In this paper, a procedure for dealing with the multi-user synchronisation problem in Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA)-based systems for ad hoc environments is proposed and analysed. We show with this novel approach that it is possible to re-use much of the already extent literature for single-user synchronisation in OFDM and apply it to multi-user ad hoc scenarios. Also a distributed version of the procedure is proposed in order to fairly share out the power consumption among all the devices. The proposed procedure makes use of higher layer capabilities in a cross-layer design and it does not incur too much complexity or power. This issue is specially critical in wireless heterogeneous ad hoc networks where devices can be very limited in terms of transmission and/or computational power.