Dispute Boards And ADR
Over the years the construction industry dealt with the resolution of claims and through a variety of methods. One of the most successful and enduring is the Dispute Boards.
A Dispute Board (DB) (or Dispute Review Board (DRB) or Dispute Adjudication Board (DAB)) is a ‘job-site’ dispute resolution process, typically comprising three independent and impartial persons selected by the contracting parties. The significant difference between Dispute Boards and most other Alternate Dispute Review (ADR) techniques (and possibly the reason why Dispute Boards have had such success in recent years) is that the Dispute Board is appointed at the commencement of a project before any disputes arise and, by undertaking regular visits to the site, is actively involved throughout the project (and possibly any agreed period thereafter).
As the success of the DB process became more apparent, the use of DBs greatly expanded throughout the world. Similarly in Turkey the recent developments in the construction industry and the involvement of the European Union funds in this development process have resulted in use of Dispute Adjudication Boards and Dispute Review Boards increasing over the time, particularly in relation to suite of contracts.
The 1999 suite of FIDIC Conditions of Contract include provisions for the submission, consideration and resolution of claims and disputes under a number of different clauses. The primary clause of interest here, Clause 20, deals specifically with Claims, Disputes and Arbitration. It requires the establishment of a Dispute Adjudication Board, known as the DAB.
A DAB is a panel of experienced, respected, impartial and independent reviewers. The board is normally organised before construction begins and meets at the job site periodically. The DAB members are provided with the contract documents, plans and specifications and become familiar with the project procedures and the participants and are kept abreast of job progress and developments. The DAB meets with the Employer’s and Contractor’s representatives during regular site visits and encourages the resolution of disputes at job level. When any dispute flowing from the contract or the work cannot be resolved by the parties it is referred to the DAB for Decision.
Generally speaking under the 1999 Suite of FIDIC Contracts DAB Decisions are final and binding, unless a notice of dissatisfaction is served by either party within the 28 day period set out in Sub-Clause 20.4.
It is also important to note that, with the exception of the matters referred to in Sub-Clause 20.8, the issue of a decision of the DAB on any dispute is a condition precedent to the commencement of any arbitration proceedings under or in connection with the contract.