Asset maintenance, in any given industry, usually includes a contract for services whereby a maintainer is obliged to perform maintenance to a stated scope of service on an asset or group of assets, and to agreed SLAs and KPIs. Such maintenance is often carried out by the original equipment manufacturer or a specialist maintainer. Planned maintenance is typically well specified. Reactive maintenance is often performed with client agreement, but may be performed without where the same maintainer is also under a service level agreement concerning the operational availability of the asset. It is not uncommon for the specifications of planned or reactive maintenance to be excessive, or the performance of such maintenance to be the subject of dispute.
Many clients will recognise substantial maintenance being invoiced where in fact the age, condition and duty of the asset justifies a more conservative approach, and maintainers will recognise the need for comprehensive maintenance to guarantee performance of the asset. Where disputes arise, the client or the court may require confirmation of maintenance performed, and the appropriateness and quality of maintenance performed in view of the age and condition of the asset.
We cover a broad range of tedhnical assets including electrical, HVAC, cooling, power generation, uninterruptible power supplies, building infrastructure, fire detection and suppression and technical equipment environments. Investigations typically require disclosure of data such as maintenance history, job tickets, OEM maintenance specifications and inspection reports.
Our data centre expertise covers all aspects of data centre construction, fit-out, operation and retirement, including: installation condition assessment, commissioning dispute, maintenance performance, client caused damage, SLA compliance, impact assessment of damage caused by humidity or temperature SLA breach, fire, water ingress or suppressant gas release. These aspects may necessarily include other services listed here such as electrical regulation compliance and incident root cause analysis. With previous experience in data centre operators, suppliers to and tenants of, our experts are able to tackle the majority of issues that arise in the data centre business, including operations performance, procurement, engineering, maintenance, supplier performance, incident and audit, we are able to consider the majority of issues faced by players in this market. Specific technologies include power, generation, UPS (static and DRUPS), cooling, water treatment, building management, carrier aspects, infrastructure, energy reduction, firm frequency response (FFR) and frequency control by demand management (FCDM). This experience has been gained with some of the worlds leading operators and suppliers, including facilities with in excess of 90,000m² and 60MW of supply capacity, and in challenging global locations.
One of the issues facing data centre players today is that in the pursuit of cost reduction, in-house technical skills have been outsourced to providers. As in all outsourcing scenarios, the management of supplier performance is critical, and contracts may not have set out specific enough mechanisms when certain eventualities arise. This situation can foster discord, and disputes often result. Our experts are experienced in identifying issues arising in these scenarios, and exploring the facts within.
Incidents occuring within data centres often become highly litigious because of the scale of installation and criticality of service. We have experience in complex technical incident follow up including root cause analysis and identification of causal factors. Make contact to discuss your specific data centre expert witness requirements further.
We provide services to commercial, industrial and domestic clients. The electrical engineering sector is under constant time and cost pressures. New installations are often bid at risk and modifications to existing installations often underestimate complexity. Incidents sometimes reveal non-compliances with wiring regulations (including BS7671) and codes of practice. Light touch controls over the appointment of approved persons in numerous countries have presented difficulties in the assessment of competency and the buyer is often unaware. As you might expect, things don't always go well and commercial and contractual difficulties can arise. Our experts have experience in LV and HV installations in domestic, commercial and industrial applications. We have a particular focus on incident root cause analysis, procedural integrity, electrical installation condition assessment (including review of EICRs and PIRs for adequacy) and compliance with the relevant wiring regulations. Recent matters have included inappropriate use of circuit breaker in an industrial setting, unsafe actions during HV switching procedure, investigation into high protective earth currents in an IT environment, validity of an electrical installation certificate, quality of periodic inspection, and incorrect selection of materials in a domestic installation. We are happy to undertake single or joint party appointed engagements; please contact us to discuss your specific electrical expert witness requirements further.
Facilities management incorpoates all aspects of the outsourced management of facility to an external organisation (the "FM provider"). These arrangements are typically on a contract for services basis where costs are controlled or capped in some way and the FM provider exercises a certain amount of decision making over the tasks to be performed. These may be include examples such as planned or reactive maintenance, temporary closure of common areas, and interaction with or co-ordination of other contractors. Relationships in outsourced FM agreements can become strained when expectations are not met or when a re-assessment is made of the performance of the FM provider. In large scale outsources, for example when many hundreds of locations are outsourced, the distance between the client and what is actually happening on the ground can be great. In cases like these, an expert determination can be very helpful in bringing a clear and accurate view of the situation. We are happy to discuss your specific facilities management expert witness requirements further; please make contact.
Incident Root Cause Analysis
Following an engineering or technology incident, the quality of a root cause analysis (RCA) can be crucial to commercial, contractual or legal actions. RCAs are often produced by those close to the incident, and consequently may approach the RCA with bias, albeit unintentional, and may miss critical causal factors. We have expertise in producing and evaluating root cause analyses, and can take the lead in root cause analysis activities, review existing material, and act in single or joint party appointed expert witness assignments. Our expertise extends to correlation between design stage failure mode, criticality and effects analysis (FMECA) and post incident root cause analysis which can sometimes demonstrate inadquate assessment at design stage. Please make contact to discuss your root cause analysis expert witness needs further.
Our experience includes software development, cloud based implementation, embedded software, hardware development and repair and maintenance, with specific expertise in: planning and management of IT programmes or projects (including Prince2 and MSP), change control, analysis of delay, adequacy of and compliance with user requirements, vendor selection and performance, and license quantum dispute. Scenarios have included customer relationship management, billing systems, workflow management, machine to machine interfaces, external alarm interfaces, telecoms network management systems, data centre building management systems (BMS), data centre infrastructure management systems (DCIM) and power monitoring systems (PMS). Please make contact to discuss you information technology expert witness requirements further.
Projects and programmes in the engineering and technology sectors frequently involve complex dependencies, internal and external constraints, and are coloured with numerous threats to success throughout. Rushed project initiation may not reveal isues until much later, when problems have become embedded and costly or commercially difficult to resolve. Poorly managed projects will demonstrate ongoing difficulties and frustrations for stakeholders. Our experts have comprehensive backgrounds in managing complex engineering and high technology projects, with attributes such as multinational supply chain and locations, government stakeholders, recovery of projects with a high level of public visibility and high risk investment start-up contexts.
The level of success in projects and programmes is often closely related to the skill and experience of the project manager or the project management team. We have a track record of reviewing and auditing project management methods, controls and tools, and identifying the root cause issues in failing projects. Specific expertise includes schedule and delay analysis, critical path integrity, risk management, cost management, contract administration, human behaviour, management competences, change control and claims and variations. Our project management experts are experienced in the Prince 2, MSP, PMI, APM and PMBOK methods and frameworks. The project management expert witness should be able to articulate an opinion clearly and persuasively, and our team is very strong in this discipline. Please contact us to discuss your project management expert witness needs further.
Technical Contract Compliance
Technical contract compliance disputes often stem from poor requirements definition, incomplete development, system engineering, indequate process and workflow evolution, and insufficient prototyping and testing. Our experts are familiar with a range of technologies in a number of different engineering and high technology industries. In our experience the appointment of an expert witness early, or even before a dispute process, can bring quick resolution. This does not necessarily mean a formal expert determination, even a fresh pair of eyes overviewing the situation can bring a more rational and balanced approach to discussions between the parties. We are comfortable at dealing with dispute at any stage of a technology project relationship and in particular with contracts with a high technical content. We're happy to discuss your engineering or high technology expert witness requirements further; please make contact.
The telecommunications sector continues to evolve rapidly. Our expertise in this domain includes equipment design, network design and deployment, synchronisation and timing, facility design and construction, international standards compliance, associated IT systems including element and network management, incident root cause analysis, and product failure. Specific technologies include SDH, PDH, ATM, Frame Relay, IP, satellite, submarine, mobile, telecoms equipment room, meet-me room, laser safety, automatic laser shutdown, cable landing station and telecoms regulation. Our expertise extends to all aspects of synchronisation and timing including caesium, rubidium, quartz, GPS, derived timing, holdover sources, network priority settings, pointer adjustment, GPS interference and jamming, jitter and wander, and failure mode analysis.
Over time and with the growing focus on the application layer, in-house knowledge has reduced, and even within equipment vendors knowledge has been outsourced. When failures occur and disputes arise, the absence of broad understanding about the background, context, technologies and facts of the matter can mean the situation quickly escalates. Contact us to discuss your specific telecoms expert witness requirements.