JCT Interviews…Nigel Davies

In this series we shed some light on some of the key people who are involved with or give their time to support JCT, to ensure that all areas of the construction industry are represented and can contribute to the development of our contracts. We will look at how our interviewees contribute to JCT specifically, and gain their views on JCT’s wider role within the industry.

Member of the JCT Council
Facilities Management Contracts Working Group
Construction Dispute Resolution Group

Nigel Davies BSc (Hons) (Q.Surv), PGCert.Psych, GDipLaw, PGDipLP, DipArb, MSc (Merit), LLM (Distinction), FRICS, FCIOB, FCInstCES, FCIArb, is a Chartered Surveyor, Chartered Builder, Chartered Construction Manager, Chartered Arbitrator, Solicitor-Advocate, Panel Registered Adjudicator, Author, Mediator and Mediation Advocate.

Nigel is presently studying for an MSc in Mechanical and Electrical Surveying at Salford University.

Nigel has over 25 years’ experience in the construction industry, originally gained working as a quantity surveyor working on a variety of building projects, then latterly as a consultant and a solicitor specialising in commercial and contractual management and construction law. During this period Nigel has worked and acted for employers, architects, main contractors, and specialist sub-contractors in providing quantity surveying, legal, and commercial services on a wide range of construction projects, operating under a variety of standard and non-standard contracts and subcontracts. These have included shopping centres, commercial offices, leisure centres, underground stations, industrial facilities, refurbishment, prestige residential developments and social housing.

He predominantly acts as a Mediator, Chartered Arbitrator, and Adjudicator in regards to a broad spectrum of construction and property disputes being registered with the RICS, TeCSA, CIArb, CIC and Ireland.

Nigel regularly provides in-house seminars and courses to large publicly-owned organisations on a wide variety of construction and engineering contracts through the RICS and his business Davies & Davies Associates Ltd, which he founded in 2005.

JCT: Nigel, how did you first come to be involved with JCT? Why do you think it is important to be involved?

ND: I was introduced by the RICS’s Contracts Panel who were looking for members to sit on its panel and to represent the RICS within the Consultants’ College at the JCT Council meetings some eleven years ago. I now represent the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors within the Consultants’ College.

I saw it as an exciting opportunity to constructively contribute towards the work of the JCT in developing contracts upon which the construction industry relies. I was also proud to be contributing towards the representation of consultants and, in particular, the CICES membership within the Consultants’ College.

JCT: Can you tell us about any specific work you’re currently doing with JCT – through the Construction Dispute Resolution Group, or the Facilities Management Contracts Working Group, for example?

ND: In terms of the CDRG we are developing exciting new contractual provisions which shall provide users with the opportunity to use a Construction Act compliant standing ‘dispute board’. Presently, ad-hoc dispute resolution is enormously stressful for the Parties in terms of time and cost. There is also an inevitable loss of an enormous amount of context, all of which causes an irreparable loss of trust and confidence between the parties. A standing ‘dispute board’ seeks to address such issues by maintaining context and understanding through close contact with the project and being ready to answer issues as they arise.

The FMCWG is looking into developing a family of JCT Facilities Management Contract(s) and/or a Design, Build and Operate JCT form based on the current JCT DB Form. The development of such contracts would represent an exciting new development in the contracts that JCT is able to offer the built environment industry.

JCT: Do you have any personal career highlights? What are you most proud of about the construction industry as a whole and where do you think it most needs to improve?

ND: If I measure career highlight by the length of time I felt its impact, then it must be the setting up of my own business back in 2005. I am still enjoying the freedom it granted me to grow and develop.

I love the industry, especially the scale of what it can achieve, and the longevity of what it creates, through an astonishing elastic mosaic of individuals and companies collaborating. Whether it’s modest or spectacular, it’s an industry that bears the capacity to enrich our lives in innumerable ways, not only
in terms of product; its very existence can usher in change and social development where previously there was little. It is an essential life-blood to any successful economy, be that micro or macro, local, regional or national. I’m also grateful that the media has been increasingly able to capture why it is so special in the programmes and documentaries it has been producing over the past 10 years.

Harnessing the advantages of technological developments at a consistent pace across the industry, bearing in mind the speed with which technology develops and the costs associated with it, shall always present the industry with challenges. However, these differences can be mitigated if the industry continues to
develop even better methods of working that continue to deliver greater alignment of the Parties’ interests. Fortunately there is an increasing use of relational contractual arrangements such as framework agreements based upon contracts produced by the JCT. It is the use of frameworks that arguably offer the greatest opportunity to Employers to bring about economic and social change to the grassroots of not only the industry but also the area in which the investment is being made.

JCT: What do you see as the main challenges for the construction industry over the next five years?

ND: Obvious external economic factors such as Brexit aside, the industry is inherently evolutionary but I believe that in certain respects there is need for revolution. Whilst payment practices have unquestionably improved, led by the government’s example in the Construction Supply Chain Payment Charter, I would like to see the end of retention which seems to me only to place an archaic choke-hold on cash flow, but I appreciate that for some at least, it is a step too far.

The main challenge will be to fully harness BIM throughout the supply chain and to persuade Employers of the value it can bring on projects worth between £1m and £5m. The difficulty is that embracing change requires the confidence to risk and invest.

JCT: Does JCT have a wider role to play in the industry beyond producing contracts?

ND: Clearly, JCT has an enormous amount to offer and this is never more simply demonstrated by its long standing record of educational, training, support and guidance roles that it has provided and continues to play within the industry. Its role is not simply a purveyor of good, solid, reliable, trusted contracts to the industry based upon cross-industry consensus. Instead, JCT is a leader in good practice and its working groups serve as an excellent example of JCT’s tireless drive help the industry develop.