If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being in a legal dispute regarding construction issues, it is likely that the other party will engage a construction professional to prepare evidence and act for them as an independent expert.
All legal proceeding forums, whether they be the small claims tribunal for claims less than $15,000, district court, Weathertight Homes Tribunal or the high court, will take more notice of evidence provided by an industry professional, or expert.
If you do not engage a construction professional to act as your own independent expert, you risk the possibility of the judge/arbitrator/chair basing his/her opinion on the other party’s expert’s evidence alone, because your own individual evidence may not be acceptable by the court to be either independent or expert.
An expert witness is someone who by virtue of education, training, skills, knowledge or experience, is believed to have expertise and specialised knowledge in a particular subject beyond that of the average person, sufficient that others may officially and legally rely upon the witness’s specialised opinion about an evidence or fact issue within the scope of his expertise, referred to as the expert opinion, as an assistance to the fact-finder (usually a mediator, arbitrator, adjudicator or judge).
An expert witness reviews the case under scrutiny, investigates as considered necessary, produces evidence and states his opinion regarding the evidence.
An expert witness often appears in formal legal proceedings to answer questions relating to his evidence and/or opinions.
An expert witness report is a written document that details the findings of the writers’ investigations into a particular construction issue. The report includes detailed information about the nature, cause, and effects of the defects affecting the building, the applicable technical standards, NZ building code breaches, the remedial work required to fix the defects and resultant damage and identifies the parties potentially responsible for the defects.
Once defects have been identified and confirmed in a written report, we can provide a brief of evidence and attend a formal legal proceeding, whether it be mediation, arbitration, the claims tribunal or a higher court and act as an expert witness to assist to resolve the dispute. The courts of New Zealand accept the evidence of our directors as expert evidence in construction disputes.
The evidence of the last fifteen to twenty years of the NZ construction industry’s mistakes leads us to one fundamental conclusion: It is better to try and get it right first time rather than re-visit the mistakes later at considerable cost to building owners, tenants, designers, contractors, sub-contractors, councils, government, insurers and lenders.