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Engineers key to reducing GCC airport disputes, says DBSConsult

GCC airport developers that underspend on engineers are more likely to encounter construction claims and disputes, according to DBSConsult’s managing director

DBSConsult’s David Brodie-Stedman (above) says engineers play a vital role in reducing claims and disputes on GCC aviation projects.
DBSConsult’s David Brodie-Stedman (above) says engineers play a vital role in reducing claims and disputes on GCC aviation projects.

GCC airport developers that underspend on engineers are more likely to encounter construction claims and disputes.

This is the view of David Brodie-Stedman, managing director of DBSConsult, who contends that “thoroughly developed” designs play a vital role in the success of regional aviation projects.

Brodie-Stedman told Construction Week that early stakeholder involvement, multi-stage tendering, and progressive procurement strategies can also reduce the risk of claims and disputes.

“A single airport can include a state border, an aerodrome, a multi-modal transport interchange, hospitality amenities, and retail and commercial outlets,” he explained. “Airport projects also tend to be highly political and highly public by nature; every traveller is interested in – and has an opinion on – what is happening at the front door of their nation.

“Early stakeholder involvement, multi-stage tendering, and progressive procurement strategies represent the key to a successful commercial airport project,” Brodie-Stedman added. “Above all, the owner should not underspend on, or reduce the scope of, the engineer. A thoroughly developed design that has been properly stress-tested with stakeholders can result in good tender prices and minimum post-contract-award variations.”

Brodie-Stedman noted that the highest-value and longest-running construction disputes that he has encountered during his 25-year career have arisen on airport projects. Nevertheless, he emphasised that adequate planning can help to ensure that aviation-related developments run as smoothly as possible.

“With the right contractor building a fully designed project at a price that reflects the inherent risks of airport developments, the prospects of completing on time and within budget are greatly enhanced,” he argued.

DBSConsult, a UAE-based claims and disputes practice, has delivered claim preparation and defence, commercial and planning management, and expert support for a range of GCC aviation projects.

The company has supported stakeholders involved in Dubai International Airport, Al Maktoum International Airport, and Abu Dhabi International Airport in the UAE; Hamad International Airport in Qatar; Muscat International Airport in Oman; and Bahrain International Airport.

For a comprehensive assessment of the GCC’s current crop of aviation projects – including perspectives from DBSConsult, TAV Construction, AE Arma-Elektropanç, and Faithful+Gould – check out issue 658 of Construction Week, which will be published on Saturday, 3 June, 2017.

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