David Ashworth

Role: Associate Director
Office location: Aldwych, London
Joined the team: October 2020

Why Base?
I decided I needed a change of career path and was yearning to work for a larger, specialist, highly-regarded consultancy. I wanted to be exposed to bigger, international projects and disputes and become part of a diverse team, with a great mix of different ages and backgrounds. Base ticked all the boxes and is somewhere I am confident I can prosper and quickly realise my remaining career goals.

What were you doing prior to joining Base / previous experience?
For the past 14 years I owned a small but successful consultancy business, specialising in contractual advice and dispute resolution. Over my 33-year career I have gained substantial experience as a senior commercial, contract and claims consultant, handling all manner of construction projects. I have held commercial lead roles at two large contracting organisations, being solely responsible for the commercial function of each business. This included overseeing recruitment, buying, estimating and procurement, as well as developing and improving commercial disciplines, procedures, standard forms and templates. I was also highly regarded for mentoring and training junior commercial staff. 

What about your new role is most exciting for you?
Being exposed to bigger disputes, working with new people and being able to guide and train younger team members.

How do you see the industry changing over the next 5 years?
I believe we will see many more developments in technology, methods of construction and procurement.

Do you have an accomplishment that has shaped your career?
There hasn’t been one particular accomplishment, I have just enjoyed working as a contractual expert and in a quasi-legal capacity.

What is your biggest non-career-based accomplishment and how did it impact you?
Doing a eulogy at my father’s funeral. It meant so much to me, my family and especially my mother; it was one of, if not the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced or mistake you’ve made throughout your career and what did you learn from it?
I don’t really consider that I’ve been faced with any significant challenges as I don’t let work challenges phase me. In a way, the larger the challenge, the more motivated and committed I am. Although I have faced many challenges during my 3 decades in the industry, I still consider that, as professionals, we constantly learn and evolve to suit.

What are your areas of expertise?
Dispute resolution, contract and procurement, quantity surveying, and delay and disruption.

What skills and qualities do you feel you bring to Base?
Extensive all-round commercial experience, adaptable to change, a great communicator and very approachable. I am also very contractually astute and able to resolve almost any contractual difficulty or problematic dispute.

I don’t let work challenges phase me. In a way, the larger the challenge, the more motivated and committed I am. Although I have faced many challenges during my 3 decades in the industry, I still consider that, as professionals, we constantly learn and evolve to suit.

What would you like to achieve in your first year at Base?
The sky’s the limit!

What are your career aspirations for the future?
To become a very well-regarded practicing adjudicator and expert witness.

If you were provided a soapbox to talk for 5 minutes on any industry-related topic, what would it be and why?
I would probably talk about the importance of seeking to achieve as near-perfect procurement as possible. It is a fact that many projects are prolonged and made more complex and challenging simply because of inadequate procurement and drafting – to coin a phrase: ‘it’s not rocket science’.

What advice would you give to those starting in the industry today?
I would recommend doing a full time diploma in Building & Civil Engineering. It provides a very good general understanding of the industry.

What motivates you?
Challenges, resolving other people’s problems, development, success, and opportunity.

Do you have any hobbies?
Fishing, football (management and spectating), dog walking and moaning!

Favourite book or film and why?
The Life of Brian – it always makes me laugh.

How would your family and friends describe you?
(Hopefully) devoted, honest and caring, but also too negative (I blame it on the football team that I follow!)
 

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