Dispute Boards > What are DBs?

A dispute board comprises of either one or three suitably qualified, experienced and impartial professionals who are jointly appointed under a tri-partite agreement by the Employer and the Contractor.


Decisions, Recommendations and Advice

The primary purpose of a dispute board is to consider, investigate and provide informed and judicious decisions or recommendations within a set period of time on matters that the parties are unable to agree. In addition to providing decisions, some forms of contract also allow the board, with the agreement of both parties, to give advice and opinions on any matter relevant to the contract.


Decisions Within Short Time-Frames

The board is required to review and investigate the disputed matter and give a decision within a stipulated time frame (FIDIC includes an 84 day period). Forms of contract vary, but in general, the decision of the dispute board is binding unless one of the parties gives notice of disagreement, in which case, the party may refer the matter to arbitration. In such cases and depending on the particular contract, the decision may become binding until overturned by an arbitral award.


Low Costs

The costs of the dispute board are borne equally by both parties.

Dispute boards provide fair and timely justice at minimal expense in time, money and project resources. In fact, about 99% of disputes referred to Dispute Boards are resolved in less than 90 days and the average cost is about 0.02% of the value of the dispute.

The advantages and added value of dispute boards are illustrated very well by Dr. Paula Gerber and Brennan Ong in this amusing animation, The ABC’s of DRBs.