Q&A with David Lovell – Senior Quantity Surveyor

Expert Interview 23 Jul 2017 by Abacus

Q: You have experience across the construction and rail sectors. What are the common denominators when it comes to delivery?

The two obvious drivers of success are the timely delivery of a project and delivery within budget. Below these sit other requirements that apply across the board.

These include variations being priced quickly, accurate cash-flow forecasting to avoid final account shocks and early notification of any delays and incremental cost.

Good communication is at least as important as the financial deliverables. Helping to facilitate a good relationship between the client and contractor whilst protecting each party’s rights in the event in the dispute is a delicate balance and requires experience and sensitivity.

Q: What have been your career highlights?

During my time in the construction industry, I worked on the preparation of a claim on a £13m refurbishment contract at Hackwood House near Basingstoke.

The high-quality design and exceptional standard of work, along with the complexity of the project made the £4m claim challenging and exciting to work on.

“ Good communication is at least as important as the financial deliverables.”

I was also engaged to provide Quantity Surveying services and to prepare claims over several years with the joinery specialists, Elliotts of Reading. Seeing their high-quality joinery and interior finishings was a real highlight for me.

One residence of note was in Palace Green next to Kensington Palace, but preparation of claims for projects at Terminal 4 and Dorchester Hotel made for a varied and interesting work.

Later in my career I was engaged to work on several interesting and challenging prolongation and loss & expense claims on rolling stock projects for Alstom in their Paris and Belgium offices.

Q: What have been your biggest challenges?

Leaving the relative security of working directly for the Lovell Construction Group, with which I had a family connection was, at the time, a big step. I took the decision in 1987 to form my own partnership to provide freelance QS services.

In the same year, I also formed my own separate company to carry out a residential development in Colnbrook near Heathrow. Single handedly I arranged finance, bought land, procured and managed materials, services and subcontractors and on completion dealt with property sales.

This experience meant I gained a valuable understanding of the concerns facing Abacus’ clients. Managing complex construction projects as a client gave me an insight into the client mindset that enriched my QS and PM expertise.