Edge Consult’s newest Partner, Raja Flora, recently celebrated his 1 year anniversary with the company. His return to the UK from Dubai was made even more challenging thanks to Covid-19. However, Raja is now fully embedded back into life in the UK and has been instrumental in helping many of Edge Consult’s clients navigate through these difficult pandemic months. Here he reflects over his first year at the company:

Raja Flora

First year not only at a new company but also back in the UK AND during a global pandemic… how have you personally found the last 12 months?

It has been great being back in the UK. The pace of life is a bit slower, which took some getting used to. Oh and the cold weather, that was a shock to the system! But working from home was fine as I’d experienced it in the UAE, thank goodness for Zoom and Microsoft Teams!

What attracted you to joining Edge Consult?

I have worked for some of the biggest dispute resolution consultancy companies in the past, and with Edge Consult I saw a team of experts in their roles. Each Partner is highly skilled and highly dedicated, with great experience in the industry. The fact that all the Partners provide their full support to clients (i.e. you get Raj Flora, not a junior doing the work with my name stamped on it) was a company ethos that I admired and was drawn too. Everyone gets stuck into client work and is involved from day one.

How does the construction industry differ between the UK and Dubai? Do you see similar contractual issues or are clients’ needs quite different?

The UAE has been rapidly expanding and is continuing to see significant constructional growth. Therefore, the size of the projects is a significant difference. However, the project delays on both sides of the world are similar. They’ve been hit with the same Covid-19 obstacles that the UK market has with materials shortages and delays, price hikes, and staffing issues. Another fundamental difference is the type of contracts used in the UK and those used in the UAE.

It’s been 16 years since working in the UK, was it easy to slot back into the UK construction industry or have you found it has changed considerably?

Having been away from the UK for such a long time, my network here when I came back was limited. I found that side of business a challenge as many of my old connections have either retired or no longer work in the industry. Therefore, trying to get a network of contacts and building on my professional connections has taken some work.

Raja Flora

Covid, shortage of materials, lack of skilled workers… how have you been supporting your clients navigate this tricky time?

It has been a tricky time for a lot of companies in construction and we’ve helped clients by reacting when necessary and also placing a key emphasis on planning! We’ve encouraged our clients to spend more time at the planning stage to ensure they cover all bases and provide protection contractually for these obstacles as best as possible. We help clients to understand how the contracts impact them whether that’s how they are protected or how they could be at risk. Inevitably some of our clients have experienced issues and we’ve been able to support them by acting fast to get these situations into an amicable state or in some cases, resolved fully without having to go down long legal battles. We have always advocated an early approach to dealing with any potential issues and by being pro-active, we have helped many clients avoid disputes.

What’s been your highlight since joining Edge Consult?

I have been fortunate that since joining Edge Consult, I have worked on many great projects. However, the one that sticks out for me was one of the famous London Theatres, which allowed me to have a full site walk of the magnificent theatre. The place just blew my mind away!

What’s the one thing you miss most from UAE?

Definitely the weather and the chance to play golf all year round!

If you feel Raja could support your business, he is contactable by emailing rajaf@edgeconsult.co.uk

Raja and Family

Raja enjoying quality family time with his children.