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.
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.
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?
Although Clause 17 is titled ‘Risk and Responsibility’ it also sets out other provisions relating to indemnities, limitation of liability and, unusually, the specific topic of intellectual and industrial property rights. The clause provides that the Contractor assumes responsibility and bears the risk for the care of the works during execution and for remedying any defects during the Defects Notification Period. Risk transfers to the Employer on issue of the Taking–Over Certificate to the extent of works defined as being completed. Generally, in construction contracts ‘risk’ is understood to mean an event or circumstance which causes delay, loss or damage to the Works. A risk can be said to be Employer caused, Contractor caused or neutral. The purpose of risk allocation is to determine which party bears the risk for such events. The Contractor may be required to remediate the damage at his own cost or the Employer may be required to pay for the damaged works. It has been stated that the “FIDIC standard forms are generally recognised as being well balanced because both parties bear parts of the risks arising from the project.”
Clause 17 - Care of the Works and Indemnities by
Clause 7 deals with a variety of issues relating to Plant Materials and Workmanship. All sub clauses have been subject to some change – in several cases of significance.
Clause 5 defines a ‘nominated Subcontractor’ as either a Subcontractor who is stated in the Contract as being ‘nominated’; or who the Engineer instructs the Contractor to employ as a Subcontractor under clause 13. The Contractor may object to employing a nominated Subcontractor. A number of grounds are deemed to be reasonable for objecting and these include: where there are reasons to believe that the Subcontractor does not have sufficient resources, competence or financial strength to complete the subcontracted works; where the Subcontractor refuses to agree to indemnify the Contractor for any negligence; or where the Subcontractor does not agree to carry out the works so as not to put the Contractor in breach of its own obligations. If the Employer requires that the Contractor employ a nominated Subcontractor where a reasonable objection has been made then it must agree to indemnify the Contractor. The Contractor is required to pay to the nominated Subcontractor the amounts which the Engineer certifies to be due in accordance with the Subcontract. This sum is then added to the Contract Price as well as any amount for overheads and profit as stated in the appropriate schedule or Appendix to Tender. However, before issuing a Payment Certificate to the Contractor the Engineer may ask for evidence that previous payments have been made to the nominated Subcontractor. If evidence is not provided by the Contractor or the Contractor does not satisfy the Engineer that there are grounds for withholding payment then the Employer may at his discretion pay the nominated Subcontractor directly.
Read the full article here.