DRAs were developed by Colin Wall in the mid 1990s to be used by the Hong Kong construction industry. While DRBs and DABs generally require at least three experts to serve as members of the DRB, the DRA involves the choice of only one independent third-party expert.
Like DRBs and DABs, the DRA is jointly chosen and appointed by the parties at the start of the project, and is required to monitor the progress of the project through site visits and meetings. Thus, it shares very similar procedures and theoretical underpinnings of the approach taken by DRBs and DABs when it comes to dispute avoidance. Where it differs is in its approach towards dispute resolution.
If a conflict is not avoided, the guidelines for formal dispute resolution include:
• DRA recommends what s/he considers to be the most appropriate form of ADR technique, be that mediation, mini-trial or expert determination;
• If conflict is still unresolved, DRA prepares a report summarizing, in a neutral manner, each party’s viewpoint, and the DRA’s recommendations. It is designed to assist senior project executives to decide how best to resolve the dispute;
• If the dispute still cannot be resolved, the dispute is referred to short-form arbitration, where the DRA helps the parties choose a technical arbitrator suitable for the dispute.
This DAP was first used by the Hong Kong government in 1991 for the Queen Mary Hospital refurbishment project. The ability of the DRA to help the parties avoid disputes on this project motivated Hong Kong’s Architectural Services Department to develop a policy of using a DRA on all its projects valued over HK$200 million, or if it’s a complex project, the value need only be over HK$100 million.
Like DRBs and DABs, DRAs have achieved outstanding success. From 1991-2004, 53 projects have used a DRA, with only one dispute progressing as far as requiring short-form arbitration.
For more information on the Dispute Adjudication Board, please visit the Library.