The Wembley judgment contains all the rough and tumble we expect from a good old construction dust-up, and some pertinent lessons for the 2012 Olympics organisers

It's tempting to take the Multiplex vs Cleveland Bridge affair and think, heaven help us when it comes to the Olympics in 2012. Truth is, the events that bedevilled that project were ordinary. What was unusual were the sums in dispute, and the frenzied interest of the media in everything to do with footballers, their wives, their metatarsals and their stadiums … will it, won't it, be ready?

If the Olympic Stadium is not ready on that day in June 2012, we can all go to Wembley instead; it will be ready by then, if not quite fit for purpose. Wembley can play a part in the Olympics, though, as a typical construction contract model. Believe me, what happened here will happen in east London. There will be lots of disputes, just like with Wembley, but on an even larger scale.

Here is just part of what was argued over on one single subcontract of the Wembley scheme. Ashley Muldoon, Multiplex's project manager, said of subcontractor: "Cleveland never properly substantiated its claim." Ah, yes. "Cleveland claimed substantial extensions of time" but Mr Muldoon was sceptical. "Cleveland's design and fabrication processes were badly managed and slow." When Cleveland warned that unless the parties reached a compromise they would be involved in adjudication "for ever" and the work would be a year late, Multiplex viewed this behaviour "in a poor light". Ah, yes.

Then Cleveland gets cracking with its list. There was "inadequate and erroneous steelwork design information". Dear me. There were design changes "on a scale never encountered before". Oh dear. The variations account added £24m to the £60m subcontracted. Oh hell.

What happened here will happen in east London. There will be disputes, just like with Wembley, but on a much larger scale

Then Mr Justice Jackson sums up: "Multiplex blamed Cleveland for allocating insufficient resources to the project, slow design and fabrication of steelwork, fabrication errors, late and out of sequence deliveries, delaying the arch lift, low erection rates despite having a large number of men on site, blaming others for their own failings and making excessive, unsubstantiated or unwarranted claims. Cleveland blamed Multiplex for late and inadequate design information, numerous and substantial design changes, bad site organisation and refusal to make proper payment for variations, acceleration, disruption or delay costs. It was against this background of ill will and mutual recrimination that Multiplex and Cleveland endeavoured to progress the construction of Wembley Stadium". Ah, yes … very ordinary stuff all this.

Now then, what's to be done next time? The real mistake was not bringing in a dispute prevention board, together with a dispute adjudication board. Almost all the Wembley argy-bargy was between Multiplex and Cleveland Bridge when it ought to have been between Multiplex and Cleveland Bridge in the presence of a dispute prevention person.

For heaven's sake, if Cleveland's acceleration claim was half-baked, then as soon as it hit the desk of Multiplex, it should have hit the desk of the dispute preventer, and then the real powerhouse ... the dispute-deciding adjudicator.

On Wembley, they used the adjudicator time and again but only after they were already banjaxed. They saved up the adjudicator until they fell out. They ought never to have quarrelled without a preventer on hand. So, on the Olympics, or any other big job, adjudication does not come soon enough, and it needs the preventer before the adjudicator.