A Dispute Board is a method most commonly used in complex engineering projects e.g. a desalination plant. It involves an independent committee established by the parties to the construction contract. Dispute boards are usually provided for in the contract and thus are in place from the commencement of the project. They generally comprise 3 members; one chosen by each party and the third chosen by the two nominees.

Dispute Review Boards (DRBs) are a charged with dealing with problems as they arise. DRB’s act impartially and independently and may hold informal hearings and produce non-binding recommendations.

Dispute Adjudication Boards (DABs), on the other hand, deal with matters that are in dispute. The procedure adopted by a DAB is usually more formal and structured, containing provisions such as time stipulations for notices. A DAB’s decision is immediately binding unless challenged by a notice of dissatisfaction. Both the recommendations of a DRB and the decision of a DAB may be admitted before an arbitrator, if the matter proceeds to that stage.

Practitioners’ resources

Dispute board concepts internationally – divergence or convergence – Australasian perspective – Ronald A Finlay [Here]