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Appropriate conflict resolution in major EPC projects: legal and engineering challenges

Context and aim
Disputes arising from EPC projects are usually complex and expensive. The best way to resolve disputes is to avoid their occurrence in the first place by inter alia drafting a clear specification, implementing an effective project management plan and adhering to the project plan together with effective contract management. However, this is not always sufficient and disputes can nonetheless arise. Although this is something where engineers do not feel themselves at ease, their involvement in the resolution is non neglectable. The conference will highlight the role engineers can play in multi-tier dispute resolution procedures (litigation, arbitration, adjudication and mediation). The following early identification methods will be highlighted: Conflict Avoidance Panels (CAP), Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE), project based Dispute Board (DB) and Evaluative Mediation. Finally, the ICC Dispute Board Rules will be explained with a focus on the role of engineers.

Target Group
This event is intended for consulting engineers, project directors, project managers, construction managers, expert-witnesses, dispute resolution board members, arbitrators, claim managers, in-house legal counsels, lawyers specialized in construction etc. acting on national and international projects involving civil works, infrastructure, industrial plants, equipment, and other endeavors related to engineering, covering the complete project cycle from front-end engineering till commissioning, acceptance and hand-over.


18:30: registration with sandwiches and coffee
19:00: welcome
Introduction by prof. Dr. ir. Didier De Buyst, coordinator of the event: “Project uncertainty, project risk and allocation of that risk” (max. 10 minutes)

Interactive lectures chaired by Ms. Vera van Houtte
Each presentation takes approx. 35 minutes incl. debate with other speakers :

•    “Procurement processes and forms which provide co-operation and good faith be-havior” by Mr Luc Imbrechts
•    “Early identification of potential for claim and dealing with it albeit on an interim basis” by Mark Castell
•    “Workable multi-tier dispute resolution procedures” by prof. Dr. Benoît Kohl
•    “The ICC Dispute Board Rules: cost, speed, enforceability, flexibility, degree of control etc.” Dr. Herman Verbist

•    Conclusion by Ms. Vera van Houtte with Q&A by attendees (approx. 30 minutes)
22:00: adjourn

All documentation will be made available in English. Q&A: Dutch, French and English.

Coordinator - Chairwoman - Speakers

Didier De Buyst is Civil Engineer (M.Sc. in Engineering) from Ghent University where he obtained his PhD. He is an alumnus of INSEAD and he also obtained degrees in corporate finance and negotia-tion from the Vlerick Business School and the Harvard Business School. Since more than 25 years he acts as independent court surveyor in industrial claims for Belgian and Luxembourgian tribunals and courts and also for international commercial arbitration institutions. Since 2013 he is certified mediator in civil and commercial matters. In dispute resolution Didier De Buyst always tries to keep a keen eye on the business relying on his board room experience, mainly in Belgacom where he was at the board of directors from 1996 till 2006 and in the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre since 2009 where he is also member of the financial committee. At the same time he also pursues an academic career at the Hasselt University where he is visiting professor at the architecture faculty and at the business economics faculty. Didier De Buyst is also member of the board of directors and treasurer of ie-net Society of Engineers.

Chairwoman of the lectures
Vera van Houtte is a Belgian lawyer, specialised in construction and engineering, industrial projects, public procurement, and energy law. Between obtaining her law degree from the University of Leuven and her LL.M. degree at Harvard, she worked briefly as a legal advisor to the Belgian Contractors’ Association. Upon her return from the United States she worked during 10 years at the NY and Brussels offices of an American law firm. She joined the Brussels bar in 1979 and was a partner at Stibbe from 1989 till 2013 where she headed the construction and energy law department and ad-vised i.a. the Belgian and European Consulting Engineers’ Associations. She is active in international arbitration since more than 35 years, first as counsel, later also as arbitrator, handling cases (both commercial, among which many construction disputes, and investment cases) under a variety of arbitration rules (ICC, ICSID, LCIA, DIAC, UNCITRAL, Arbitration Institute of the Finnish and of the Hungarian Chambers of Commerce, Cepani…) Since retiring from Stibbe, she acts exclusively as an international arbitrator. She is a Belgian member of the ICSID (World Bank) Panel of Arbitrators, a board member of Cepani, a member of the ICCA Governing Board and of the ICC-Dispute Resolution Services Governing Body and sits on the Appointing Committee of the Deutsche Institution für Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit. She is a former Vice-President of the ICC Court of Arbitration and of the London Court of International Arbitration. She was a member of the Steering Committee of W87 - Task Force on Liability and Insurance of CIB (Comité International du Bâtiment) (1986 - 2000), of the first ICC Working Group on Construction Arbitration (1998-2001), of the Board of Directors of the American Arbitration Association (2009 – 2016), of the Board of Trustees of the Dubai International Arbitration Centre (2012 – 2014), and of the Board of Directors of the Belgian Association of Con-struction Law (BVBR-ABDC 2012-2015), a Vice-Chair of the “International Construction Projects” Committee of the International Bar Association (1999 - 2001) and chairman of the Cepani Working Group on arbitration and construction law (2003 – 2005). She has published several articles in Belgium and abroad, on construction law and on arbitration and was i.a. the author of the chapter on construction contracts in successive editions of Kluwer’s Commentary of Belgian Civil Code (articles 1787 - 1799): Construction and Service Contracts, which was eventually published as a book (co-authored with Benoît Kohl): De Aannemingsovereenkomst – De bepalingen van het Burgerlijk Wetboek – Artikelsgewijze Bespreking, Kluwer, 2012.

Luc Imbrechts graduated lic. Iur. from KU Leuven, lic. European law at ULBrussels and LL.M. at the University of Illinois (USA). Following a career as CLO at the Jan De Nul Group (18 years), he set up his proper legal consultancy firm in 2009. He advises world-wide employers, engineers, main and sub-contractors on public and private infrastructure projects mainly on- and offshore as well as oil & gas or durable energy projects. Services encompass the drafting of tender documents, negotiating bespoke Fidic, Logic, Bimco e.a. such contracts, contractual correspondence, dispute adjudication procedures and arbitration. Luc Imbrechts is secretary to the Belgian Society for Construction Law since 2011.

Benoît Kohl (PhD Liège, LLM Cambridge) is a professor at the law faculty of the Université de Liège, where he heads a department dealing with the law of obligations and contract law. He also contributes to the training of the applicant legal experts. Since 2010, he is also a guest lecturer at the Université de Paris II (Panthéon Assas) where he teaches European and international construction law. Benoît Kohl is also an attorney at the Brussels Bar. He concentrates on real estate law and construction law in general. Besides negotiating agreements, drawing up legal advices and structuring operations in these matters, he has also successfully dealt with various disputes before judicial courts and in arbitrational procedures. Benoît Kohl is the Co-President of the Belgian Construction Law Society (, and was elected as Co-President of the European Society of Construction law ( in 2011 and 2012. Between 2012 and 2018, he was also the Co-President of Cepani40. He is currently a member of the board of directors of Cepani. Benoît is regularly invited as a speaker at conferences. He has published various articles, notably regarding construction law, and among other a book « Contrat d’entreprise » (Bruylant, 2016). He is also a member of the editorial staff of several Belgian legal journals and has won four scientific awards, including the BVS Award (Beroepsvereniging van de Vastgoedsector, professional association of the real estate sector) and the Jean Rey 2010 Award, which he received at the European Parliament, for his dissertation “Droit de la construction et de la promotion en Europe” (Bruylant, 2008).

Herman Verbist (Lic.Iur. KU Leuven; PhD University of Ghent) is a lawyer at the Bars of Ghent and Brussels. Since 1998, his activity focuses primarily on arbitration and alternative dispute resolution. He has worked as counsel at the Secretariat of the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris (1988-1996). He has taught, as a visiting professor, the course on international commercial arbitration at the University of Ghent (1996-2013). He has acted as arbitrator in more than 70 national and international arbitrations as counsel, sole arbitrator, chairman of the arbitral tribunal, co-arbitrator, or expert, and has also acted as adjudicator. He is a member of the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR (since 1996), member of the Board of CEPANI (since 2001), member of the ADR Commission of the Flemish Bar Association (OVB) (since 2004) and president of the arbitrators of the Belgian Court of Arbitration for Sport (since 2016). He is a member of numerous international arbitration associations and registered as arbitrator on the list of arbitrators of several arbitration institutions worldwide, including CAS, LCIA,VIAC, ICDR, HKIAC, SIAC, AIAC, KCAB. He is author or co-author of more than 150 articles in numerous Belgian and foreign legal periodicals and of more than 20 books in the field of arbitration and alternative dispute resolution, i.a. Verbist/Schäfer/Imhoos, “ICC Arbitration in Practice”, Second Revised Edition (Kluwer Law International/Stämpfli, 2016). He is a member of the editorial committee of several periodicals in the field of arbitration and alternative dispute resolution: “Tijdschrift voor arbitrage”, “Nederlands-Vlaams Tijdschrift voor Mediation en Conflictmanagement”, “b-Arbitra”. He is an accredited mediator (Belgian Federal Mediation Commission, since 2008), and he has been appointed as a mediator in several mediations.

Mark Castell is a Chartered Quantity Surveyor (Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) with an MBA from Manchester Business School. He is employed as a Regional Managing Director within the construction and engineering consultancy company Driver Trett and has been based in the Netherlands for the last 15 years. Mark has over 30 years of experience of dealing with commercial and contractual issues on construction and engineering projects from both a dispute avoidance and dispute resolution perspective. He regularly advises clients on pre- and post-contract commercial and risk management, acts as contract and/or claims manager, advises clients on how to manage change on projects (i.e. variations and claims) and prepares claims and defenses to claims. He has been appointed as expert witness on both delay and quantum matters more than 20 times and has given written and verbal evidence in arbitrations and court proceedings on disputes in Europe, Africa, North America and in the Middle East. Mark has also undertaken expert determination, is an experienced provider of training on contract and commercial management and regularly speaks at events and conferences.

Contact & info

Christine Mortelmans
ie-net ingenieursvereniging vzw
Tel: 032600863


ORI - Organisatie van advies-en ingenieursbureaus
CEPANI - Het Belgisch Centrum voor Arbitrage en Mediatie
ICC Belgium - International Chamber of Commerce
05/06/2019 Van: 18u30 tot 22u00
Het Ingenieurshuis Desguinlei 214 2018 Antwerpen

€  280 for non-members
€ 196 for individual members ie-net
€ 196 for ie-net partners (corporate members)
€ 196 for members ICC Belgium | CEPANI | BVBR-ABDC | ORI | FABI | Driver Trett


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