Andy Hewitt, founder of Hewitt Construction Consultancy, explains how he got where he is today
When I turned 18, I went to work for a building contractor as a quantity surveyor. I now have almost 40 years of experience in the construction industry, in the UK, West Africa and the Middle East. I have held senior contracts, commercial and project management positions with contractors, sub-contractors and consultants, and now I operate my own practice, based in the UAE.
I left the UK in 1992, after which I worked in Nigeria, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. In 2003, I joined Knowles Middle East, a construction contracts consulting firm. It was a significant experience as it was during this time I realised what I wanted to do. I was working on my own with a small team, and I enjoyed working with my clients and resolving disputes.
I am a fellow of Quantity Surveyors International, a member of the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors, an associate of the Chartered Institute of Building and an associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. I am also a member of the Dispute Resolution Board Foundation and a corporate panel member of the Dispute Board Federation.
In 2006, I moved to Dubai for a new job. I worked as a project director with Morganti Project Management Consultants from 2007 to 2010. The following year I decided I didn’t want to be an employee anymore, as I didn’t enjoy the role. At 56 years old, I wanted to get back to what I enjoy doing.
One of the reasons I enjoy doing what I do is that there are no typical days. I like my work because it’s challenging, and I’m still learning things. I enjoy reaching a fair and reasonable resolution to contractual matters. While the avoidance of contractual disputes is a priority, if disputes do occur I favour a structured and proactive approach to their management in order to protect the contractual entitlements of my clients.
Hewitt Consultancy also provides training and education via distance learning. Some of my time is spent talking to and grading students on the course. My students come from probably 12 different countries, from Panama to Australia. I have been teaching the course for three years.
An inspirational figure for me would be Roger Knowles, who started the Knowles Group. Firstly, he virtually invented the construction claims practitioner. Construction claims used to be handled by people who were non-specialists in the field. He created the specialty, built a large and successful business and remains a very practical, hands-on and overall very nice guy. He has always been a mentor to me.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed most of my time in the construction industry. It’s allowed me to live overseas in what I consider a fantastic environment, the Middle East. I’m almost 60 now. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing.