March 2021

10 Crucial Questions to ask a Quantum Expert

Article by Paul McArd, Managing Director of Accura Consulting.

Download a PDF version here.

How to choose a true quantum expert?

An independent quantum expert needs to be impartial when engaged in providing early quantum advice, so clients understand their actual liabilities or opportunities.

Qualifications are just one of the characteristics required to be a quantum expert. Hands-on project delivery experience is imperative, as a quantum expert must understand how projects are delivered, and ultimately costed in real life, rather than theoretical desktop cost plan estimates.

The list below provides ten questions you should be asking any potential quantum expert and is in no way exhaustive.

  1. Are you a qualified quantity surveyor?
  2. Do you have actual ‘hands-on’ project delivery experience?
  3. What previous roles have you held when delivering projects?
  4. Are you a member of any industry regulatory organisations?
  5. Do you have forensic skills in assessing facts and analysing evidence?
  6. Are you able to convey credibility in your reports?
  7. Do you have attention to detail?
  8. Can you confidently explain the cause and effect of events?
  9. Have you previously been requested to provide written and oral evidence in tribunals?
  10. Are you able to provide straightforward, clear advice, both written and orally?

How a Quantum Expert can support you in negotiations

Quantum experts are generally engaged as independent experts once a dispute is underway and being heard in a tribunal, or on the verge of proceedings.

However, contractors, subcontractors, and owners could settle some of the issues before reaching the formal dispute stage if they engaged a quantum expert early in the process.

Apart from providing clarity and avoiding disputes with the other party, using a quantum expert early in the process provides claimants with a degree of confidence in the actual amounts owed. This clarity allows senior managers, board members, and investors to understand the liabilities and potential opportunities and to make confident decisions.

It is common (and only natural) that the claiming party seeks the best commercial position possible and may include costs that do not necessarily form part of the event that has occurred. It is also common that a claiming party focuses on a particular event and considers all its additional costs are due to that specific event.  Often other compensable events are overlooked that could also be the cause of the loss. Focussing on one event and ignoring other issues can lead to costs not being apportioned correctly, resulting in global or total cost claims being constructed. Global or total cost claims are difficult to negotiate and can frustrate responding parties, leading to disputes.

A responding party needs to understand their real liabilities as soon as possible.  Engaging a quantum expert to assess a cost claim provides an objective, independent and realistic position.  The responding party is equipped with factual evidence to negotiate and allows them to respond confidently.

An independent objective report that a true quantum expert produces allows either side to understand the actual costs due to additional work, defects and delays.

Whether it be pricing the remediation of defective works, understanding the extent of additional scope or pricing delay costs, certainty is required, particularly when large sums of money are at stake.

A common theme in construction projects is that parties cannot agree to the extent of additional costs and works that have occurred, leading to stress, anxiety, frustration, and often formal disputes. With the increase in infrastructure projects funded by the private sector, it is even more critical to engage a true quantum expert to provide investors with confidence and clarity.

Disclaimer: This paper does not in any way constitute any type of legal or professional advice whatsoever and in no way should be relied upon by any party whatsoever in any jurisdiction.

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