Expert Witness

An expert witness is a person engaged to give an opinion based on experience, knowledge and expertise.

 

The overriding duty of an expert witness is to provide independent, impartial and unbiased evidence to the court or tribunal.

 

Richard Bedford has over 34 years' experience and he is an Accredited Expert Witness, as certified by CUBS (Cardiff University Bond Solon - Civil Construction). As such, he has become a much sought-after expert witness by private individuals, businesses and solicitors.

 

His cumulative knowledge involving building surveying, architectural technical design and building thermography means that he can offer either CPR compliant expert witness reports or many other preliminary reports.

 

Richard's expertise relates specifically to the following types of dispute:

 

  • Residential building work.

  • General quality of workmanship.

  • Specific building defects.

  • Fitness for purpose.

  • Satisfactory completion of building work.

  • Non-compliance with statutory requirements.

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Compliance Checks

Building work, as defined by the Building Act 1984, has to comply with statutory requirements; the current UK Building Regulations are the first port of call. However, you may enter into a contract with an other, and under specific terms. This usually takes the form of construction drawings, specifications and the contract itself. We always advise on any deviations, breaches or non-compliance issues as part of our expert witness or preliminary reports. Typical issues include wrong materials being used, wrong construction detailing being adopted and incomplete/insufficient works being undertaken. Very often these issues may have complied with Building Regulations requirements but changes may have occurred as a result of possible/contended cost savings not passed on to the client or not put forward for approval in the first instance.

 Expert Witness
Workmanship & Fitness For Purpose

This is an important area of the work of an accredited expert witness. Any building work, irrespective of the cost of those works, or nature of contract used, should achieve a minimum standard of workmanship that is acceptable. Typical examples of poor workmanship include: poorly laid floors (including tiling works), uneven floors, and poor standard/quality of finishes produced for joinery items (such as windows, doors and architraving). We always identify and comment upon any such issues where apparent, and we are often able to reference supporting legislation in many instances, such as any relevant British Standards that may apply. 'Fitness for purpose' describes a service or product that is not working as expected or desired. Therefore, and by way of an example, a poor quality kitchen may still be fit for purpose.

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Statutory Compliance

It is surprising how much building work does not actually comply with statutory requirements, despite Local Authority or Approved Inspector completion certificates. This can be partly explained by the fact that such bodies are not overseeing the building works as a client representative would do. They are not contractually responsible to the building owner undertaking the works. Their duty is to confirm that the works they observe during a limited number of site inspections, comply with the Building Regulations at that time. Richard Bedford has over 34 years' experience detailing, specifying and overseeing building works both as a Chartered Architectural Technologist and also as a Chartered Building Surveyor. The image on the left shows a public staircase, which has very specific requirements in terms of its overall design and dimensions.

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Building Thermography

Richard Bedford is a Certified Thermographer. This means that he has demonstrated his competence in the practice of thermography, as applied to building inspections. We use thermography very successfully to identify 'hidden' defects and issues which are not apparent to the naked eye. In many ways, thermography is a 'bad' building contractor's worst nightmare, as many previously unknown issues can become evident immediately. Typical examples of issues which can be discovered using thermography include: missing/incomplete thermal insulation, rising and penetrating damp, defective heating components and air leakage (infiltration & exfiltration). The image on the left shows compromised wall insulation, as a result of poorly fitted service boxes within the wall, and there is also evidence of air infiltration to the ceiling. None of these issues would be apparent through a visual-only  inspection.

We believe that our combined competencies relating to building thermography, building surveying and architectural technology allow us to provide those instructing us, with the most robust and professionally competent inspections and reports currently available.

Please contact us for more information, as we would be happy to have an informal chat with you in the first instance.