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UK Construction Disputes Jobs Plentiful

My construction recruitment role allows me to be fully responsible for the recruitment of claims and disputes staff in the UK for Maxim Recruitment. In our core areas of London, the South East and the Midlands regions of the UK, our client base has grown dramatically over the last 2 years.  Fortunately, we are also seeing a rise in the quantity and quality of candidates that are getting in touch with us.

Which Employers are Hiring Construction Dispute Jobs and Where

It may come as no surprise that the area we find most busy for the disputes market in construction is London although we do have roles in other major UK cities also. Smaller consultancies that prepare and defend claims on behalf of local / national contractors are a significant part of our recruitment business.  In addition, global consultancies that work from a UK office on National and International disputes in the Expert Witness sector are also major clients of ours. There are also claims and dispute companies we recruit for who work directly for main contractors that require support within their major project teams in a Quantum or Delay role, to help them save money in the long run by successfully preparing and defending claims.  Typically we tend to have opportunities in a variety of the above types of role at any one time in the London region.

What Backgrounds Are in Demand?

Quantum

The current opportunities I have in the Quantum sector of the disputes market are for individuals at the Consultant level up to the Associate Director level. We have had the occasional Director level position to fill in the Expert Witness sector at this level, although many of the limited number of experts know each other already. 

At the Consultant and Senior Consultant level, Quantity Surveyors with a strong background with a Main Contractor or Cost Consultancy are considered for employment in a dispute role whether they have experience in the Claims or Expert Witness sectors or not.  This is because the most important attribute is to have is a strong Quantity Surveying background that will enable you to assess documents at a highly analytical level and be able to write reports on your findings.

Qualifications and / or professional memberships are also seen as important. You should be someone who has already attained membership to, or is on route to becoming a full Member of the RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors), as this credential will stand you in good stead in the disputes market. Willingness to complete MSc in Construction Law is also seen as beneficial, and all companies that specialise in the disputes sectors will cover the cost for a qualification like this.

Delay and Forensic Planning

The current opportunities I have in the Delay and Forensic Planning sectors are at the Senior Consultant and Associate Director level, mainly for Expert Witness consultancies. Most of the current opportunities I have at the moment are for individuals with some form of Delay Analysis experience on their CV whether it be for a disputes company already, or even in employment for a contractor where claims may be rife. A strong planning and programme management background however is the most important attribute, with some delay experience being very beneficial for the current opportunities that I have, and the ability to write expert reports to a high level. Qualifications and memberships are seen as desirable, however a solid background in engineering and programme management is seen as more important.

What Are the Benefits of Transferring into the Disputes Field?

Potential Earnings

As stated in a previous article of mine, Salary Report 215Q4: Construction Claims / Dispute in UK, the potential earnings of working in the disputes sector often outweigh the potential earnings of working for a Contractor or a Consultancy within a shorter period of time should you thrive in the sector. The bonuses can also be much higher, with Expert Witness consultancies in particular paying bonuses that are often around 15%-20% on a base salary (and sometimes more).

Location

Often your work will be more commonly based from one office, rather than being a site based Quantity Surveyor for a contractor. Yes, there will be client visits and even trips overseas now and again if you are working for an international organisation, but most of your work will be completed from the same office day in day out which can make commuting much easier if you are seeking a batter work life balance. That being said – Expert Witness support roles can often entail longer hours than a Claims Consultancy company role, but general Quantity Surveying roles usually entail rather long hours anyway.

Moving Back to a Contracting or PQS Organisation

If you decide that the claims and disputes industry isn’t for you, you will easily be able to transfer back into a similar type of employer afterwards. I have spoken to people who have been working in the disputes field for 2-3 years as a specialist and still be able to transfer back into Main Contracting, for instance. The work you do in the disputes field will be very detailed and intricate whilst analysing costs at an expert level, and you won’t lose the skills that an everyday Quantity Surveyor in construction utilises.

Conclusion

If you are potentially someone who is interested in transferring into the disputes field as a Quantum Consultant or Delay Analyst, it’s a great time to make this move with the help and advice from the expert recruiters at Maxim.

If you are someone who is already an experienced disputes professional, why not get in touch to have a chat about some of our unique and exclusive dispute opportunities.

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Adam Cadwaladr
Recruitment Consultant – UK

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