Construction Law International - December 2021 - From the Co-Chairs

Shona Frame and Ricardo Barreiro-DeymonnazWednesday 8 December 2021

Dear ICP Committee members,

As we approach the end of our term in office on 31 December 2021, it is interesting to reflect on the last two years. Our first Co-Chairs’ message for CLInt was written in March 2020 in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. At that point we were all adapting to different ways of working and balancing work, family commitments and other challenges under various levels of lockdown, as restrictions were imposed around the globe.

We saw governments take different approaches to managing the pandemic but no country has emerged unscathed. We saw some respite in mid-2020, as the initial wave of infections began to recede but that turned out to be a false dawn as second and third waves and new variants emerged.

We welcomed, with great relief, the vaccines that began to appear in late 2020 after a herculean effort by scientists worldwide, followed by a global effort by governments to roll out vaccines to their populations.

Now, almost two years on, we are beginning to move into a phase of adapting to living with Covid-19, although pressures on health services remain and we still seem to be far from leaving it behind.

What was, in early 2020, a new way of working is now business as usual for many of us. We have, to a large extent, replaced face-to-face meetings and business travel with video calls. Conferences and seminars have been replaced with webinars. Some of us are making a gradual return to working in the office, while others are still working from home. Going forward, the model continues to evolve, with a hybrid approach starting to emerge. In-person events are returning although cautiously and gradually.

We are very much looking forward to our Working Weekend in Vevey, Switzerland, in May 2022, which was postponed in May 2020, and to other events which we hope can take place in 2022.

In the meantime, the Committee remains very active. We have now rolled out four masterclass events during 2021: Practical considerations for mediation of construction disputes; Practical aspects of cross examination techniques; Fundamentals of Project Establishment; and Fundamentals of Project Delivery, as well as a webinar focused on the role of experts in construction disputes.

We revisited the Covid-19 webinar held in August 2020, and on 7 December hosted a webinar titled ‘Beyond Covid-19: impact on construction contracts and projects’. It focussed on lessons learned, changes, improvements and trends derived from the pandemic.

We have three ongoing projects:

• Project Establishment Subcommittee’s ‘Ten tips for Project Establishment’;

• Project Execution Subcommittee’s ‘Supply Chain Insolvency Ready Reckoner’; and

• Dispute Resolution Subcommittee’s ‘ADR in Construction Country Guides’.

Our exclusive publication, Construction Law International, has continued to be published regularly, albeit in digital format, and sourced with excellent content thanks to the tremendous efforts of the editorial team.

In addition, along with Mauro Rubino-Sammartano (Former Chair of Dispute Resolution Subcommittee) and the Cour Européenne d’Arbitrage (European Court of Arbitration), we are jointly organising the Online Training Course on Construction Arbitration. This consists of a series of 25 online lectures which are free of charge and many ICP Committee members are participating as lecturers.

We were delighted that the IBA has offered the ICP Committee the opportunity to participate in a LinkedIn trial as a way of communicating more effectively with our members. The LinkedIn group launched in August 2021 and we are excited at the opportunities it provides for members to connect, communicate and exchange ideas. We encourage you to join the group and submit posts and participate in discussions via this link: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12550671/. As we have seen over the past two years, the ability to stay connected and engage with each other has become increasingly important, and the LinkedIn group is an important tool for this.

We held an ICP Committee virtual networking event in April, and our annual members meeting in December, at which the new officers for 2022–2023 were announced. We held a virtual handing over of the ICP hard hats to new Co-Chairs Jean-Pierre van Eijck of SPANT Advocaten in the Netherlands and Joe Moore of Hanson Bridgett in San Francisco, United States. We know they and the team of officers will do a fantastic job in looking after the ICP Committee going forward. We wish them well for their terms in office and at the same time extend a very heart-felt thank you to our team of officers for 2020–2021. We asked a lot of the team and they responded extremely positively and worked hard to deliver events and projects to the benefit of the Committee and our members. We could not have asked for a better team and we are confident we are passing on the reins in good heart.

We wish you and your families, friends and colleagues well and look forward to a healthy, happy and prosperous 2022.

Shona Frame
ICP Co-Chair

Ricardo Barreiro-Deymonnaz
ICP Co-Chair