Recent News and Articles

James Beckwith
Friday, December 23, 2022
Welcome to our recent news pages.  Here you will find our latest news and articles that we have produced from time to time.  Each item is identified by the date it was published and the name of the author.  In addition, you can search using keywords.  Some articles will allow you to post comments, so look out for the "Post a comment" link (especially in Jim's Rants).  We hope you will find this part of the web site useful and informative.  Do contact us if you have any ideas or suggestions for future articles. 
  • Mensura Finalists

    Thursday, May 4, 2023 | James Beckwith | 1 min read
    <RGU Accelerator

    Mensura is delighted to have been selected with 8 other organisations to make presentations at the RGU Start Up Accelerator programme final.

    James Beckwith, Director, who has led the initiative, said, "It is really good to have our efforts recognised.  We are excited about appearing in Aberdeen and are looking forward to making our presentation.  Our thanks to our mentor, Sally Charles, for her patient diplomacy in steering us through the programme and getting us ship-shape for the big day." 

    The Start Up Accelerator programme is an initiative of Robert Gordon University that helps small new businesses to develop and promote their products and services.  The final is being held at the One Tech Hub in Aberdeen on 11 May 2023.


  • Mensura and the RGU Start Up Accelerator

    Thursday, March 30, 2023 | James Beckwith | 3 min read
    <RGU Accelerator

    Celebrating the fifth year of the acclaimed business development programme, 2023's RGU Startup Accelerator programme was open exclusively to RGU students and alumni within five years of graduation.

    The application process for this year’s programme was as competitive as ever with new enquiries still incoming now despite applications closing in December. Following the deadline, the Accelerator boot camp was held in mid-January, during which our final teams were selected to officially join the programme starting later that month.

    Each cohort participant will benefit from five months of business training and support; at least £2,000 in equity-free seed funding with thousands more up for grabs during the programme; mentorship; and free city centre co-working space.

    During the process, all start-ups are supported in their growth by ourselves in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group (EIG) where they can explore their innovations further by testing assumptions; conducting market research; undertaking business model analysis; and working on their ever-important financials. Perhaps most exciting, the team will also be helping them to prepare their pitch for this year’s showcase event, taking place next month on Thursday 11 May at the Sandman Hotel in Aberdeen.

    Early-stage ideas in this year’s programme range from generative artificial intelligence to an asylum seeker support organisation.

    More information



  • We call it "Safe Aerial Data Collection" for a reason

    Sunday, March 5, 2023 | Douglas Beckwith | 1 min read
    <aerial data collectionsafetydrones

    You may have read the reports that Mark Bagguley, 49, has narrowly avoided jail-time after he flew his drone dangerously close to a military plane while a no-fly zone was in place.   


  • Arbiter

    Evaluative Mediation suits the Construction Industry

    Friday, March 3, 2023 | Douglas Beckwith | 3 min read
    <dispute resolutionmediationADR

    Evaluative mediation is a type of mediation where the mediator exerts the most control throughout the mediation and is the most vocal about the positions of the parties and their offers.  An evaluative mediator will offer opinions on the strengths and weaknesses of the parties and control how and when the parties interact.  This mediation process tends to work well if there is an uneven power dynamic in the mediation, such as in many construction contracts and sub-contracts.  This allows the mediator to drive the conversation to focus on the important issues and what the parties need.  Evaluative mediation is modeled after settlement conferences held by judges and is the oldest and original style of mediation.  Unlike facilitative mediators, evaluative mediators not only control procedure but also the outcome of the mediation


  • Lawyers Managing Projects? Thought it couldn't be done?

    Thursday, March 2, 2023 | Douglas Beckwith | 3 min read
    <legal project management

    • Fixed fees are here and a new costs regime applies – the costs of litigation will need to be predicted in advance and clients’ budgets managed like never before.
    • Good costs management requires the application of good project management skills and methods to ensure costs are predictable and outturn costs do not exceed the budget.
    • We can show you how to use project management techniques to manage your legal projects efficiently and effectively.


  • Arbiter

    Can I really design my own dispute resolution system?

    Tuesday, February 28, 2023 | Douglas Beckwith | 2 min read
    <dispute resolutionEDR

    • Executive Dispute Resolution (EDR) is a new, structured, approach to resolving business conflict at the project level by harnessing the commercial acumen of senior managers.
    • Successful EDR leads to a commercially realistic, robust and legally binding settlement without the disadvantages that traditional mediation and adjudication procedures provide.
    • EDR allows you to control the outcome (and the costs) of negotiations rather than have decisions imposed upon you by a Judge or an Adjudicator.


  • Arbiter

    Need to get paid but don't want to rock the boat?

    February 28, 2023 | Douglas Beckwith | 3 min read
    <mediationcash flowdispute resolution

    • The success rate of mediation at resolving claims is good – typically more than 70% settling in a day – and it preserves business relationships.
    • Mediation allows you to control the outcome of negotiations rather than have decisions imposed upon you by a Judge or an Adjudicator.
    • Mediation allows you to control the cost of settling your claim and frequently results in faster payment.


  • Extracts from Jim's Blog Archive

    Wednesday, February 22, 2023 | James Beckwith | 25 min read
    <Construction CostsBIMTeamwork

    A couple of months ago I looked at the rising costs in the construction industry, I wanted to follow this up to see how things are progressing.  Energy costs are an important issue affecting construction material production in addition to supply chain constraints due to the conflict in Ukraine.  I wanted to explore how this conflict has affected construction costs, main findings include:

    • In early 2022 material price escalation was falling from the pandemic highs in 2021, however the conflict in Ukraine has come pushed prices back up.
    • Materials that are energy intensive to produce are showing increases, materials such as cement, concrete, bricks, plastic pipes, insulation etc…
    • Pre-pandemic cost of energy for the production of materials accounted for between 20/30% of the production cost.  This percentage cost will increase especially in Europe where energy has been dependant on Russian supplies.
    • There has been a reliance on Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian steel in European supply chains.

    Download Article


  • Consultant On Line

    Are Online Businesses more Sustainable?

    Friday, February 17, 2023 | James Beckwith | 2 min read

    In the UK in 2020 the Construction industry was responsible for 110 tonnesof CO2 emissions per £1m spent.  Or, to put it another way, almost 58% of emissions from the industries studied.  With the Governments drive towards NetZero by 20502 an understanding of how our actions impact the environment is more important than ever.  Of this 110t of CO2 Professional Services were responsible for 10 tonnes3 of CO2 emissions per £1m spent.

    E-Commerce has been given a bad rap for environmental issues leading to an increase is packaging and an increase in carbon costs due to travel and logistics, Byrd have commended that 2bn tons of waste end up in landfills worldwide annually4  so understanding where our waste goes is important to avoid it ending up in the great pacific garbage patch.  Taking a services business online however means your business has great potential to reduce carbon emissions and waste.

    If we look back to 2020, when the pandemic was in full swing offices around the country closed.  In England whilst many sites closed, the construction industry was nonetheless encouraged to continue its operations.5  Thus business continued amidst the global reduction in carbon emissions due to less travel and offices being shut for varying periods.  Nature comment that in this period daily carbon emissions reduced by 17%.  Permanently taking your service provision online helps to support the ongoing reduction of carbon emissions.

    Mensura’s unique service centre means that the services are delivered in a paperless environment.  A Study by Multibriefs has shown that cost of printing in office space is typically USD $80/person.  Mensura save this cost leading to lower overheads, which are passed on to you together with lower carbon emissions and waste - all of which supports our drive to NetZero.

    The British Business Bank has undertaken research that shows that SME’s account for half of commercial driven emissions6.  Mensura’s unique on-line offering means we are playing our part in reducing the the amount of carbon associated with engaging professional services.

    Mensura services are delivered in a collaborative digital environment whereby these carbon emissions are reduced and travel when necessary is undertaken in the most efficient manner possible using public transport  the cost of which is covered by our overhead but the carbon benefit is captured in your projects.


    [1] Office for National Statistics, Atmospheric emissions:  greenhouse gas emissions intensity by industry, Accessed Jan 2023,

    [2] UK Government, Review of NetZero,,burdens%20on%20businesses%20or%20consumers. Accessed Jan 2023
    [3] Office for National Statistics, Atmospheric emissions:  greenhouse gas emissions intensity by industry, Accessed Jan 2023,
    [4] Byrd, The impact of growing e-commerce on the environment,, accessed Jan 2023.
    [5] UK Government, Letter to those working int eh construction industry,, Accessed Jan 2023
    [6] The British Business Bank, Smaller Business and Transition to Net Zero,, Accessed Jan 2023.


  • RGU Accelerator

    Mensura joins RGU Start Up Accelerator Programme

    February 8, 2023 | James Beckwith | 1 min read

    Mensura is delighted to be invited to participate in the Robert Gordon University Entrepreneur Innovation Group Start Up Accelerator.  The EIG Start Up is a business development programme where businesses are offered training on the skills necessary to accelerate their start up journey. 

    Director James Beckwith said, "This demonstrates our offering is something that the market should respond to and we are delighted to have access to the skills to help shape and grow our business with the EIG Team.

    In our application the judges commented that our online deconstructed fixed fee offer was “an Interesting proposition” and that this “would be a strong team to deliver this concept.”

    If you are interested in finding out more about our offer or the work that we are doing with the RGU EIG group please contact us.



  • Jacques Derrida

    ChatGPT and Deconstruction

    Monday, February 6, 2023 | Douglas Beckwith | 2 min read

    There has been a lot of chat about ChatGPT (pardon the pun) of late so I thought I would try it out using our principles of deconstruction for professional services.

    I posed the question, "Explain how Jacques Derrida's principles of deconstruction can be applied to the delivery of professional services."  This is what it said,

    "Jacques Derrida's principles of deconstruction involves questioning and disrupting traditional binary oppositions (such as self/other, presence/absence) and hierarchical relationships within a text or cultural artifact. In professional services, this means examining and challenging dominant power dynamics and biases in the delivery of services. Deconstruction can lead to more equitable and inclusive practices by foregrounding marginalized perspectives and addressing power imbalances. By deconstructing assumptions and hegemonic ideologies, professional services can be more critically reflective and provide more nuanced and culturally sensitive solutions."

    I like to think that we say much the same thing but in straightforward terms.  If you are interested in deconstruction principles to improve service delivery then please contact us, we will be happy to talk to you.



  • Golden Years

    Wednesday, February 1, 2023 | Douglas Beckwith | 2 min read

    This month marks the 50th anniversary of my starting work in the construction industry as a quantity surveyor.  I joined Piper and Richardson in Holborn, London in the days when we still measured Bills of Quantities in feet and inches, there were no calculators and I got very good at “squaring” dimensions, “abstracting” and “billing”.

    I have seen a lot of change in 50 years yet despite all our achievements as an industry many of the attitudes that prevailed in the 1970's still exist today.  I have also seen 4 recessions impact the industry and learned how to get through them.  I have embraced change throughout and was an early adopter of technology; writing code in Basic for measuring drainage, as I recall.  A long way from CostX and BIM of today!

    Most importantly I have met lots of people.  Some were kind and helpful.  Some were not.  (Though I'm not sure whether being called a "terrorist" by the MD of Gatwick Airport Limited helped or hindered my career!).  There are so many people that I could mention but here are a few that I am most grateful to: Donald Richardson FRICS, Clifford Beard FRICS MBE, Colin Dove FRICS, Stan Hornagold FRICS, David Baker, David Needham FRICS, Jo Stringer, Doug Jones and most of all John Lowry FAIQS.  Thank you all.

    I hope that in turn I too have assisted others along the way and I have always shared my skills and knowledge freely.  Those I have worked with and trained and those whom I have counselled through their APC to corporate membership of the RICS will know who they are.  My advice to young persons entering the industry today?  Know what you want.  Set your goals.  Surround yourself with good people.  Work hard.  Be resilient.

    Many of my contemporaries have now retired.  Some are no longer with us.  But I am not yet ready to hang up the scale rule.

    Whilst I will continue to gently pursue my interests in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution (something I have been doing since 1988), I shall also be working with James Beckwith FRICS to develop Mensura Limited – a new concept in quantity surveying.  Mensura has successfully “deconstructed” quantity surveying and formulated a new way of offering professional services putting Clients back in control of their projects and achieving cost savings on traditionally based lump sum fees.  Come and see how we are doing it at

    I doubt that I will make another 50 years but however long I have left in the industry, it’s going to be a blast!

    I couldn’t end without paying homage to my wife, Sue, who has endured these long years with me.  And of course my children whom I told to avoid both construction and law in their future careers - they are: the one that became a construction lawyer, the one that became a quantity surveyor, the one that married a quantity surveyor and the one that became an environmental lawyer. 



  • Kaizen

    Tuesday, January 24, 2023 | James Beckwith | 3 min read

    Mensura have sought to deconstruct the service offering and provide only the elements of the QS service that our target market (SME Developers and Contractors) need.  We have done this by a process of analysis.  We have looked to understand what elements of the QS service do clients need and how can we offer them a service that responds to this need.
    We provide the full range of services and can operate as a QS on a project in a ‘traditional’ way but our uniqueness comes from the fact that a client can take back control of their spend, understand what they need and only buy what they therefore need to complete their project with the knowledge they have support of a chartered surveyor providing them with the advice that they need to finish the job.  It is in this manner that we have sought to element the waste in the process for the client.
    We have done this by applying lean principles or   Kaizen principles.  Kaizen is a Japanese business philosophy that is concerned with the process that continuously improves.  Key aspects include quality control, standardization of work, efficient use of equipment and elimination of waste.[1]

    [1] What is Kaizen,,What%20Is%20Kaizen%3F,operations%20and%20involve%20all%20employees., Accessed Jan 2023


  • Mensura Logo

    Mensura Soft Launch!

    Monday, January 9, 2023 | James Beckwith | 1 min read

    Mensura today opens its doors for business.  Having spent the last few weeks getting things ready, Mensura's unique range of "deconstructed" quantity surveying and other services are now available to Client and project teams.

    Director, James Beckwith, says, 

    "Putting together the services on-line has been a quick process but one carried out under fairly tight deadlines nonetheless.  We are proud that we have managed to get into the market place quickly and we will take the time now to refine and improve our service offering throughout 2023.  We have produced a revolution in the way that professional services are accessed.  We expect to see many of our competitors follow suit and copy our example.  We are pleased to be leaders in this new way of working which will provide economies for SME Developers and Contractors."

    Check back frequently to see how we are getting on...


  • Deconstructed Professional Services

    Wednesday, December 28, 2022 | Douglas Beckwith | 1 min read

    If you’ve ever seen the term “deconstructed” it is likely to have been associated with cookery.  In that context, deconstruction involves the idea of taking the components of a certain dish and breaking them apart so they are being served in a different and unique way.

    But don’t panic because it’s a lot simpler than it sounds.  The concept of deconstruction is not a new one in culinary terms and a lot of people enjoy dishes that follow this trend without even realising it.

    So how does one apply this method to professional services?

    The term “deconstruction” was originally popularized by the French philosopher, Jacques Derrida.  In cuisine, deconstruction involves taking complex dishes, or dishes that have complex instructions, and simplify them by isolating or breaking apart their components.  The dish is eaten in a whole new way.  Consider, for example, a typical recipe for beef stew, then think about isolating the beef, vegetables and potatoes, and liquid and serving these ingredients in an unconventional way.

    This is what Mensura has done to professional services within the construction industry.  We have started with our own discipline, quantity surveying, and intend over time to apply the deconstruction principle to all construction related professional services.  In this way, we have created a business model that takes a service and converts it into bite sized chunks that clients can more easily understand and can buy as required for controlling their development projects and contracts.

    Like a deconstructed recipe, deconstructed services simplify the construction process and enable you to reconstruct the service in the way you choose.

    Mensura, the Heston Bluementhal of Quantity Surveying!



  • Mensura Logo

    Businesses merge to form Mensura

    Tuesday, November 22, 2022 | Douglas Beckwith | 1 min read

    Mensura Limited, was today incorporated in England and Wales as a limited company.  Mensura builds on the previous businesses of its Principals and the work carried out by Beckwith Dispute Resolution (formerly Beckwith Mediation) and Beckwith Surveying.

    Beckwith Mediation was established in 2013 by Douglas Beckwith to provide alternative dispute resolution services to the construction industry and its clients.  Beckwith Surveying was established to provide quantity surveying services to SME developers and contractors.

    Mensura now brings these two work streams together in the one company.  It adopts a new way of providing consulting services, namely, in a "deconstructed" manner.  This means that Clients retain greater control over their consultant appointments requesting services only be carried out when they require them and saving fees overall on a given project.

    Director, Douglas Beckwith, says, 

    "This is an exciting new way to provide consulting services.  One day all consultancies will operate like this.   Services are self contained and easily purchased through our e-store.  Once ordered, we provide and support our work through our Service Centre, which operates a bit like a help desk.  It also contains a growing database of articles that enable Clients to "self-help" and rely less on asking their consultants questions, which would otherwise add to the cost of professional fees."



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