REFERRAL TO A DISPUTE BOARD
When is a dispute a dispute? To make a referral to a dispute adjudication board (DAB) there first has to be a dispute, and if not, the dispute adjudication board has no jurisdiction. Frequently, in practice, the dispute board will be faced with one of the parties claiming that there is no basis for the claim being made as there is really no dispute and only a small misunderstanding between the parties, and one which will hopefully be sorted out and settled given enough time – thus no need for the dispute board. A distinction has to be made between having a ‘claim’ and a ‘dispute’. The contractor can have many claims (as can the employer) but maybe only a few turn into disputes for purposes of a dispute board. Some examples help illustrate this point:
Example 1: The contractor has a claim for an additional 100 days and submits it to the engineer for approval but the engineer never bothers to respond despite being repeatedly asked. The claim has now turned into a dispute.