she used to listen to Churchill and the King’s speeches at Christmas. Gas lighting illuminated the house, and I was tasked with lighting the mantles.

My first trip to Germany in 1959 revealed similar wartime scars, witnessing the aftermath of Allied damage. Yet, amidst the remnants, I found myself captivated by the magnificent European architecture. A visit to Paris in the spring of 1960 left a lasting impression, characterised by its vibrant atmosphere and welcoming locals. Summers spent exploring the Normandy coast, with its Nazi pillboxes and quaint villages lacking modern amenities, offered a stark contrast to my upbringing.

Venturing further, I marvelled at the ordinary buildings dotting the Mediterranean landscape, alongside ancient ruins like the Coliseum and the Acropolis. An unexpected delay during a journey from Antalya to Beirut led to a surreal swim in the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean, a memory reminiscent of scenes from the movie Titanic.

The grandeur of Eastern Bloc cities, particularly Moscow’s metro stations, left me in awe. Memories of “Check Point Charlie Days” and encounters with locals underscored the rich tapestry of experiences that fuelled my passion for buildings and the craftsmen behind them.

Throughout my 50 years in the industry, I’ve come to appreciate the pride and dedication of building tradespeople, a stark contrast to the stereotypes perpetuated by governments and the press. Perhaps, as with any profession, like-minded individuals naturally gravitate towards one another, fostering a community united by a shared love for their craft.

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Euro Pop

This 70’s Euro pop clip illustrates what life looked like in those early years. The Euro pop scene with a vibrant sense of optimism encapsulated the spirit of post-war Europe’s economic boom and cultural renaissance, offering an escape from the tumultuous events of the era. Euro pop celebrated newfound prosperity and cultural unity, punk rebelled against societal norms and political disillusionment, and disco provided an electrifying soundtrack for liberation and self-expression on the dance floor. Despite their differences, each genre left an indelible mark on the music landscape of the era.

London in the 70’s

During the vibrant rebuilding years of the late 1960s and early 1970s, London embarked on a monumental effort to revive its war-ravaged architecture while also embracing the modern architectural trends of the time. My hands-on experience as a carpenter during this transformative era has uniquely equipped me with insights that enrich my role as a building expert witness.

The city’s post-war reconstruction was laser-focused on breathing new life into iconic structures such as St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament, as well as rejuvenating residential areas that had borne the brunt of the Blitz. As a carpenter deeply involved in this restoration work, I honed my skills in traditional carpentry methods, ensuring that the essence and authenticity of these historic buildings were meticulously preserved. I took particular pride in reviving intricate details like herringbone strutting and tusk tenons—distinctive features that tell the story of London’s architectural heritage.

Beyond landmark restoration, my carpentry work extended to restoring the servant’s quarters within these historic buildings. This involved working with lath and plaster walls, demanding a keen eye for detail to maintain their original charm and character. These restoration projects not only connected me with the physical fabric of London’s past but also deepened my understanding of the social and cultural contexts that shaped these grand edifices.

In sum, my firsthand experience as a carpenter during London’s building boom provides me with a nuanced perspective that informs my work as a building expert witness. It allows me to appreciate the intricate interplay between historical preservation and modern development, offering valuable insights into the complexities of construction and restoration projects.

Moreover, the collaboration between British architects and Arab investors fostered cross-cultural exchanges and innovation in architectural design. Concepts such as postmodernism and structural expressionism gained prominence, leading to the creation of iconic buildings that continue to define London’s skyline.
In conclusion, the building boom of London in the late 1960s and early 1970s represented a convergence of historical restoration efforts and the infusion of Arab capital. This transformative period not only restored the city’s architectural heritage but also ushered in a new era of modernization and international influence, shaping the London we know today.

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However, it was the injection of Arab capital that truly catalyzed London’s building boom during this period. Flush with oil revenues, Arab investors sought opportunities for investment abroad, and London emerged as a prime destination. These investors played a significant role in funding large-scale development projects, including commercial skyscrapers, luxury hotels, and upscale residential complexes.

The influx of Arab capital not only revitalized London’s economy but also reshaped its urban landscape. Iconic structures such as the NatWest Tower (now known as Tower 42) and the Hilton London Metropole Hotel are enduring symbols of this era of development. These projects not only restored the city’s damaged infrastructure but also contributed to its modernization and global prominence.

Estimating cost and time

As an expert witness specialising in building disputes, my extensive experience in building estimating and quantity surveying (QS) plays a pivotal role in accurately pricing any remedial work and understanding its impact on project completion dates.

Building estimating is a fundamental aspect of any construction project, requiring a comprehensive understanding of material costs, labour expenses, overheads, and potential unforeseen expenses. My proficiency in this area enables me to provide precise cost assessments for remedial work, ensuring that all parties involved have a clear understanding of the financial implications of proposed solutions. Whether it involves assessing damages, evaluating repair costs, or estimating the value of construction defects, my expertise ensures that my assessments are thorough, reliable, and impartial.

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Furthermore, my background in quantity surveying enhances my ability to assess the duration of remedial exercises accurately. Quantity surveying involves meticulous planning, scheduling, and cost control throughout the construction process. Drawing upon this expertise, I can effectively evaluate the time required to complete remedial work, accounting for factors such as labor availability, material lead times, and potential disruptions. This insight enables me to provide informed opinions on the realistic timelines for project completion, helping to manage expectations and mitigate disputes.

Some projects from my Site Manager days

This clip offers a glimpse into a range of projects I’ve had the privilege to work on throughout my extensive career. While the footage may have been captured on an old Nokia phone for other purposes, it showcases the diversity of my experience in various sectors of the building industry.

From residential projects in Perth to commercial developments in the CBD, suburban industrial complexes to remote residential and commercial ventures, my portfolio spans a wide spectrum of building types and locations. Each project presents its own unique challenges and intricacies, and I’ve dedicated myself to navigating through them with precision and expertise.

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My travel experiences have undeniably enriched my building career, providing me with invaluable insights into the diverse approaches and methodologies employed across different regions, both domestically and internationally. Working in bustling cities and remote areas, spanning Eastern Australia to overseas locales, has exposed me to a myriad of perspectives and practices within the construction industry.

Beyond the technical aspects of construction, my travels have also afforded me the opportunity to engage with individuals from different walks of life and cultural backgrounds. Interacting with diverse personalities and experiencing different cultures’ humor has been both enlightening and enriching. I’ve learned to appreciate the nuances of communication and humor, recognizing that what may be amusing to one person may not necessarily resonate with another. This heightened awareness of cultural sensitivities and interpersonal dynamics has been instrumental in fostering effective collaboration and communication within project teams, ultimately contributing to the overall success of the endeavors.

The Raffles Hotel Refurbishment Singapore

Building Expert Singapore
Raffles L

Step into the world of luxury refinement with a glimpse into the refurbishment of the iconic Raffles Hotel Singapore, captured during my visit before the era of COVID. These images offer a rare behind-the-scenes look at the meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail that went into revitalizing this legendary landmark.

While the veranda suites at the Raffles Hotel may command a staggering $2,000 per night, they epitomize a sense of understated elegance. Functional yet sophisticated, they eschew opulence in favour of practicality, boasting chrome tapware instead of gold. Each space is meticulously designed to be not only visually stunning but also fit for purpose, providing guests with a seamless blend of luxury and functionality.

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