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On 7 May 2019 at the World Tunnelling Congress 2019, FIDIC launched its new Conditions of Contract for Underground Works (“the Emerald Book”). This is a bespoke standard-form contract that caters to the specificities of an industry that is often rife with contractual disputes: the tunnelling industry. In providing much needed industry-appropriate provisions, the Emerald Book should prove to be very successful in tunnelling projects.

Authors: Peter Rosher Bree Miechel Richard A. Ceeney Erwan Robert Adam Calloway

Introduction

On 7 May 2019 at the World Tunnelling Congress 2019 - held this year in Naples between 6th and 8th May 2019 - the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) launched its new Conditions of Contract for Underground Works (aptly named “the Emerald Book”).

The Emerald Book - a bespoke standard-form contract that caters to the specificities of the tunnelling industry – now supplements FIDIC’s existing ‘rainbow suite’ of standard form contracts, which are some of the most frequently used in the construction sector.

The Emerald Book provides a series of industry-specific general and particular contractual clauses dealing with the management and control of underground construction projects. As the brainchild of a joint initiative between FIDIC and the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association (ITA), it should prove to be very successful within the tunnelling industry, which has (until now), had no dedicated standard-form contract of its own.

In the past, when drafting contracts, parties to tunnelling projects have had to make do with the ITA’s own series of reports, recommendations, guidelines and checklists,1 as well as national codes and other standard form contracts, including the FIDIC Yellow Book or Red Book, all requiring a significant level of modification. The unfortunate result is that the tunnelling industry is often rife with contractual disputes.