New Fidic contract for tunnelling “bridges gap” on underground risk

Fidic and an international tunnelling body have teamed up to produce a new form of contract for tunnelling and underground works.

Called "The Emerald Book", it aims to address the difficulty in predicting ground conditions, which gives rise to unique contractual risks and adds to time and cost.

Fidic (the International Federation of Consulting Engineers) said underground construction was a fast-growing market, creating demand for the new contract.

Helping Fidic was the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association (ITA-AITES).

They launched the new contract today in Naples at the World Tunnel Congress 2019.

It follows several years of work by a joint task group who identified issues that the new standard form of contract should address.

Those issues include:

  • Allocation of risk;
  • Disclosure of all available geological and geotechnical information;
  • Inclusion of a contractual geotechnical baseline;
  • Inclusion of a tailored "Unforeseeable Physical Conditions" clause;
  • Implementation of a ground classification system and of supporting particular conditions that properly reflect the effort of excavation and stabilisation;
  • Time for completion is largely influenced by ground conditions;
  • Provision of a flexible mechanism for remuneration according to ground conditions, foreseen and unforeseen.

Fidic contracts committee chair Zoltán Záhonyi said he hoped the new contract "will command the respect and authority of the tunnel engineering and construction sector and that both clients and contractors can use with confidence".

ITA-AITES president Tarcisio Celestino said: "The Emerald Book will bridge an important gap. Despite all the technological developments of equipment and techniques in the field, many underground construction projects end up unsuccessful because of contractual disputes."

Image supplied by Fidic

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