JCT INTERVIEWS…EUAN GEDDES
In the JCT Interviews… series we shine the spotlight on some of the key people who are involved with or give their time to support JCT, showing the diverse range of disciplines across the construction industry that our members represent and the collaborative work that contributes to the development of our contracts. We look at how our interviewees contribute to JCT specifically and gain their views on the wider industry and JCT’s role within it.
Member, JCT Council and Board
Current job title and company/position:
Expert Witness / Partner at HKA
Chair of the Scottish Building Contracts Committee (SBCC)
After 25 years in traditional architectural practice, including 17 years as director of a busy commercial office, Euan made the move into expert witness work. He is now a Partner at HKA, a global practice providing expert witness, claims, and advisory services across multiple sectors. He regularly provides expert reports for use in adjudication, mediation, and litigation and has provided oral evidence in the High Court (TCC).
Along with his day-to-day work, Euan sits on the Investigations Panel of the Architects Registration Board (ARB), the Board of the Architects’ Professional Examination Authority in Scotland (APEAS), and the Contracts Committee of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
JCT: Euan, how did you first come to be involved with JCT? Why do you think it is important to be involved?
EG: My path to becoming involved with JCT was circuitous.
I have been involved with the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) for many years, both on Council and on the Practice and Contracts Committees. Through this, I joined the Scottish Building Contracts Committee (SBCC) which is the Scottish college of JCT and eventually became Chair. One of my roles as Chair is to represent SBCC on the Council and Board of JCT.
I think it is important to be involved in JCT for a number of reasons. Firstly, I want to make sure that the Scottish construction industry continues to have a voice in JCT matters. Secondly, and on a personal level, I am keen to make sure that architects continue to be represented at JCT.
JCT: In your time in being involved with JCT, are there any specific projects, areas of interest or activities that you have enjoyed being part of?
EG: I have taken great interest in JCT’s Young Professionals Group (YPG) which provides networking and learning opportunities for new construction professionals. This is a hugely positive initiative which demonstrates that JCT is a dynamic organisation which is trying to actively engage with new talent. It is an initiative which SBCC is hoping to learn from and emulate.
JCT: Do you have any personal career highlights?
EG: I have been very lucky to have worked on some very rewarding projects with some extremely talented people throughout my career. A personal career highlight was making the leap from traditional architectural practice to expert witness work as it involved me having to learn a host of new skills at a mature age!
JCT: What are you most proud of about the construction industry as a whole and where do you think it most needs to improve?
I am proud that the construction industry has proven itself to be adaptable, responsive, and innovative. This is particularly the case over recent years when domestic and global events have created unparalleled challenges.
One area where the construction industry can improve is by challenging gender inequality and addressing the low number of women in construction. A recent study estimated that just 15% of the UK construction workforce is made up of women.
JCT: What do you see as the main challenges for the construction industry over the next five years?
The biggest challenge for the construction industry over the next five years will be coming to terms with the consequences of the final report of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, expected later this year. The Building Safety Act 2022 is already having a major impact, but there will be further need for reform at all stages of the design and construction process.
Aside from this, environmental concerns will continue to dominate and challenge the construction industry. The need to use sustainable construction techniques, including renewable and recyclable resources and materials, will continue to grow, as will the need to reduce waste and energy consumption during the construction process.
JCT: Does JCT have a wider role to play in the industry beyond producing contracts?
EG: It is definitely the case that JCT has a wider role to play in the construction industry, although producing effective and adaptable contracts must remain at the heart of what it does. The guidance and training offered by JCT encourages best practice within the industry. At the same time, JCT should continue to encourage and engage with new talent through initiatives like the Young Professionals Group.