The Future is Now - Technology in Expert Services

By Steve Robins, Group Head of Expert Witness Services – Quantum and Charlie Woodley, Director Data and Quantum 

By leveraging technology, construction experts can streamline claim or expert evidence preparation, improve accuracy, enhance collaboration, and present claims more effectively. This can ultimately lead to faster resolution of disputes and better outcomes for all parties involved in the construction project.

The industry has embraced technology after a period of stagnation, leading to a significant increase in project data and documentation. However, inadequate record-keeping remains a challenge. To overcome this, construction experts need a comprehensive understanding of the project information landscape to gather supporting evidence and effectively utilize unfamiliar formats.

In addition to typical records such as emails, letters, purchase orders and invoices the variety of project applications now extends from 3D design, project management, design change and configuration management, scheduling, earned value management, risk management, resource management and production planning, time capture, human resources, accounting, to payroll and more. Despite these interconnected applications organisations can remain data-rich but information poor.

The volume of project data and records can overwhelm outdated manual expert practices rendering them impractical. The tasks of individually opening and reading emails, manual identification of drawing change, or manual data extraction into spreadsheets are no longer viable. To provide value to clients, experts must embrace technology and harness its capabilities in the present, rather than waiting for the future.

“As an expert instructed on complex construction projects, the quantities of project data and records are vast. Without the use of new technology, it would not be possible to produce comprehensive and accurate expert reports within the rigorous timescales often demanded by lawyers or directed by tribunals.”

Steve Robins, Group Head of Expert Witness Services – Quantum

How Technology is Being Used Now

Document Processing and Search: Technology enables the ingestion of project data and records into a searchable index directly from source, eliminating the need for insecure channels and enhancing cybersecurity while avoiding excessive cloud storage. These streamlined workflows include processing capabilities that ensure documents are easily searchable, classified accurately, and relevant data can be efficiently extracted.

Machine learning and natural language processing: Machine learning and natural language processing technologies can improve the analysis of large volumes of documentation related to a claim. These technologies can improve the accuracy of optical character recognition (OCR) and automate the extraction of relevant data. And help in classifying documents, identifying relevant clauses, related documents, and key terms, reducing manual effort and improving the efficiency of claim preparation.

Data analysis and visualization: Technology enables the analysis and visualization of complex construction data, which can be beneficial for claim preparation. Construction experts can use data analytics tools to identify trends, patterns, and causal relationships related to the claim. Visualizing this data in graphical formats can help in presenting the claim more effectively and supporting arguments with compelling evidence.

Building Information Modelling (BIM): Utilising BIM technology can aid in claim preparation. Construction experts can leverage the detailed 3D models generated in BIM software to identify design issues, clashes, and discrepancies. Additionally, 4D BIM can facilitate an understanding of the effects of changes and delays over time and communicate often complex sequencing and indirect impacts.

Document comparison and version control: Technology provides tools for document comparison and version control, which are crucial in claim preparation. Construction experts can use software that highlights changes between different versions of documents, making it easier to track modifications, additions, or deletions in contracts, drawings, specifications and cost models. In addition to efficiency, this ensures accuracy and consistency in claim documentation or expert evidence.

Collaboration and communication tools: Technology provides a range of communication and collaboration tools that significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of claim preparation. These tools are not limited to video conferencing with features such as whiteboarding, screen sharing, and chat functionality. When integrated with core productivity tools such as enterprise search they minimize time wasted from switching between applications and allow for features like saved searches, annotations, highlighting, and note-taking, eliminating duplication of effort, expediting claim or report preparation and allowing for seamless collaboration in dispersed teams.


The ongoing advancement of AI in the construction industry is undeniable and is expected to continue its momentum. This progress is likely to catalyse the adoption of technology within construction expert practices. Why? Because machine learning provides a means to capture and harness the invaluable subject matter expertise possessed by employees, transforming it into tangible models that can be monetized.

Under pressure to improve productivity and reduce cost, construction experts are well placed to stand on the shoulders of giants and adapt tried and tested legal technology, process and procedure. The question for clients is will they and if not, why not? The principle of independence mustn't be an excuse to enrich through inefficiency.