The use of dispute tribunals generally referred to as Dispute Review Boards or DRBs on major projects has matured. Use of a DRB cannot guarantee elimination of post-project litigation, but when used properly, a DRB can be an enormously effective tool to avoid and resolve disputes rapidly and during construction.
The modest out-of-pocket costs of a DRB can pay big dividends. DRBs offer the opportunity to shorten the life cycle of a dispute by requiring the principals to confront and address the merits of their dispute, rather than simply hunkering down and focusing on posturing and preparing for arbitration or litigation. Even when a DRB cannot immediately resolve a dispute, the process can still facilitate subsequent settlement and cost-effectively prepare both parties for formal adjudication. DRBs can also enhance communications and help the parties avoid and resolve problems before they spiral into disputes.
DRBs were first and are most widely used on big civil and infrastructure projects, but the benefits of a DRB extend equally to major building projects, particularly hospitals, and industrial projects and should be used in those sectors.