(O’Neil & Williams – our Paper was first published in May 2020 in the Construction Law Journal and republished with some minor amendments in the August 2020 Edition of the ACICA Review (Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration).

The theme of the Paper is choices.  The message is simple, failures have their origins at the early stages of a project and there are no shortcuts to due diligence, competence and management of risk. We drew some conclusions; the key ones being the importance of senior management competency, effective communications and starting projects on the right ’footing’. The messages are not revolutionary or ground breaking and we all have heard and even quoted them. More so, many of us have first hand experience of involvement in failed projects. So why do we continue to see failures and disasters?

In January 2020, when we wrote the Paper little did we think what the world would look like in September 2020 and that construction projects would be  the least of our worries. Covid-19 has tested the leadership of all countries.  Leaders have made their choices and some have faired better than others. The challenges faced have been unprecedented and on a tragic scale. Nevertheless, it can be argued that the fundamentals are the same as a simple construction project – define the problem, look at the risks and challenges, design a solution and deliver it.  I put it to you – are the points made in the Paper confined exclusively to the construction industry or, are do they apply to society wide?

The next question for us all to answer is how does society move the dial? Your choice!

Thoughts from a far-off place!


Ian Williams – Qatar

To read the full paper by Ian Williams and Charles O’Neil – Click Here