FIDIC ‘launched’ the FIDIC 2022 reprints at the FIDIC International Construction Users’ Conference 2022, in London. The reception to the changes was mixed – some embraced the clarity; others questioned the significance and cost. This article draws your attention to 10 of the key areas of change in respect of the FIDIC Red Book 2017 including the definition of Claim, matters to be agreed or determined, the definition of Dispute and Exceptional Events.
This Practice Note is an introduction to the FIDIC Green Book 2021 (the Short Form of Contract). It is not a fully detailed clause-by-clause commentary. This article was first published by LexisPSL
The FIDIC 2017 forms first appeared at the December FIDIC Users’ Conference four years ago. No one has suggested that the FIDIC 2017 forms of contract did not rectify some of the problems in the FIDIC 1999 forms, and in Edward Corbett’s articles, ‘Cherry Picking FIDIC 2017,’ and ‘FIDIC 2017 – First Impressions of the 3-Kilo Suite’, he considered some of these changes. This new suite of contracts had, at best, a lukewarm reception when they were first reviewed, with some commentators complaining about the length of these new contracts and that the contracts had not taken account of criticisms that had been made by reviewers. This article looks at the twelve worst ‘gifts’ that FIDIC gave to us for Christmas 2017.
Construction costs are escalating. Under existing contracts, an employer will not want to pay more for the works. But forcing a contractor to perform works that are unprofitable or causing a massive loss is unlikely to be in the best interests of the project. It may result in the insolvency of the contractor forcing the employer to abandon the contract or re-let it, probably at a premium. Is a mechanism for cost adjustment, such as FIDIC 1999 Sub-Clause 13.8 [Adjustments for Changes in Costs], an answer?
Could provisions in FIDIC contracts giving relief for ‘Force Majeure’ or ‘Exceptional Events’ provide relief to contractors suffering as a result of price escalation? It is well documented that construction and engineering projects around the globe are being affected by extreme and sometimes unprecedented price escalation. This is for many reasons including the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russo-Ukrainian conflict.
In December 2021 FIDIC issued its 2nd edition of the Green Book. It is not so much an update to the 1st edition as a new and improved, intermediate form of contract. FIDIC is promoting it as a simpler, user-friendly alternative to the FIDIC 2017 Red and Yellow Books, where significant contract administration and management resources are not needed. The Green Book 2nd edition is recommended to be used by the World Bank for projects up to US$ 10 million. The Green Book 1st edition was originally intended for projects of US $500,000 with no more than a 6-month duration. However, the Green Book 1st was sometimes used for larger projects with a duration of up to two years. The Green Book 2nd therefore takes over from where the Green Book 1st left off. This is to be welcomed. The FIDIC 2017 suite of contracts (Red/Yellow/Silver) is unsuitable for smaller projects where less administration is required. The Green Book 2nd will therefore fill a much-needed gap in the FIDIC rainbow and is likely to be attractive to both Contractors and Employers. This article looks at some of the key features of the Green Book 2nd.
Bonds and guarantees will usually be required in any major construction project and they are a requirement within FIDIC standard forms. An on-demand bond is a security that unconditionally requires a Bank or other surety to pay to the beneficiary a sum of money once a demand has been made and, on occasion, on the presentation of certain documents. This can be contrasted with a normal guarantee which will usually require the beneficiary to prove a liability against the obligor/debtor who has the benefit of the guarantee. These normal types of guarantees are commonly referred to as “see to it” guarantees.
Up until the spring of 2020, a FIDIC 1999 Sub-Clause 13.7 [Adjustments for Changes in Legislation] claim was just one of many issues to be resolved, for example, in a delay and disruption claim or a Cost claim. However, the focus it receives in the context of Covid-19 is drastically different. Many in the industry are using the changes in legislation provision to seek financial compensation in a situation that would otherwise potentially only attract an extension of time. Awarding Cost for Covid-19 events regardless of the circumstances may seem to some (Contractors mostly, though there are Employers and Engineers who agree) like the appropriate thing to do, but whether it is correct according to the Contract is a different question.
In March 2019, in the English Court of Appeal, Sir
Page Corrigenda 146 For provisions referring to sub-clause 3.7, see
A contract may require a party giving notice of a claim to specify the contractual or legal basis of that claim in the notice (or the supporting particulars). What if that party states a contractual or legal basis for the claim but later (perhaps with the benefit of additional information or because of advice from its lawyers) changes its mind or wants to include further contractual or legal bases? This was considered by the Hong Kong Court of Appeal in Maeda Corporation and China State Construction Engineering (Hong Kong) Limited v Bauer Hong Kong Limited  HKCA 830. It found that a subcontractor could not change the contractual basis for its claim once the time period for providing such notice had expired. What, if any, impact will this decision have on the FIDIC forms of contract?
Covid-19 has had huge consequences around the world and unfortunately
Triple Point Technology, Inc v PTT Public Company Ltd 
FIDIC is concerned about its image. It says that heavily amending the FIDIC forms of contract impacts upon the FIDIC brand and that this is damaging FIDIC’s reputation. It seeks to address this with the introduction of five Golden Principles. But the Golden Principles are merely aspirational; they are not binding and have no contractual effect. Does this render them a pointless gesture ‘trying to hold back the tide’?
It has been suggested that FIDIC’s new Emerald Book may be “a contractors’ charter for riches”. 1 This article examines whether this new form of contract for underground works by FIDIC and the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association is too contractor-biased or whether it provides a sensible and pragmatic risk allocation process, in an area of construction and engineering which is well known for claims. If more risks are placed on the Employer in this form of contract, what are the benefits of the contract compared to, for example, an unamended FIDIC Yellow Book?
In all construction contracts, one of the central principles is the Employer’s obligation to pay the contract price. The Contractor will be wary about the Employer’s financial standing and ability to pay and concerned to ensure that payments are made on time and that effective remedies are available in case of late or non-payment. The FIDIC standard forms of contract contain provisions dealing with these aspects.
Much has been said about the new Red, Yellow and Silver Books 2nd Editions launched by FIDIC in December last year. The most obvious comment has been about their size, almost 50,000 words, which is some 60% longer than the 1999 forms. Although the 1999 forms were not perfect, most regular users seem to be agreed that they did not need 20,000 words to fix the issues. This consensus led this author to attempt to cherry-pick the good bits from the 2017 forms and to propose amendments to add the good ideas to the 1999 forms. The amendments apply to all three forms unless it is indicated otherwise.
MT Højgaard AS v E.ON Climate and Renewables UK Robin Rigg East Ltd & Anor is an important English case because it considered a fitness for purpose obligation in a design and build contract. In FIDIC’s Yellow Book contracts (1999 and 2017) there are also fitness for purpose obligations. This article examines the Supreme Court’s analysis of a fitness for purpose obligation in the Højgaard case and whether it would be applied to FIDIC’s Yellow Book contracts.
Much has already been written concerning the new FIDIC forms of contract published in December 2017. They are approximately 50 % longer and sought to set out the various procedure in much greater detail with the object of both encouraging good practice and reducing the scope for disputes. Numerous minor amendments have also been made. The purpose of this article is to look in more detail at the provisions dealing with Variations, these being amongst the most frequently scrutinised in practice.
FIDIC’s 2017 editions introduced a new Claims management system in clause 20 that channels Claims through two very different procedures. One of them is very simple and involves almost no risk whereas the other will require investment of significant project resources, will take the parties a considerable amount of time to resolve and carries fatal consequences if not followed properly. It has therefore become a priority for anyone handling this Claims management system to understand how clause 20.1 sorts the different types of Claims and to recognise that the classification scheme is not as straightforward as the wording of the Contract suggests, as explored in this article.