Hill International VP calls for fundamental change

Leading international firms driven away from region by increased risks

David Brodie-Stedman says contractor fundamentals need to change.

The best international contractors are being driven away from opportunities in the Middle East by risks that are “becoming far too high”, David Brodie-Stedman, Hill International’s senior vice president and managing director for AMEA, told Big Project ME, in an exclusive interview.

As a reference point, Brodie-Stedman pointed to his instigation of multi-stage tendering processes during his work at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), which saw the project completed on time, on budget and without claims.

“In terms of progressive steps, I often hear from an employer and contractors organisations here that maybe we need to change the fundamental basis of contracting in the region,” he said.

“If you want to improve how contracts are executed, either employ a team that really understands or train them, but move away from the lottery that is open tendering, where whoever makes the biggest mistake wins the job,” he advised.

Brodie-Stedman continued to advise that, in light of heightened market activity currently, employers and project owners must assess how they can ensure the best outcomes for their projects, beyond going for the lowest tendering price.

“Employers and owners in this region need to look hard at themselves about how they can ensure the best outcomes on their projects and this requires not to have an obsession with the lowest tender prices, but to have an obsession with reaching a realistic end date with an agreed price and standard.

“That’s totally changing things and it’s completely unheard of in this market.”

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