This is the third post in a four-part series on the FIDIC White Book 2017 edition. In this instalment, we will discuss some of the critical points introduced in the updated contract.

Notices and Communications

Notices and communications can take any form of an agreed system of electronic transmission, as stated in the particular conditions. Notices and communications should be clearly stated, with reference to the relevant sub-clauses, and should not be unreasonably withheld or delayed.

Sub-Consultants and Sub-Contracts

When the appointment of a Sub-Consultant is included in the Consultant’s offer or proposal, consent from the Client is not required. However, subcontracting part or all of the works requires written consent from the Client.

Intellectual Property

Under Sub-Clause 1.7 (Intellectual Properties), the Consultant shall grant the Client a royalty-free worldwide license to use and copy the foreground intellectual property for any purpose related to the project.

While information about the project can be used for commercial tendering, the publication of materials requires approval from the Client if it occurs within two years of the completion of the services or termination, whichever is earlier.


Regarding anti-corruption, the Consultant must comply, at a minimum, with the FIDIC code of ethics and the FIDIC integrity management system. The Consultant should also immediately notify the relevant authorities if any public official requests illicit payments.

Financial Arrangements and Personnel

As in all the latest FIDIC suite of contracts, the Client must provide reasonable evidence of financial arrangements for timely payment within 28 days of a request from the Consultant. Another improvement is that the Consultant must arrange for an alternative supply of personnel at the Client’s cost if the Client fails to provide their own personnel or if the Consultant is unsatisfied with their performance. The cost of replacement will be borne by the Consultant unless the replacement is requested by the Client. In such cases, the Client will be responsible for the cost.


A notice must be given by any party in the event of specific, actual, or probable future events or circumstances that may adversely affect or delay the services or lead to an increase in the cost of the services. As mentioned earlier, the Consultant has the right to an extension of time (EOT) if the delay is due to a variation to the services, delay caused by the Client or the Client’s other Consultants, Contractors, or third parties, an exceptional event, or any other event entitling the Consultant to EOT under the agreement.

The 5th edition introduces the rate of progress. Sub-Clause 4.5 states that if the Consultant is not entitled to an EOT and if in the Client’s opinion, the rate of progress is insufficient to ensure completion, the Client may give notice to the Consultant. The Consultant must then revise the programme by adding additional measures to complete the services within the specified time.

Exceptional Events

Exceptional events are detailed in Sub-Clause 4.6. If a party is unable to perform its obligations due to an exceptional event, a notice must be given within 14 days from when the party becomes aware of such an event. If this event leads to a mandatory change in the scope, delay in services, and results in a variation, the Consultant is entitled to claim an EOT. However, the obligation to make payments under the agreement will not be excused by an exceptional event.


Clause 5, which deals with variations, is very detailed. Variations can occur when there is an amendment to the scope of services, personnel, equipment, facilities, or services provided by the Client, omission of services no longer required by the Client, changes in the sequence or method of implementation, or when the agreement requires the issuance of a variation or a proposal submitted by the Consultant and accepted in writing by the Client. The Consultant must submit a Notice with details if an instruction or direction from the Client constitutes a variation. If accepted, the Client will issue a Variation Order.

However, if the Consultant notifies the Client within 14 days, providing evidence that they do not have the relevant resources to carry out the variation, or if the Consultant believes it will significantly change the extent of the services, they are free to abstain from the additional works. Otherwise, the Consultant is bound by each variation.

If the Client does not accept the variation, they must cancel the instruction by giving notice. In this case, the Consultant must comply with the notice unless they refer to it as a dispute under Clause 10 (Disputes and Arbitration) within 7 days of receiving the notice.


While the Client may suspend the services for any reason by giving 28 days’ notice to the Consultant, the Consultant may suspend the services in case of non-payment by the due date, and the Client has not provided a valid reason for non-payment. The Consultant must give the Client a 7-day notice in such cases or if there are exceptional events related to the safety and security of the Consultant’s personnel or if the Client fails to satisfy the requirements of the Client’s financial arrangements.

The Consultant must resume the services within 28 days of receiving a Notice from the Client instructing them to do so. In case of suspension initiated by the Consultant, they should resume the services as soon as reasonably practicable after the matters causing the suspension have ceased. During the suspension, the Consultant should not perform the services but ensure the security, maintenance, and custody of the services. If the Consultant incurs exceptional costs during the suspension and resumption, the agreed remuneration should be adjusted, and the time for completion should be amended. The Consultant must issue a notice regarding these exceptional costs.

In conclusion, the FIDIC White 2017 edition introduces various critical points that need to be understood. These points cover areas such as notices and communications, sub-consultants, intellectual properties, publication of materials, anti-corruption measures, financial arrangements, replacement of personnel, variations, exceptional events, and service suspension. Familiarity with these provisions is essential for both the Consultant and the Client to ensure smooth project execution and contractual compliance.

The final post in this series will complete the examination of critical changes in the 2017 edition. The previous posts can be read here and here.

This guest post was written by Mansoor Ali, FICCP and Jishma Joy. Would you like to learn more about the FIDIC White Book? Check out this webinar.

If you would like all of these posts in a single PDF, please email with the subject line FIDIC White Book.

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