James is a registered architect with over thirty years’ experience in construction. He studied Architecture at The Queen’s University of Belfast; Construction and Project Management at the University of Ulster; and Construction Law, Arbitration and Adjudication at The Robert Gordon University of Aberdeen.
In 1998, James founded and is sole Director at DIMENSIONS Design & Management Ltd, a RIBA chartered architectural practice and APS registered construction health and safety practice.
James has direct involvement in an extensive range of projects covering the main industry sectors of residential, health, retail, commercial, industrial, education, leisure, tourism and sport for both private and public sector clients.
Also trained as an expert witness, James helps run the Expert Witness training course on behalf of the CIArb Northern Ireland Chapter in compliance with The High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland Queen’s Bench Division (Commercial) Practice Direction 1 of 2015 Expert Evidence.
James presently also is an ARB Inquirer providing advice to the Investigations Panel in respect of allegation of unacceptable professional conduct (UPC) and/or serious professional incompetence (SPI).
Construction health & safety: the CDM Regulations; duties of Principal Designer [PD]; duties of Client; duties of Principal Contractor [PC]; skills, knowledge and experience [SKE] of the PD; construction health & safety; CDM
Advisor to the PD and / or Client; Pre-construction information [PCI]; Health & Safety File; Contractor Design Portions [CDP] health & safety.
James’s expert witness and advisory experience extends to:
Architectural practice: architect’s appointments; architect’s services; architect’s negligence / duty of care; architect’s fees; tendering requirements; novation; collateral warranties; compliance with planning approval; compliance with building regulations; fire safety / means of escape; drawings & specification quality / provisions; disability needs / recommendations; modular construction / SIP panels.
Building investigations: tanking failure; damp penetration; cold bridging; warm / cold roof insulation; roof ventilation; building drainage; flat roof construction / leakage; fire safety / means of escape; patent / latent defects; defective / quality / standards of workmanship.
Construction law: meetings with counsel, solicitors / solicitor advocacies, experts / expert witnesses; adjudication practice & procedure; Inquirer reports & hearings; opinion reports; due diligence.
Construction contracts: contract administrator duties & responsibilities; payment provisions; certification; payment notices / pay less notices; extensions of time; practical completion; rectification period; final account; suspension & termination; defective work.
Private residence, Belfast, UK (2020) Advisor to the Respondent in an Arbitration for alleged failure to measure and value the works, pay for loss and/or damage, pay all sums properly due, award an adequate Extension of Time and properly administer the contract associated with a JCT MWD 2016 Contract.
Extensions to dwellings, East London, UK (2020) Inquirer report and opinion that the Architect continued working on project(s) despite knowing the work undertaken was in breach of planning permission and that these actions were dishonest and/or lacked integrity.
Private residence, Brighton & Hove, UK (2020) Inquirer report and opinion if the Architect failed to carry out work in a timely manner, failed to comply with the client’s budget and failed to provide competent advice.
Defective works, Hemel Hempstead, UK (2020) Expert Report on alleged construction defective works including identifying causes, the relation to the building contract, any breach of architect’s duties, any breach of contractor’s duties, and remedial works proposed.
Professional fees, Kent, UK (2020) Inquirer opinion as to allegation that the architect acted without integrity in that he sought payment for a service he knew he had not provided.
House & stables, Surrey, UK (2020) Inquirer opinion as to allegation that the architect failed to issue the Practical Completion Certificate in accordance with the Contract and / or outside the scope of appointment.
Private residence, Isle of Skye, UK (2020) Inquirer opinion as to allegation that the architect’s specification, design and / or supervision was in some cases deficient and in other cases non-existent in the role of Contract Administrator on a new-build house.
Private residence, Belfast, UK (2020) Advisor to the Respondent in an Adjudication for failure to pay the Final Account and / or issue a Pay Less Notice under the terms of a JCT MWD 2016 Contract.
Private residence, Portrush, UK (2020) Expert report on failure to provide architectural services, any consequences thereof and whether the standards fell below that expected of an architect.
Office building, Limavady, UK (2019) Expert report on possible negligence, misrepresentation, breach of contract and loss and damage caused by failure to perform architectural services.
Alterations and extension to a private dwelling, Belfast, UK (2019) Advisory report in response to a legal claim for negligence and breach of contract associated with the preparation of contract documents and/or performance of contract administrator duties.
Residential development, Warwickshire, UK (2019) Expert report on the findings of a previous adjudication and whether the conduct of the architect fell short of the standards required and/or was such conduct evidence of serious incompetence.
Residential disability needs, Belfast, UK (2018) Expert report and opinion as to the suitability of the existing family home and the likely future housing needs of a severely disabled minor resulting directly from alleged medical negligence during birth.
Extension to MRI unit, Antrim, UK (2017) Advisory report, opinion and recommendation as to the suitability of the construction phase plan from the Principal Contractor to ensure compliance under the CDM Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007.
Hospital generic ward block, Dundonald, UK (2014) Expert report on behalf of the subcontractor as to any legal implications of a sub-contract under the GC/Works Subcontract and associated Schedules including subcontractor designed elements.
Alterations to a private dwelling, County Down, UK (2012) Advisory report and opinion as to the design team and/or contractor’s liability for failure to design and manage properly resulting in structural damage caused post alterations to a private dwelling including compliance with their statutory duties under the CDM Regulations.
Extension to shopping centre, Fermanagh, UK (2011) Expert report and recommendation on behalf of the owner as to the status and suitability of the health and safety file and in particular the duties and performance of the CDMC.
Office/commercial building, County Tyrone, UK (2010) Expert report and opinion on behalf of the third party upon application of the second defendant as to their failure to comply with their obligations under the CDM Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1995.
Office/commercial building, Fermanagh, UK (2006) Expert report and opinion on health and safety compliance of a site incident including the adequacy of the engineer’s drawings and acceptance as sufficiently comprehensive of the contractor’s correspondence.
School external refurbishment, County Tyrone, UK (2005) Expert report and opinion on whether failure to pay a subcontractor on grounds of refusal to provide information for the health and safety file is a breach of the CDM Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1995.
Office/commercial building, Fermanagh, UK (2004) Expert report and opinion on health and safety compliance of a site incident including the adequacy of the engineer’s drawings and acceptance as sufficiently comprehensive of the contractor’s correspondence.
Residential development, Belfast, UK (2003) Expert report on health and safety compliance by the designers and/or contractor involving the excavation of earthworks adjacent to the rear returns of terraced housing resulting in structural damage thereto.
“CDM Bites”, RSUA Practice Services Scheme Quarterly Bulletin, 2017 – present
“The Pain Preventor: JCT Contracts payment requirements”
RSUA CPD Event, Belfast, October 2020
“Clients: Fulfilling your obligations under CDM Regulations”
RSUA CPD Event, Belfast, September 2020 x3 sessions
“The Adjudication Intervention: taking the pain out of contract disputes”
RSUA CPD Event, Belfast, July 2020
“JCT Contracts & Covid-19” RSUA CPD Event, Belfast, May 2020
“JCT Contracts – Payment, certification & staying out of trouble” RSUA CPD Event, Belfast, Jan 2020
“Introduction to the role of Principal Designer”, RSUA CPD Event, Belfast, various 2016 – present
“The Practicalities of Principal Designer”, RSUA CPD Event, Belfast, various 2016 – present
“The Client & CDM(NI)2016”, RSUA CPD Event, Belfast, various 2016 – present
“Designers Duties under CDM”, NI Safety Group CPD Event, Craigavon, 2017.