Thornton Tomasetti buys MFD Security Consulting
The entity was previously affiliated with MFD International, which was acquired by Thornton Tomasetti in 2018.
With the transaction, which was undisclosed, Heng Jiang Cheng, former director of MFD Security Consulting, joins Thornton Tomasetti as associate director and security services lead for the region.
Specializing in physical, operational and technical security services for the built environment, MFD has designed counter-terrorist measures for a number of high-profile, high-risk facilities throughout Australia.
These include the development of hostile vehicle mitigation programs at Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station (pictured), Federation Square and the Melbourne and Olympic Parks, blast assessment for the Sydney Metro project, and security design for crowded and public spaces in Brisbane and Queensland’s Gold Coast.
"In teaming up with Thornton Tomasetti, our clients will now have a single point of contact for specialty security services and a range of engineering disciplines for addressing their needs at any stage in a structure’s lifecycle," said Cheng. "MFD’s expertise, along with an extensive background in crash and blast testing, fits in especially well with Thornton Tomasetti’s capabilities in physical security analysis, advice and design.”
Thornton Tomasetti’s European and Australia Region Leader Phillip Thompson described MFD’s experience in managing the design and implementation of highly effective security solutions, combined with Thornton Tomasetti’s pedigree in the defence and security space, as "a compelling offering".
The acquisition extends Thornton Tomasetti’s reach in the Australian market by capitalizing on MFD’s previous exposure to UK government-funded vehicle crash testing and research programs.
The firm’s experience in the region also includes protective design services for the Sydney Opera House, Australian Federal Parliament, Parliament of New South Wales and Victoria and official residences of heads of state in Australia and Southeast Asia.
Contractor issues head disputes list in 2020: Arcadis report
The average value of disputes globally rose from $30.7 million in 2019 to $54.26 million in 2020, while the length of disputes fell from 15 months in 2019 to 13.4 months, according to an Arcadis report.
The data, featured in Arcadis' 11th annual report, illustrates industry-wide ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic although interestingly the overall volume of disputes stayed relatively the same in 2020 as in 2019.
While trends in the value and length of disputes varied from region to region, all regions surveyed saw an increase in "mega disputes" related to bigger capital programs and private projects. Notably, more than 60% of survey respondents encountered project impacts due to COVID-19.
Owners, contractors, or subcontractors failing to understand and/or comply with their contractual obligations became the leading cause of construction disputes in 2020 (jumping from 3rd place in 2019), followed by owner-directed changes and third-party or force-majeure changes as the second and third-leading causes, respectively.
Highlights from the report include:
- Proper contract administration was a theme across the globe for the successful and early resolution of disputes
- Most disputes were settled through party-to-party negotiation, and a willingness to compromise played a key role in early resolution
- Among regions surveyed, the buildings (education, healthcare, retail/commercial, government) sector saw the most disputes
- In North America, construction dispute value rose from $18.8 million in 2019 to $37.9 million in 2020, while the length of disputes shortened from 17.6 to 14.2 months.
While cost and length have changed since 2019, risk management was still seen as the most effective claims avoidance tactic, while owner/contractor willingness to compromise was once again the top-ranked factor for the mitigation/early resolution of disputes.
"COVID-19 irrevocably changed every industry," said Roy Cooper, head of contract solutions for Arcadis North America. "Construction disputes experts will have to continue to adapt, even post-pandemic, as workforce expectations, climate events and government infrastructure funding change how projects are designed and contracted in the future."
The research presented in the report was compiled by Arcadis based on survey responses, global construction disputes the team handled in 2020 and contributions from industry experts.