Dispute boards—what are they and where are they used?
Produced in partnership with Clyde & Co
Dispute boards—what are they and where are they used?

The following Construction guidance note Produced in partnership with Clyde & Co provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Dispute boards—what are they and where are they used?
  • Evolution of dispute boards
  • Dispute review boards
  • Dispute adjudication boards
  • Ad hoc or standing dispute board?
  • Where are dispute boards used?

A dispute board is a panel appointed to assist in the resolution of disputes which arise under a construction contract. It is intended to allow the swift and cost-effective resolution of disputes without the need for the parties to resort to the more expensive and time-consuming options of arbitration or court to resolve their differences.

Due to the cost involved (albeit they are substantially less than the arbitration or litigation costs that would otherwise be incurred) dispute boards are more commonly employed on larger construction projects, and less often seen on smaller ones. Dispute boards are normally found in construction contracts to which the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 does not apply, for example on international projects.

A dispute board commonly has three members, but may sometimes consist of a single member. Some contracts require a standing dispute board, where the board is appointed at the start of the project and is in place throughout its duration, while others have ad hoc dispute boards which are only appointed as and when disputes arise under the contract. Where a standing dispute board is used, the same board may be used in relation to all of the contracts for a construction project, meaning that the board becomes familiar with the project as a whole, which may facilitate swifter dispute resolution.

A dispute board generally