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FIDIC launches major new contract for tunnelling and underground works

International engineering federation FIDIC (the International Federation of Consulting Engineers) and ITA-AITES (the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association) have teamed up to publish a new form of contract for tunnelling and underground works, The Emerald Book.

With underground construction a fast-growing market sector due to the increasing demand for use of underground space for infrastructure, the new Conditions of Contract for Underground Works (The Emerald Book) should be widely used. Underground construction is highly dependent on the geological, hydrogeological and geotechnical properties of the ground, which have a defining influence on the methods required for the successful implementation of the works. In addition, the difficulty in predicting ground behaviour and foreseeable conditions implies an inherent uncertainty in underground construction which gives rise to unique contractual risks regarding construction practicability, time and cost.

These risks are addressed in the Conditions of Contract for Underground Works (The Emerald Book), which is being launched on Tuesday 7 May 2019 at the World Tunnel Congress 2019 in Naples. The launch follows several years of intensive work by a joint task group of representatives of FIDIC and ITA-AITES who identified several issues that the new standard form of contract should address to promote equitable risk allocation and the effective dealing with conditions typically unforeseeable in such projects.

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