In early December the second edition of the FIDIC Red, Yellow and Silver Books was launched at the FIDIC London conference, 18 years on from the first edition. Perhaps unsurprisingly, significant changes have been made. Key features include:
• the five Golden Principles, which are optional, but strongly recommended by FIDIC, for example that the Particular Conditions must not change the balance of risk/reward allocation in the General Conditions and that all time periods for performance must be of reasonable duration;
• more emphasis on dispute avoidance; claims, and disputes and arbitration, are now split into separate clauses, 20 and 21, which deal with claims by both Employer and Contractor, and the renamed DAAB, Dispute Avoidance/Adjudication Board, has a greater role, including an obligation to meet the parties at prescribed intervals;
• more time limits to meet; for example, the condition precedent that a statement of the contractual and/ or other legal basis of a claim must be filed within 84 days after the claimant becomes aware, or should have become aware, of the relevant event or circumstance, if the claim is not to lapse;
• an indemnity from the contractor, in respect of any design failure that results in the Works not being fit for their intended purpose, and, if so stated in the Contract Data, an obligation to provide professional indemnity insurance against any such failure;
• more programme requirements, e.g. logic links, a provision concerning concurrent delay and an advance warning clause in respect of future events that might adversely affect the contractor’s work or the Works’ performance, increase the contract price or delay the Works;
• a new definition of ‘Notice’; progress reports and programmes cannot constitute Notices.