This is the first in a multi-part series on the FIDIC Suite of Contracts. This post will introduce the history of FIDIC and provide a brief overview of the past and present forms of contract released by FIDIC.

The Beginnings of FIDIC

FIDIC stands for Fédération Internationale Des Ingénieurs-Conseils, or in English, the International Federation of Consulting Engineers. The organisation was started in 1913 by France, Belgium and Switzerland, and the UK joined in 1949. FIDIC currently has its headquarters in Switzerland.

In 1957, FIDIC published its first contract – the Form Contract for Works of Civil Engineering Construction. The organisation has since become famous for its standard form contracts for the construction and engineering industry.

The First FIDIC Contracts

The first FIDIC contract soon became known for the colour of its cover – the Red Book. It has since become tradition that FIDIC contracts are known by the colour of their covers.

(Old) Red Book updated editions were released in 1969, 1977, and 1987. However, these old Red Book versions are obsolete and have been replaced by new ones. Nonetheless, the Red Book was based on detailed design provided to the Contractor and suitable for similar infrastructure projects.

This led to the first edition of the Yellow Book for Mechanical and Electrical Works in 1963. This contract placed an emphasis on testing and commissioning and was suitable for the manufacture and installation of plants. The second edition was published in 1980, followed by the third and last edition of the Yellow Book in 1987.

This old Yellow Book series is also now obsolete and has been replaced with an updated version.

FIDIC consistently improves its contracts, adds new forms of contracts, and replaces old ones, and updates important terms.

Subsequent FIDIC Forms of Contract

Following the old Red and Yellow books, the Orange Book was published in 1995. This was the first Design and Built contract released by FIDIC – Conditions of Contract for Design-Build and Turnkey.

The new Red Book – Conditions of Contract for Works of Civil Engineering Construction, for building and engineering works designed by the Employer.

This form of contract was first released in 1999 with the latest edition in 2017. It is suitable for contracts in which the majority of design rests with the Employer.
The new Yellow Book – Conditions of Contract for Electrical and Mechanical Works was also first published in 1999 and updated in 2017. It is suitable for contracts in which the majority of the design responsibility rests with the Contractor.

The Silver Book – Conditions of Contract for EPC Turnkey Projects, was also released 1999 and the new edition on 2017 places significant risk on the Contractor. The Contractor is also responsible for the majority of the design.

The next form of contract FIDIC released was the Pink Book – The Harmonised Multilateral Development Banks form of contract was first published in 2005, amended in 2006, and the most recent edition was released in June 2010.

The Pink Book is an adaptation of the Red Book, created to fit the needs of Multilateral Development Banks. This form of contract is also obsolete as the license for this series expired in January 2019. Further, this was based on the 1999 edition of the Red Book which has now been superseded by the 2017 series.

So there is no current form of the Pink Book, or MDB Harmonized version of contract.

Other contracts in the FIDIC family include:

  • the Gold Book – Conditions of Contract for Design, Build and Operate Projects, released in 2008;
  • the Blue Green Book – Contract for Dredging and Reclamation Works, first released in 2006 and updated in 2016; and
  • the White Book – the Client/Consultant Model Services Agreement, first released in 1991, and most recently updated in 2017.

Features of FIDIC Contracts
The next instalment in this series will cover the features and layout of FIDIC contracts.

This guest post was written by Mansoor Ali, FICCP. This post was originally published as two LinkedIn videos, viewable here and here.

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