More Than an Underground Success

by James Denning, Asst. Ed.; Civil Engineering,345 E. 47th St., New York, NY 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1993, Vol. 63, Issue 12, Pg. 42-45

Document Type: Feature article


Starting with the premise that reasonable people, guided by impartial experts they have selected, can come to a reasonable solution, dispute review boards, or DRBs, have amassed an enviable record in dispute resolution on job sites. They were first used on tunnelling jobs and now are starting to see use on a variety of civil engineering projects as word spreads of their success at keeping owners and contractors out of court. Experts cite two reasons they do so well: (1) The act of cooperating to set up a DRB indicates to both sides that the other is interested in finding a reasonable solution. (2) Neither side wants to go before a board of respected peers to press frivolous or marginal claims. In many cases, these factors are so strong that the board is simply never used, with all disputes being resolved at the project level. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. A sidebar explores two major projects facing ongoing and pending litigation despite their use of DRBs and DRB-style arbitration.

Subject Headings: Site investigation | Tunneling | Engineering profession | Owners | Contractors and subcontractors | Team building | Claims | Arbitration

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