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Dispute Boards and Construction Contracts

by Donald Charrett

Dr Donald Charrett Vicbar CPD, (2010) 132 ACLN 19

Dispute Boards are a new (for Australia) paradigm for the avoidance and resolution of disputes arising from construction contracts. They have been widely and successfully used in the USA since the 1970s and on major international projects since the 1980s. The World Bank mandates the use of Dispute Boards for construction contracts greater than $10 million. Dispute Boards have been used to a limited extent in Australia since 1988, however to date there has been no Dispute Board on a Victorian project.

The paper explains what a Dispute Board is, how it is constituted, and how it operates in practice in large projects. The key features which monitor the project, promote the avoidance of disputes and enable speedy and cost effective resolution of disputes that might occur, are highlighted. Costs of Dispute Boards are discussed, and their cost effectiveness demonstrated. The efficacy of Dispute Boards is demonstrated by reference to their use in successful projects in Australia.

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