UK Construction Disputes Consultancies at the Forefront of Major International Disputes

Posted by Stuart Hackett on Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The market for British construction professionals overseas has been on a steady decline for several years now. Whilst it’s fair to say that there is a still a huge British expat community working overseas on exciting construction projects, it’s also accurate to say that it is proving tough for many to get their first assignment overseas.

I’ve spoken to many overseas based candidates who have decided to make the move back to the UK in recent years due to a lack of opportunities overseas.

I’m often asked if I recruit for roles based in the UK that offer the opportunity to work on overseas projects. Whilst I’m sure such roles do exist, they seem to be few and far between when it comes to working on live projects.

However, when it comes to consultancies specialising in construction disputes, these roles are actually very common. For some it may come as a shock to know that many UK based consultancies in the construction disputes sector are working on international disputes often out of their UK head offices. Particularly in London.

Maxim Recruitment have been working with a healthy number of clients in this sector and have very much established themselves as a market leading supplier to this sector over the years.

What types of Companies are doing this type of work?

In particular, specialist expert witness consultancies based in London are currently working on some of the largest and most high-profile international disputes around the World. Largely on projects containing disputes that are heading for arbitration or litigation.

London is one of the major, worldwide arbitration hubs and is home to some of the largest and most reputable expert witness consultancies. Boasting a plethora of leading experts, UK based firms are often being assigned roles on some of the highest profile disputes around the globe.

Demand for International Project Experience

UK based claims and disputes consultancies are looking favourably on candidates with International project experience. With more and more international disputes cases being managed by UK (often London) based consultancies, the desire to recruit staff with previous international experience appears to be prevalent right now.

This creates some interesting opportunities for construction professionals who are either dealing with overseas projects with their current UK based employer or potentially British candidates working overseas, but looking to return to the UK.

Route to International Work

It also creates some unique opportunities for candidates without any overseas experience, who are looking to gain experience on international projects. Very few sectors of the construction industry can offer candidates the opportunity to be UK based on work on international work.

With many of the consultancies operating in this sector having offices in at least one international office, there is the potential to gain an internal transfer overseas after a year or two’s service. Many consultancies do prefer for candidates to prove themselves in the UK for a sustained period of time before looking favourably on relocation requests though. So do not expect to join the London office and then expect to be transferred internationally immediately.

What Type of roles Exist?

At present, I am working mostly on Quantum and Delay orientated roles within the Expert Witness sector. These roles typically suit Chartered Quantity Surveyors and Planners, ideally with some exposure to claims related issues. This can either be with a main contractor or consultancy in traditional Quantity Surveying and Planning roles respectively, or in specialist claims and disputes related roles with specialist consultancies.


If you are a British expat wanting to make a return to the UK but still maintain an element of overseas related work within your role, then it would be worth you considering a role within the expert witness sector.

Likewise, if you are a Chartered QS or Planner and want to gain some exposure to overseas work whilst remaining in the UK, then roles within this sector could also allow you to do this.

Whilst we do get a lot of applications from non-British applicants who have strong overseas experience for such roles, it is worth noting that many British Consultancies do tend to favour candidates who already have the right to work in the UK, as well as candidates already on the ground within the UK. This tends to be because of lengthy Visa processes and the emphasis on meeting candidates face to face for interview.

You can view all of Maxim Recruitments vacancies within the claims and disputes sector on our website:

About The Author

Stuart Hackett
Senior Recruitment Consultant, UK

I am based from the Maxim Recruitment head office in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire and I specialise in the recruitment of quantum and delay, claims and expert witness professionals in the UK and Overseas.  With over 11 years experience spent recruiting construction professionals, I have an extensive knowledge of the construction industry and an enviable network of reputable clients and contacts, allowing me to find my candidates the right position with highly desirable employers.

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