In this series we find out more about some of the key people who give their time to support the JCT Young Professionals Group (JCT YPG). We will look at our interviewees’ background and how they got into the industry, the importance of their contribution to JCT YPG specifically, and gain their views on JCT’s wider role within the industry.
Mark Pantry, Partner, Fenwick Elliott LLP
Mark is a partner at Fenwick Elliott, the largest construction and energy law firm in the UK. Mark specialises in advising on domestic and international construction, engineering and infrastructure projects. He acts for a wide range of clients including contractors, developers, consortiums, investors, and employers, advising on the full lifecycle of a project from its inception to project completion.
JCT: Tell us a bit about your background; what is your current role, and why did you decide on a career in the construction industry?
I qualified as a solicitor in 2013, specialising in non-contentious construction law. My father was a civil engineer so I had some prior knowledge of the construction industry growing up – I remember as a small boy playing with the very detailed models of ship unloaders in his office. I joined Fenwick Elliott, a specialist construction and energy law firm in 2019 and was made a partner in 2023.
JCT: Mark, how did you first come to be involved with JCT’s Young Professionals Group? Why do you think it is important to be involved with the new focus group?
I found out about the Young Professionals Group on the JCT website and made some enquiries. I think it’s really important for young professionals to have a forum within the JCT so that they can interact with other professionals across the sector. Sharing knowledge and experience along the way. It’s also there as a “way in” to the JCT as an organisation, to be at the forefront of ideas and initiatives that will shape the contracts we know and use every day in our professional careers.
I recently led a JCT Young Professionals Group round table discussion on inflation and fluctuation provisions in JCT contracts and it was really encouraging to see young professionals from across the construction industry come together to discuss the topic in detail.
JCT: Can you tell us about any specific work you’re currently doing that has any association to JCT and its contracts (e.g. any case studies/webinars/podcasts/blogs/vlogs)?
I use JCT contracts almost every day! Whether it’s advising clients on the form of JCT contract to be used for a project, reviewing a JCT contract for a main contractor or preparing a JCT sub-contract.
Over the last couple of years I have been focusing on the use of BIM on construction projects and how BIM can be incorporated into JCT contracts – in 2020 I participated in a webinar on the new Information Protocol and how that can be used with the JCT contracts: https://www.fenwickelliott.com/research-insight/webinars-podcasts/bim-new-information-protocol
I have also been looking at JCT Insurance Option C where works are being carried out to existing structures (e.g., fit-out works): https://www.fenwickelliott.com/blog/contracts-documentation/jct-insurance-option-c
JCT: Do you have any personal career highlights so far?
I’ve worked on some fantastic and truly amazing and innovative projects in the UK and internationally. In terms of career highlights, I have most enjoyed working with clients from project inception all the way through to completion, experiencing the highs and lows with the project team along the way.
JCT: What are you most proud of about the construction industry as a whole and where do you think it most needs to improve?
The construction industry has an amazing ability to collaborate and innovate in order to succeed. Some of the current innovations around modular construction and refurbishment of existing buildings are particularly impressive.
Diversity is something which the construction industry needs to improve. There needs to be a collective, industry-wide response to address the issue.
JCT: Does JCT and the Young Professionals Group have a wider role to play in the industry beyond producing contracts?
JCT and the Young Professionals Group has a privileged position in that it can lead the debate on issues within the construction industry. Users of the JCT contracts and members of the Young Professionals Group come from a wide spectrum across the industry and in coming together they can collaborate and shape the future of the construction industry.