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ODA establishes independent panel to nip disputes in bud

A unique independent dispute avoidance panel (IDAP) has been established by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) to help ensure the London 2012 project is completed on time and to budget.

The IDAP is made up from construction industry experts rather than lawyers and will be on hand as independent advisers to help contractors and the ODA talk through potential problems before they become disputes.

"I think it is a world first," said panel chairman Dr Martin Barnes, pointing out that the panel would get involved long before traditional dispute resolution processes start. "Like all projects with a fixed end date it makes sense to put the effort in early to avoid disputes," he said.
Barnes, author of the NEC suite of contracts and president of the Association of Project Managers, was called in by ODA construction director Howard Shiplee to help find ways to avoid the kind of contractual disputes that so often dog major public projects.~

He added that all appointments to the IDAP and its future operations were free of influence from the ODA. "The panel has huge industry experience," he said.

ODA chief executive David Higgins added: "The panel will help us and our contractors work together to identify and resolve any potential issues early."

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