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7 Reasons to Specialise in Construction Disputes in the UK

It is now 3 years since I joined the construction recruitment world with Maxim Recruitment. I have experienced some stressful, yet wonderful times working in this field, and after it all I can say that I am now operating one of the most exciting and niche areas of construction that seems to garner a  lot of interest.

The sector I am speaking of is construction disputes. I work with the experienced experts that companies turn to when a project has gone wrong, and a disagreement has arisen at whichever stage of a dispute. UK Expert Witness and Claims & Disputes consultancies have an unrivalled reputation not only on UK based construction disputes, but also major international construction disputes. UK based Experts acquire a large amount of their work from overseas, as their reputation and technical abilities often exceed many competitors based in the overseas locations where the dispute has actually occurred.

It is because of this that particular companies in the UK are rapidly growing in staff numbers, and will always look at a quality candidate from me if I am speaking to one. They have the knowledge and expertise to train Quantity Surveyors and Planners who want to specialise in their sector, and the market knowledge and assessment skills to bring in a senior hire to add to their existing management structure.

The 7 Reasons

1 .Variety

You will get exposure to a large variety of constructions sectors. Many Quantity Surveyors and Planners become pigeon holed in a particular type of project sector (i.e. buildings, rail, civil engineering etc), and find it hard to break out of this in the current market. If you specialise in disputes, you will work on disputes in various sectors, even if your prior Quantity Surveying or Planning / Engineering experience is specific to one sector.

It is also the case that you will get international project exposure with certain businesses. This is because UK based businesses will work on disputes not only in the UK, but also on major issues on construction projects in various international locations.

2. Reputation of businesses

You will be working for companies in the UK whose reputations are un-paralleled in national and / or international construction disputes. It’s a great opportunity to join a renowned consultancy that is on your doorstep in the UK.

3. Responsibility

You will be joining a sector in which the work you do will be judged at an Expert level, and a sector in which there are no cutting corners no matter what level of seniority you are performing at. The work you do will have a direct impact on your firm’s reputation, and will be scrutinised at the highest level. If you perform at a high level on a consistent basis, you will have unrivalled progression opportunities within companies and be given more senior job titles, higher salaries, fantastic bonuses, and management responsibility arguably much quicker than you could attain whilst working with a Main Contractor or Cost Consultancy. Just like anything though, responsibility has to be earned – but what you put in is definitely what you’ll get out in this field.

4. Become an expert, not just a number

Joining the world of Construction Disputes is an opportunity to stand out from the crowd, and not be lost within it. There are less people working in this specialist area, and at the senior level, everyone seems to know everyone, and the reputation that follows them. The quality of your work will not only be known by those within your company, but also by Experts outside of your company, especially once you approach the more senior, client facing levels of operation.

5. Remuneration

Remuneration in this sector can be lucrative. Bonuses are exceptional should you perform well, and salaries are adjusted significantly once you approach the Associate Director level and beyond. For a Consultant or Senior Consultant joining the sector, a side-step in salary is to be expected, and on some occasions if you are currently paid particularly well in a live project type role, a slight drop in salary depending on your situation. But this WILL be worth it, as your salary will have the potential to increase at a much faster rate and to a much higher “end level” in this field. It is more than likely that you will earn any initial drop in salary back (and more!) within the first year, given the likely bonus % given.

6. Transferability

Transferring to the construction disputes sector is very do-able should you have solid Quantity Surveying or Planning / Engineering skills. Claims and Expert Witness sector consultancies seek staff at the entry level who have a solid background in Quantity Surveying, Planning, or Engineering, along with good report writing skills. These skills enable these staff members to undergo extensive, detailed analysis on disputes and put their findings into a claim or expert report. Senior staff members within these businesses all started off as a Quantity Surveyor or Engineer / Planner, and are now renowned experts in their chosen sector.

Some initial requirements are in place for those entering the sector. Qualifications are important, and for Expert Witness sector consultancies in particular being a Member of the RICS or certainly on route to becoming so, is sought after. Further qualifications in Construction Law are also beneficial, though these courses will be paid for by any specialist employer in this field.

7. Hot market

As discussed in my opening statement, the current market in the UK is booming. Companies in this sector fluctuate in their workload, but there is a very strong, steady growth in this sector that makes for a secure transfer if you join the sector. The growth is down to the solid reputation of UK based Experts in this field, and the general state of the UK construction market – strong!

Summary

I would highly recommend joining this specialist field should you be a career driven, detail orientated professional who wants to be rewarded for your work.  Feel free to send us your CV to any job you are interested in. If I can help your application I will be in touch for a more detailed conversation.

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Adam Cadwaladr
Recruitment Consultant – UK

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