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Expanding the Rainbow? New FIDIC Contracts and Guidance Notes on the Horizon

FIDIC (The Fédération Internationale des Ingénieurs-Conseils or International Federation of Consulting Engineers) contracts committee is planning to release new contracts and related materials in late 2020 or early 2021. These will include:

  • A test edition of the new Bronze Book form of contract. This will be an ODBO (Operate-Design-Build-Operate) contract intended for use on brownfield sites. The 2017 FIDIC Rainbow suite does not currently contain a contract that can be used for projects involving upgrades or refurbishments to existing facilities and the Bronze Book will be the first such contract.
  • New FIDIC guides for the 2017 Rainbow Suite editions of FIDIC’s Red Book, Yellow Book and Silver Book contracts (the Guides). The aim of these Guides will be to enhance and clarify certain provisions of the 2017 FIDIC Rainbow Suite and assist users in their preparation, negotiation and operation of these contracts. The Guides will be particularly useful where bespoke amendments are drafted and negotiated to such contracts.The FIDIC Red Book, Yellow Book and Silver Book contracts have been in use for nearly two decades, with the 2017 update being the most significant since 1999.
    • The FIDIC Red Book contract is used on projects where the contractor constructs work in accordance with a design provided by the employer. It recognises, that the works may include some elements of contractor-designed civil, mechanical, electrical and/or construction works.
    • The FIDIC Yellow Book contract is used in projects where the Contractor designs and constructs the works, and may provide plant, in accordance with the employer’s requirements, including any combination of civil, mechanical, electrical and/or construction works.
    • The FIDIC Silver Book contract is intended to be used on most EPC/Turnkey Projects. FIDIC does not consider it suitable for use, in the following instances, where it recommends the FIDIC Yellow Book contract instead be used:
      • the construction includes substantial work underground or work in other areas which tenderers cannot inspect, unless special provisions are provided to account for unforeseen conditions;
      • if there is insufficient time or information for tenderers to scrutinise and check the employer’s requirements or for them to carry out their designs, risk assessment studies and estimating; or
      • if the employer intends to supervise closely or control the contractor’s work, or to review most of the construction drawings.
  • A revised edition of the Green Book, FIDIC’s short form contract. The current edition of the Green Book is from 1999 and as such a revised edition would be timely. The Green Book is typically recommended for engineering and building work of relatively low capital value, works which are not complex or are of short duration, or which include or wholly comprise, contractor-designed civil engineering, building, mechanical and/or electrical works.
  • A FIDIC Building Information Modelling (BIM) protocol. Given the increasing use of BIM on large scale construction projects, a customised BIM protocol which aligns with the provisions of the FIDIC contracts will benefit those projects seeking to harness the benefits of BIM.

Also in the FIDIC contracts pipeline are publications on:

  • PPP projects;
  • collaborative contracting;
  • a guide to the 2017 model services agreement;  and
  • a guide to the Emerald Book contract – this contract was launched in 2019 for use in tunnelling and underground works.

A recent survey from FIDIC contract users showed that in addition to these new pipeline contracts, publications on EPCM (Engineering, Procurement, Construction Management) contracts, contractor joint ventures and a FIDIC form for offshore windfarm projects are all eagerly awaited. The FIDIC contracts committee are currently considering these findings to help inform and prioritise future publications.

In addition, FIDIC has this month published a COVID-19 Guidance Memorandum for FIDIC contract users. 

Contact Us

These new contracts and guidance updates will be of interest to employer clients and public bodies using or intending to use any of the FIDIC Rainbow Suite of contracts, including with bespoke amendments to same, on large infrastructure, industrial, wastewater and renewable energy projects.

For more information or advice on such projects and construction contracts, including but not limited to the use of any of the FIDIC contract suite, please contact Cassandra Byrne, Jarleth Heneghan or your usual William Fry contact.