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Division of Construction Management

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)


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For additional information on ADR check out the following:

American Arbitration Association

National Arbitration Forum

Dispute Resolution Board Foundation

FHWA Dispute Review Boards


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Pam Clawson PE, Claims Coordinator

(614) 466-3957

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods are alternatives to the litigation process. ADR methods include negotiation, mediation, dispute review boards, and arbitration. Resolving disputes using an ADR method typically benefits both the Contractor and the Department as these methods are much less formal, conclude much quicker, and cost far less than litigation. In addition, negotiation and mediation are particularly desirable for both parties in that the outcome is under the control of the parties to the dispute rather than a judge.




Negotiation is the most common approach to resolving disputes. Negotiation is a problem-solving process in which two or more participants attempt to reach agreement on a disputed issue. Each party utilizes specific negotiating styles, strategies, and tactics to obtain information from the other party. This exchange of information enables the parties to narrow their differences and reach agreement. Negotiation provides both parties with the opportunity to develop a solution that is acceptable to both of them.



Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party, called a mediator, assists people who have a dispute to resolve their differences through negotiation. The mediator is not a judge; that is, the mediatorís role is not to decide which party is right or wrong. The mediatorís role is to facilitate open discussion while assisting the parties to identify the problem and issues and generate and evaluate alternative solutions. In the event that both parties come to agreement on a solution, the mediator will assist the parties in writing an agreement. Mediation provides both parties with the opportunity to develop a solution that is acceptable to both of them.


Dispute Review Boards (DRB)

A Dispute Review Board (DRB) is a three member board formed before construction begins on a project. The Department and Contractor each select a member and those two members select the third member who will serve as the chairman of the DRB. During the life of the project, the purpose of the DRB is to provide special expertise to assist in and facilitate the timely and equitable resolution of disputes and claims in an effort to avoid delays to the contract work, minimize the expense of settlement, avoid litigation, and promote project partnering. In the event that a Step 2 decision is appealed to the DRB, the DRB will conduct a hearing and render its recommendations. The DRBís recommendations are non-binding; that is, the parties have the option to either accept the DRBís recommendations or escalate their claim to the next level.



Arbitration is a process in which a neutral third party, called an arbitrator, reviews all relevant items, including the contract documents and both partiesí documentation. The arbitrator may also interview both parties and visit the project site. The arbitrator then renders a binding decision. Both parties must agree prior to the arbitration proceeding to abide by the decision of the arbitrator.



Ohio Department of Transportation
Ted Strickland, Governor |  James Beasley, P.E., P.S., Director

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Contact the Web Administrator  03/26/08 01:59 PM

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