About experts, icebergs, ocean liners, and hot air balloons

When is expert not an expert? When is expert nothing more than a pretender? I will explain via analogy.

A true expert is someone with approved course of study and extensive experience, foremost in the field and among peers. Its a bit like a cruise liner, substantial tertiary qualifications above water line and matched by equally substantial experience below water line. A Titanic if you like.

I a recent VCAT case I was giving expert evidence and opposing expert had extensive and impressive building experience (a lot like mine) but no relevant tertiary qualifications. He was educated allright but how is a diploma in education relevant to building. So in my view he was an iceberg, substantial volume under water line but hardly anything on top.

In the dust up, my evidence prevailed, on this occasion iceberg melted away and Titanic safely delivered.

Then you have hot air balloons, pretenders that have very little of substance but behave as if they are the experts. They will offer you cheaper service, take your money ant tell you to find another bus when the going gets tough. Over the years I had many people come to me when the experts they engaged could not deliver. So what do you do?

Look carefully at relevant qualifications. How is an expert with no qualifications in building surveying going to interpret building legislation and standards? Without formal qualifications expert opinion is nothing more than inadmissible lay opinion.

Then look at track record

I am well aware of my own limitations, I am not an engineer and cannot have expert opinion on engineering matters, and I don’t.

Its important to know what you know, its even more important to know what you don’t.

If your expert is not upfront with qualifications and experience, keep walking.

If your expert has no track record, keep walking

Mission statement is no substitute for qualifications


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