The FIDIC (International Federation of Consulting Engineers) form of contract has become one of the most widely used for construction projects in Africa. While most international financing institutions recognise it as a fair and balanced contracting basis, there are a number of best practice guidelines for its use in African construction projects, according to Tanzanian contract administration expert, Bahati Mbambe.
The FIDIC Rainbow Suite comprises the Red, Yellow, Silver and Green books. It was originally published in 1957 and is currently being updated by FIDIC.
Mbambe says that the Red Book can enhance contractual relationships and serve as a valuable tool for avoiding disputes. “Context is always important. In African construction projects, best practice for the use of the Red Book includes ensuring that contractors comply with all notice limits,” he says. “I have used the Red Book in a number of African countries. In a number of matters, non-compliance with notice time limits has led to the contractor losing his right to claim for an extension of time for completion under the contract, as well as additional costs.”
While it sounds fairly obvious, Mbambe warns against signing contracts without a complete understanding of any amendments made to FIDIC Red Book contracts. “Unfortunately, a number of employers abuse the FIDIC Red Book by amending or deleting important sub-clauses in appendices and the conditions of contract. As a result, the rights of contractors may be hindered when the need arises,” he explains.
Mbambe will be in the country as a speaker at MDA Consulting’s Collective Wisdom 2017, which considers the practical impact of recent developments in the FIDIC suite of contracts through several lectures and panel discussions.
Siobhan Fahey, an Irish member of the FIDIC Contracts Committee, will also be outlining the latest developments in the second edition of the Rainbow Suite