Document Detail

Title: IR23-2 - Prevention and Resolution of Disputes Using Disputes Review Boards
Publication Date: 6/1/1996
Product Type: Implementation Resource
Status: Tool
Pages: 50
Sets guidelines for applying Disputes Review Board techniques on private commercial and industrial projects.
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The CII Dispute Prevention and Resolution Research Team identified Dispute Review Boards (DRBs) as a successful technique that has been used in the public works sector of the engineering and construction industry for many years. Typically, a DRB is made up of three members: one selected by the owner, who is acceptable to the contractor; one selected by the contractor, who is acceptable to the owner; and one jointly selected by the first two members, who is acceptable to both the owner and the contractor. The board meets at the jobsite on a regular basis for the duration of the project to keep informed of progress, problems, and disagreements, and to make non-binding recommendations for the resolution of disputes.

Since DRBs provide timely on-site dispute resolution on public works projects, the research team focused its research on observing DRBs in action to determine why they are effective and to test DRB implementation in the private commercial and industrial sectors of the industry.

The research indicated three key reasons for the success of DRBs:

  1. The provisions for establishing a DRB are included in the contract and the board is organized shortly after contract award. It is active throughout the construction period, with or without disputes. This early and continuing involvement permits board members to observe problems at the time they occur.
  2. This ongoing involvement, in turn, allows board members to grasp issues and facilitate timely resolution.
  3. The most critical element for a successful DRB is the selection of respected construction experts as board members who can be trusted to consider objectively all sides of an issue and to serve both parties equally and impartially.

The comprehensive field work done to study DRB operations confirmed that they can be successfully implemented in the private commercial sector of the industry. DRBs also promote prevention as well as resolution of disputes. The fact that a DRB meets at the site on a regular basis motivates owner and contractor project managers to solve problems and resolve disagreements in the normal course of business. For disputes that cannot be resolved by the project managers, the DRB is a fail-safe mechanism to facilitate an equitable and timely resolution.