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Five minutes with: John Mullen

Mullen is principal of DIALES Expert Services

John Mullen.
John Mullen.

John Mullen, BSc (Hons), MSc, FRICS, FCInstCES, FCIArb principal of DIALES Expert Services (a Driver Group company) spares Construction Week five minutes of his time.

Mullen is the co-author of Evaluating Contract Claims, 2nd edition, Wiley Blackwell, 2008; and The Expert Witness in Construction, Wiley Blackwell, 2013.

What does your role involve?
I am a director of Driver Group plc, having been one of its founders in 2005. In my time with the plc I have had various roles as director and regional managing director. These days I mainly focus on working for their expert services company, DIALES as an expert witness in large international arbitrations.

What do you love most about your job?
My work as an expert witness takes me to various parts of the globe and I am still occasionally in awe of the nature and size of some of the World’s largest construction projects. Whether its a new international airport, skyscraper or petrochemical facility, the scale of achievement can be breathtaking.

What has been your most memorable project and why?
My most memorable commission has been a highways arbitration in the Sultanate of Oman that I worked on from 2005. Not a huge matter, with a claim of US$65million, but it was my first introduction to the country and its people and I made a number of good friendships as a result. It led to our setting up a local LLC and became a springboard for our development of the four Gulf offices now has which are serviced by a handful of Expert Witnesses as well as myself.

What is the most challenging thing about your job?
Given the size of some of the projects I am involved with, the part of my role that I most enjoy is attempting to simplify the evidence that arbitrators have to deal with. This aim can be challenging, but the hardest part of my work is cross examination by counsel. I learnt a long time ago that preparation and integrity are essential to withstanding this process, and a realisation that counsel will be much cleverer that me. I now realise where the brainy boys from my school went after A- levels, whilst I headed for a “red-brick” BSc in quantity surveying!

Where do you see the construction industry in five years?
Over the coming years I’d like to see the UK industry exporting more. Whilst materials supply and contracting can be cut-throat against international completion, we Brits should be exporting far more of our professional skills in design and management.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I go to the gym, walk, fish, kayak, garden and play golf. None to a high standard and none as often as I would like to have time for.

For more information about DIALES expert services visit www.DIALES.com

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