Construction Scene Investigation

News | February 3, 2022

1 min read

So grave are the potential consequences of poor-quality construction that a forensic attention to detail is paramount, and at HartDixon cases are handled with extreme care. As our commercial, private and public sector clients will testify, knowledge and proficiency are characteristics reflected in our approach to all matters. 

While being dedicated to diligence and a professional duty of care, impartially is vital in the ability to accurately assess delicate issues. The efforts of surveyors in HartDixon have led to an increase in demand for the firm to deploy on investigative duties.

Ben Devonport – a partner at HartDixon with an ability to critically assess and detect defects in design as well as workmanship – has been at the forefront of this caseload, testing his credentials after being called on to act as an expert witness in a series of building disputes that have escalated to the court room.

“When disagreements over responsibility for repairs, negligence and issues that have occurred remain unresolved it can lead to frustration, a breakdown in relationships and – in some cases –a sense of desperation,” said Ben, explaining how expert evidence can be required in disputes across land, property and construction.  

“Our job is not to represent a particular party – be it a contractor, council, property owner or leaseholder – but rather to conduct an unbiased assessment that can support mediation or assist a judge in ruling on a settlement.

“Cases can be complex and varied but do not necessarily involve large organisations,” he added. “Similarly with Landlords and tenants or freeholders and leaseholder, neighbours don’t always get on and it is not that uncommon for households to find themselves in a legal dispute with the threat of damaging consequences – personal and financial – if not advised correctly.

“As long as the dispute remains in our field of expertise, our credentials to serve as an expert witness are robust given HartDixon’s depth of knowledge of the nuances of residential and commercial property. We have experience of performing the role and are familiar with the legal processes involved, which is something of a rarity – very few building surveyors will have found themselves presenting evidence in courtroom setting or formal mediation.”

HartDixon ensure that they act in compliance with Surveyors Acting as Expert Witnesses, 4th edition – RICS, and are able to produce Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) Part 35 compliant reports.

Ben Devonport


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