The International Federation of Consulting Engineer (FIDIC) has published various forms of contracts that became international standards in the construction industry. Each form of contract is published as a “book” that encompasses the general requirements, and various special requirements, related to specific functions prevalent in construction. This article is going to cover a basic overview of the more widely used books in FIDIC’s Suite of Contracts and their respective use.
The first book covered is the most widely used, the Red Book. The Red Book, as published, provides the conditions of contract for construction projects in which all the design, or the majority of it, is carried out by the Employer. The Employer may opt to assign some elements of the design to be carried out by the Contractor. However, the Red Book is not suitable for projects where most of the design work is assigned to the Contractor.
The second book covered is the antithesis of the Red Book, the Yellow Book. Contrary to the Red Book, the Yellow Book provides the conditions of contract for construction projects in which all the design, or the majority of it, is carried out by the Contractor. Generally, the Contractor is assigned the design work and must adhere to the Employer’s requirements which can include any or all types of work such as civil, mechanical, electrical, and/or construction.
The third book covered is similar to the Yellow Book, the Silver Book. This book shares the design characteristics of the Yellow Book but is geared towards Engineering, Construction, and Procurement (EPC) for process, power, and private infrastructure projects, or what is commonly called Turnkey. As such, the majority of the risks to the Employer are allayed and transferred to the Contractor with the express purpose of the Contractor providing the Employer with a fully functional facility, fit for the intended purpose.
The fourth book covered is venturing away from the most widely used books and delving into the lesser known books, such as the Green Book. The Green Book, similar to the Red Book, provides the conditions of contract for construction projects in which the design is carried out by the Employer. However, it differs from the Red Book with one caveat. The caveat being that the Green Book is geared towards projects of relatively small capital value, specifically, less than $500,000. Due to this, the Green Book is suitable for simple or repetitive works of short duration.
FIDIC has published several other books, each as versatile as the next, that encompass various special requirements of the construction industry. Although all the FIDIC books have some common aspects and a balance between roles, risks, and responsibilities, determining which book to use is solely dependent on the Employer, the projects nature, and the projects specific requirements.