Expert Witness
The overriding duty of any Expert Witness is to the court, and no favour can be shown by the Expert to their cause. It is far better to learn of the Experts honest views if that view could lead to the avoidance of a costly hearing.

I have been privileged to provide expert reports/testimony in:

  • International Arbitrations in The Hague and Dubai
  • Civil cases in the TCC, County Court and Public Planning Appeals
  • Manslaughter and fraud related cases in the Crown Courts of Southwark and Winchester.

Failure of Duty of Care - Structural Engineers

Failure of duty of care of fellow professional structural engineers’ reports are provided. Instructions are received from the large well known insurance companies, solicitors, the public and from professional indemnity insurers or their brokers. This workload is varied but would typically involve the following:

Design Failures

Design failures may manifest themselves during or after the construction process. Professionals are often held to be negligent for what they don’t say as well as inappropriate advice, and cutting out the professional all together can end with catastrophic results.

Reports are often on the following topics:
  • Defective flooring
  • Inadequate fire resistance
  • Inadequate strength of materials used in construction
  • Low grade concrete
  • Foundation design and failure

When designing building engineers need to explain to clients the different specifications that could be provided. This is particularly important when the maintenance of the building is considered. ‘Life to first maintenance’ is a consideration that is not always properly dealt with and clients normally end up paying for a shortfall in specification detail. This can be very expensive if disputes arise with Tenants who object to the high maintenance costs.

Collapse Investigations

Collapse Investigations

Unskilled labour used on building projects and the lack of appropriate insurance cover by contractors/ builders contribute to the mayhem caused after a collapse.

Health and Safety of building sites although taken very seriously by the majority can be flagrantly ignored by the minority. Vigilance during site inspections should be high on the list of professionals to minimise the calamities that could otherwise follow.

It may be surprising to learn that professionals are not always commissioned by clients prior to collapses. It is never enough however for a professional to sit and watch a client going down this potentially dangerous route without advising him of the error of his ways and then confirming it in writing.

Bomb damage experience gained during the terrorist activities has stood me in good stead in appraising partially collapsed or totally collapsed buildings with a view to determine the probable cause or causes of collapse.

Construction and Material Defects

Investigations under this heading include the following:
  • Lower strength of concrete than specified.
  • Alkali- silica reaction (ASR) of the constituent parts of concrete.
  • Concrete contamination either man- made products or by pollution.
  • Sulphate attack (acid rain)of concrete.
  • Glazing defects due to contaminants or poor installation and low grade materials.
  • Structural steelwork testing.
  • Long span beams analysis.
  • Steel grade not matching the design requirements
  • Masonry defects.
  • Advanced corrosion of galvanised cavity ties.
  • Vertical load calculations.
  • Mortar issues
Timber Defects

Timber Defects

Excessive deflection may be caused by over notching (plumbers/electricians please note) or the wrong grade of timber or simply the wrong size compared to the design assumptions or even the member may not be at the appropriate centres.

The omission of bracing in roofs and the omission of restraints to gable walls is a topic that does not go away. The above are just a few of the related topics that encompass my expert reports.

Failure of Duty of Care - Building Surveyors

Survey reports Building survey reports and omissions therefrom are probably the single largest cause of action against surveyors that are covered by my reports. Surveyors are trained to be vigilant during survey work and will pay heavily if reports are held to be negligent.

Building Survey Report and Homebuyers Survey Report

The types of survey report will normally be either, 'Building Survey Report' or a 'Homebuyers Survey Report', the latter is of a fixed format and is normally accompanied with a valuation on the property The surveyor is also expected to 'follow the trail' to find the source and thereby extent of any defect. If however, opening up work is restricted by the owner at the time of the survey, then it is expected the surveyor would make it clear that opening up work is required, and a revisit made.

Sometimes surveyors do not make appropriate comments on what they see, or should have seen. Whereas extensions are normally very obvious to the trained eye, it is not so unusual to find no formal approval exists either for Planning or Building Regulations. If retrospective Planning permission is then sought and is refused demolition may be necessary. Equally opening up work may be required to satisfy Building Regulations

Clients need to be careful that their instructions to surveyors are concise, if not the surveyor should clarify any matter before proceeding with the survey.

Contract Administration

Contract Administration

Contract administration errors are another cause of alleged negligence against surveyors.

Landlord and Tenants work and alleged malpractice against surveyors would normally include failing to advise on appending 'Schedules of Condition' to a lease (to limit the leaseholders repairing liability) or perhaps not appropriately dealing with a 'Schedule of Dilapidations'.

Incorrectly appraising repair costing is another item regularly the topic of my expert reports.


The biggest single investment that most people make is their home. But what happens when your house suffers from a defect. If you have an NHBC cover no doubt you would make a claim in the hope that the defect would be rectified.

But what happens when the defect that you thought was rectifiable is deemed by the NHBC not to have commensurate damage in order to issue a Resolution Report. Even if repairs are carried out will this remedy any distortion and or out of level? If not will your property suffer from a diminution in value?