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London Build

Susan Francombe

Susan Francombe

Founder, Business of Building

After a varied career as a civil engineer with highlights including building a motorway service station on a rubbish tip, designing a camel bridge for Qatar (no, that’s not a joke) and working on one of the largest tunnelling projects in Europe (the Jubilee Line Extension) Susan discovered an interest in the law. After several years of weekend and evening study she was called to the Bar. Following a short spell working at a City law firm she headed back to construction, spending time with architects, insurance companies and consultants. Susan finally ended up spending 10-years at Laing O’Rourke dealing with contracts and construction disputes. She now works as an independent consultant, adjudicator and speaker making full use of the knowledge gained from over 30-years experience in the construction industry. Susan is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb), a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), a Chartered Engineer and a registered Barrister. She is a member of various ICE committees including the Law and Contract Management Examination Committee and Disputes Panel Committee. She is a keen advocate for equality and diversity in the construction industry and will shortly become the first female Chair of the Adjudication Society. She is also a member of the steering committee of Women in Adjudication, which has the aim of increasing the number of women adjudicators from the current low level of 8%. Susan is also a keen motorcyclist, hence the nickname of the Biking Building Barrister..


"Since speaking out about diversity I have faced many critics who feel there is no need for change. However, the number of young professionals coming up to me at the end of presentations to share their stories shows otherwise. The industry can only improve when we ALL work and learn together."