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Hill Intl organises construction masterclass

Hill International’s third construction masterclass in Abu Dhabi consisted of presentations on dispute resolution, contract termination, risk management, and more

Benjamin Highfield speaking on understanding low oil prices on day one of the construction masterclass.
Benjamin Highfield speaking on understanding low oil prices on day one of the construction masterclass.

Hill International organised its two-day construction masterclass in Abu Dhabi on 25-26 October, 2016.

Topics discussed included construction trends in the GCC, FIDIC and standard forms, management of risk, taking over – under UAE law, contract termination and impact of oil price fluctuation on the construction industry.

Renowned speakers from all over the globe also shared their views on dispute and claims in the construction industry.

On day one, nine speakers shared their views on the construction industry, including Simon Lofthouse QC from Atkins Chamber, who presented his thesis on the GCC’s construction trend.

He also spoke on the lifting of Iran’s sanctions and its benefits to the UAE, “Analysts suggest that removal of Iran’s sanctions opens up huge opportunities to those in the GCC, particularly in the UAE.

“The bulk of Iran’s imports [came] from the GCC, amounting to $37bn, in 2015, most of them from the UAE via the ports.”

Speaking on dispute resolution between contractors and employers, Lofthouse said, formal disputes cannot always be avoided, however disputes should be solved amicably. “The cost of dispute resolution is a threat to the continued success of large projects and those who deal with dispute resolution,” he added.

Kevin Kim, head of Bae, Kim & Lee LLC and vice president of ICC International Court of Arbitration, also spoke on dispute resolution – multi-tier dispute resolution in FIDIC.

He divulged details of claims, engineer’s role, claims vs disputes and arbitration.

Mehdi Danesh of Hill International presented his topic on risk management in the construction sector. “Risk management is not a process, it’s a way of thinking. No risk equals no rewards,” he said.

“Risk is inherent in all projects. Managing the risk is about how it’s treated, i.e. accepted, shared and transferred,” said Danesh while talking about the process of risk management.

Explaining the process, he stated that whether as a formal or informal process, all organisations manage risk. “Risks are fluid, and constantly evolve. As a project moves forward, the risk profile changes; some are downgraded, and others materialise.”

Other speakers for the day included, Ian Dalley who spoke on managing variations; Yasir Kadhim dealt with the subject on understand and analysing delay; followed by Faisal Attia who described the process of taking over projects in the UAE including preliminary take over by employers.

Ben Mellors of Beale & Co. expressed his ideas on interim remedies typically found in construction projects; Julian Bailey divulged in detail how contracts can be terminated and what the remedies are.

Benjamin Highfield from Hill International was the last to present for the day and shared his views on the impact oil price fluctuations on construction. “Huge drop in investments in facilities, particularly offshore, may cause an oil price spike in 10 years,” he said during his presentation.

He also elaborated on how oil prices have resulted in project suspensions and its detrimental effect on the construction industry.

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