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GCC records highest number of construction claims globally, expert says

The Gulf reports some of the highest numbers of construction claims in the world, according to an expert from the Institute of Construction Claims Practitioners (ICCP)

The ICCP has seen its membership numbers rise in the last couple of years.
The ICCP has seen its membership numbers rise in the last couple of years.

The Gulf reports some of the highest numbers of construction claims in the world, according to an expert from the Institute of Construction Claims Practitioners (ICCP).

“There is probably a higher [occurrence] of claims in the GCC than anywhere else in the world, and for many reasons,” Andy Hewitt, executive officer, the Institute of Construction Claims Practitioners (ICCP), told ConstructionWeekOnline.

Hewitt explained that due to tight construction deadlines, poor contract drafting, and the high number of projects currently being implemented across the region, claims and disputes are common in the Gulf.

He added: “Firstly, the way that we do things out here, in my opinion, encourages claims, as we insist on projects being done as quickly as possible. And that is just a breeding ground for these sort of disputes.”

Many disputes are often a result of gaps caused by miscommunication between the parties involved not only in the Gulf, but across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) market.

“The way we deal with contentious issues and disputes in the MENA region does not really follow what I would consider very efficient practice,” Hewitt said.

“We go straight from a dispute to […] litigation [and get] the lawyers involved, without following any well-proven alternative resolution procedures [commonly] used in the rest of the world.”

However, Hewitt explained that while the regional construction industry is still young by global standards, it can also, in some respects, set standards for global markets.

“It’s a strange juxtaposition between naivety and absolutely superb engineering,” he added.

As a result, the Institute of Construction Claims Practitioners (ICCP) – an organisation that recognises the achievements of professionals who specialise in, or have specialist knowledge of, construction claims – has seen its membership numbers rise in the last couple of years.

The GCC is an important source of members as, relatively speaking to the rest of the world, there is a lot of construction here,” Hewitt said.

As the only institute that specifically recognises professionals who have gained knowledge, experience, and the appropriate skills to manage, prepare, and respond to claims, nearly 15% of the ICCP’s members currently hail from the Gulf.

“Claims form a significant part of when things start to go wrong on projects or when people fail to agree,” said Hewitt, adding that, over the last few years, the institute has gained prominence as the number of projects across the Gulf has surged.

“Our intention is to promote what we do and try to bring in more members. And the number is growing, especially with so much development currently underway in the region,” he added.

The ICCP aims to establish international professional standards for the management of claims while also giving recognition to those who have gained appropriate knowledge and experience in the field.

The institute also helps and educates professionals who wish to gain experience in the management of claims to help better manage disputes within the construction industry.

“This sort of marketplace, which is absolutely fascinating, has so many nationalities and cultures working successfully,” Hewitt adds.

But because of those differences, [construction professionals] look at things differently as well, and this is what causes misunderstandings.”

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