Olympics to get standing dispute resolution board and to run schemes using NEC partnering contract.
Jack Lemley, the chairman of the Olympic delivery authority, is to hire a team of about five crack professionals to prevent disputes arising on Olympic sites.
Lemley is considering recruiting top architects, QSs, engineers, lawyers and contractors to prevent the Olympic programme getting mired in Wembley-style disputes.
The five would form a dispute resolution board. This would have the power to mediate and make binding adjudication decisions.
Lemley, who has made it clear that he wants disputes on the Olympics to be settled during the construction process, is thought to favour DRBs as a vehicle for settling disputes quickly.
The experts would be brought in at the start of the design and construction work and would visit the sites regularly to identify problems before they grow into disputes.
DRBs, which have been used on large projects such as the Channel Tunnel, try to settle disagreements amicably, but also have the authority to make binding adjudication decisions.
An ODA spokesperson said:
"DRBs are one of several options we are considering. If we did have a DRB the number of independent experts involved would match the technologies involved and the issues in dispute. However, we will not be making a decision on this until the summer."
The move comes as Ray Payne, the ODA's head of procurement, announced last week that the body would be using the third edition of the New Engineering Contract on Olympic projects.
This contract requires a partnering approach to design and construction based on the principal of mutual trust and co-operation. The ODA's adoption of it is being seen as another attempt to minimise the potential for disputes.
An ODA spokesperson said: "We looked at alternatives, but given the complexity of the work, it has the flexibility we need."
Construction lawyers welcomed the take-up of the NEC as being in line with current thinking of using partnering contracts on large public projects, but warned that some contractors may not be familiar with how it works.
Jane Ryeland, a partner at Cripps Harries Hall, said: "This suggests the ODA will go for teams that have a track record of using NEC. It will be looking for teams with partnering experience."
Tony Blackler, a partner at Beachcroft Wansbroughs, said contractors would have to put resources into identifying claims early on: "It will demand a totally different approach - you have to warn the employer of delays and you are penalised if you don't. You can't just make your money through claims at the end."