The DAB was developed and introduced by FIDIC in the late 1990s to provide a cost effective and efficient alternative to arbitration.
In effect, DABs are the European cousin of the DRB. They mirror the DRB’s aims and objectives and procedural practices when it comes to avoiding disputes (i.e. the selection of three-independent experts who regular engage in site visits to proactively identify, manage and resolve conflicts before they escalate into disputes). Please see the section on DRBs, for a more elaborate discussion.
The primary difference between DRBs and DABs is that when a dispute is referred to a DAB, it is required to make a binding decision rather than a non-binding recommendation (as is the outcome of a DRB hearing). Consequently, the DAB hearing is more formal, and there are more rigid procedures to be followed.
When seeking the assistance of the DAB:
• A formal notice of dispute must be issued to the DAB by either party;
• The DAB has 84 days to make its investigations, conduct a hearing (if required) and provide a reasoned decision;
• If either party is dissatisfied with the decision, it may give a notice of dissatisfaction within 28 days;
• If no notice is served, the DAB’s decision becomes final and binding; and
• Where a notice is served, parties are required to attempt to settle the dispute amicably, before the commencement of arbitration not earlier than 56 days after the notice of dissatisfaction
Notwithstanding these more rigid protocols, the DAB approach has been experiencing great success. It has recently been found that for every 100 construction projects that have used a DAB, 90% of issues are resolved at project level without requiring a formal hearing, and of the 10% of disputes referred to the DAB, only 1% of DAB decisions have been referred for further arbitral determination. Thus, DABs have a 99% success rate in ensuring that the project is completed with no outstanding disputes.
For more information on the Dispute Adjudication Board, please visit the Library.