It was started in by the trio of France, Belgium and Switzerland. The United Kingdom joined the Federation in Over the years, FIDIC has become famous for its secondary activity of producing standard form contracts for the construction and engineering industry. As the title indicated, this first contract was aimed at the Civil Engineering sector and it soon became known for the colour of its cover, and thus, The Red Book.
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Standard FIDIC contracts are frequently used in both large and small construction projects, and they are suitable for parties of different nationalities, speaking different languages and coming from different jurisdictions. Today, FIDIC is the largest international global representative body formed of national associations of consulting engineers, who come from more than countries worldwide.
The FIDIC Red Book is the standard, and most commonly used, construction contract form in all projects where the design is provided by the Employer, following the traditional procurement route of Design, Bid and Build. The Contractor is paid on a measurement basis for the actual quantities of work performed. The accepted Contract Amount is based on estimated quantities. The Red Book has significantly evolved since its first published edition in The Pink Book replaced earlier editions from and The Contractor is usually paid on a lump sum basis.
The Yellow Book was published for the first time in , with subsequent revisions. The design is carried out by the Contractor and payment is usually on a lump sum basis. The FIDIC Rainbow Suite has been translated into a number of different languages in an attempt to avoid problems with unofficial and inaccurate translations.
The most recent version was published in and is today one of the most widely-used forms of professional services contracts internationally. The second edition of the Sub-Consultancy Agreement accompanying the White Book has also been published. Other, less well-known FIDIC contracts include the so-called Green Book, which is a short form contract intended for relatively small projects of a repetitive nature or short duration where the Employer provides the design.
The first edition of the Gold Book was published in and is based on a typical design and build contract form where a period of operation and maintenance has been added. The Gold Book encompasses a complex range of different services and is intended to continue beyond a period of 20 years where the parties intend to extend their cooperation throughout the duration of a project. Finally, the less well-known so-called FIDIC Blue Book contract was published in and is a form of contract for dredging, reclamation and ancillary construction work with a large variety of administrative arrangements.
Usually, it is the Employer who is in charge of the design and the most important part of the Blue Book contract is the description of the activity itself, defined in detail in the specifications, drawings and design of the work. The Red Book will naturally be preferable if the Employer has more experience in design and wishes to have a significant role in the design process.
The Silver Book is usually preferable if no major unknown risks exist and the Employer prefers to have more security in terms of price and time. All FIDIC Contracts also include rules for the adaptation of agreed contract amounts and rules for the extension of time for completion and variation procedures. They all require experience and skilful staff, both on behalf of the Employer as well as on behalf of the Contractor, including the Engineer, who is to be independent and impartial.
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