What’s wrong with the construction expert witness pool, or why it smells funny.

I blame the perceived degeneration of the construction expert witness pool on the financial collapse of 2009. Here’s why: after the crash, the construction industry plummeted, and only began slow recovery after the Stimulus Bill. Companies cut out what they perceived as ‘fat’: all their middle managers – PMs, supers, etc., and created desperate scenarios for the newly jobless.

Unable to find new jobs, many threw up a shingle advertising owner representation services, and (egads!) worse -expert witnesses. This phenomenon had a relatively saturating effect on those markets, creating excess competition, and stagnation of fees – mine included. Simply ask any middle manager, and he will likely tell you that his wages of 2013 were not appreciably better than they were 15 years ago.

The saving grace is that good attorneys are not foolish: they know a real expert from a charlatan. They know to ask the right questions, check references, and conduct face-to-face interviews. As the industry is largely unregulated, it is incumbent on legal professionals to carefully vet any prospective construction expert witness. Woe to the attorney who doesn’t adhere to these basic due diligence principles.

 

 

Written by

Derek Graham is a Primavera 6 scheduler and schedule oversight consultant for public and private sector projects with four decades of construction industry experience. He has been an active construction expert witness in over 30 cases - both nationwide, and Federally, since 2006, when his book Managing Residential Construction Projects, was published by McGraw Hill