JCT Interviews…Richard Young

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.

Richard Young BSc Hons MICE
Senior director, CBRE Project Management
Member, JCT Council

Richard Young originally trained as a civil engineer at Kings College, London, and has worked in both contracting and design on projects that included the Channel Tunnel, amongst others. He became a project manager in 1996.

Richard’s current role is senior director at CBRE, leading the Investor and Developer Project Management team in London. His team helps clients deliver a broad range of projects, often from the outset, including offices, residential, healthcare, senior living, and theatre buildings. Their work, based mostly in central London but also covering the southern home counties, ranges from small projects to those of more than £200m in size.

Richard has worked across most real estate sectors including offices, residential, healthcare, and higher education, and has experience both as a consultant project manager and a contractor. He is a member of the British Council for Offices and of the JCT Consultant’s College.

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

RY: I have spent many years in my career dealing with JCT contracts, helping to draft and administer contracts as employer’s agent or contract administrator. I have also dealt with claims and disputes. After working with Victoria Peckett of CMS (chair, JCT Drafting Sub-Committee), and having talked to her about JCT, I was keen to share my experience. Victoria put me in touch with the Consultant’s College and, as it did not have an APM representative, there was a vacancy. I have always felt strongly that the continuing evolution of building contracts needs to reflect the feedback and experience of those using them in the field.

JCT: Can you tell us about any specific work you are currently doing with JCT (e.g. any work with working groups/committees/Council/Board)?

RY: I chair the Consultant’s College meetings held before each quarterly Council meeting as well as adding my input into the general matters.  I sit on the JCT BIM Working Group and looked recently at a JCT bond and PCG.  Nick Deeming (chair, JCT BIM Working Group) and I are the only consultant members who administer contracts from the outset rather than getting involved on the dispute side, so we bring a different view on matters to the Council.

JCT: Do you have any personal career highlights?

RY: It is very difficult to pick one in particular, but two stand out – going to see a client, who had recently moved firms, and being given a project immediately based on our past relationship and experience together, and having another shortlisted for the Stirling Prize.

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

RY: The industry’s greatest strengths are ingenuity and creativity. Technology and material science have liberated the design team and allowed it to conceive of buildings that were simply not possible before.  They still need to be built though, and it is the construction industry’s task to find ways to do that – often inventing new methods and techniques to do so.  If there is an aspect of the industry that needs to change, I am afraid it is the same one that goes as far back as Egan and before: we need to find better ways to collaborate, allocate risk, promote innovation, and be more efficient.  We have to build project cultures based on collective responsibility for success.  Building contracts have a fundamental part in helping to achieve that.

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

RY: Building sustainably and addressing the massive skills shortages the industry faces. The post-Brexit UK will need to build, especially as our economic base evolves. New homes, industry, distribution, and infrastructure; so much of our economy is changing so quickly and we have been slow to adapt and keep up. We will also be able to do so much more once we fully unlock the potential of digital technology for our industry, but that is a challenge for us too. There is so much to do but the opportunities are really exciting.

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

RY: JCT is at the heart of a rapidly changing industry and has the opportunity to be a powerful advocate for best practice, not only through training and development but also at a strategic level.  We face major challenges as an industry so every contribution of new ideas, approaches, and strategies to meet those challenges is valuable, especially coming from subject experts like JCT that sit at the meeting point between client bodies and constructors.