Webinar highlights need for practical advice on FIDIC contracts

23 Feb 2021

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Hundreds of construction professionals from around the world packed into FIDIC’s virtual meeting room today for a practical webinar organised by FIDIC’s capacity building committee to look at enhancing and improving the capacity of clients and employers in emerging countries on FIDIC contract management, writes FIDIC communications advisor Andy Walker.

The third event in the FIDIC committee webinar series on 23 February 2021 was attended by 449 people and moderated by Stephane Giraud, chair of FIDIC’s capacity building committee. The panellists included Jaime Gray, partner at NPG Abogados in Peru, Pierre Lorillou, senior hydropower specialist at the World Bank, Nguyen Nam Trung from the Power Engineering and Consulting JS Company 3 (PECC3) in Vietnam and Asel El Housan, founder and head of commercial and contracts at AEH Consultancy in the United Arab Emirates. They were joined at the event by FIDIC president Bill Howard and chief executive Dr Nelson Ogunshakin.

The practical webinar session saw the panellists address a number of questions about FIDIC contracts and those who work with them. The event explored the key skills a FIDIC contract manager needed to have to work well on projects and examined these skills in the three distinct project phases – procurement, project management and dispute resolution. Panellists were also asked about the key issues contract managers encounter on projects within their specific regions and they also highlighted the specific skills that they thought needed to be improved for FIDIC contract managers to be more effective.

Jaime Gray, partner at NPG Abogados in Peru, said that he thought that users needed to take advantage of the training in the practical experience in the use of FIDIC forms and he encouraged users to take all the different training events that had been made available by FIDIC. https://fidic.org/training  “Regarding managerial abilities, it is essential to understand that good courses on their own are not enough – practical experience was essential too.”

Pierre Lorillou, senior hydropower specialist at the World Bank, highlighted that training and development needed to be tailored to specific countries and needed to take into account the differing jurisprudence in pace in different parts of the world. FIDIC had a key role to play in providing this training and was doing so to help those countries that needed it. He also spoke about the challenges of FIDIC contracts being amended and urged attendees to have an adequate procurement strategy to avoid variations from contractual terms as this would minimise disputes.

FIDIC CEO Nelson Ogunshakin also recommended the use of the FIDIC Golden Principles, which highlighted those key parts of FIDIC contracts that should never be amended. A number of the panellists cautioned against amending FIDIC contracts or leaving out key clauses as this was a road to disaster on projects. If in doubt, users should consult the FIDIC Golden Principles or contact FIDIC for advice.

The discussion covered many different issues and questions in relation to specific FIDIC contracts and the panellists did their best to address these in the limited time available. Given the number and range of the questions asked at the webinar, it is clear that there is a real thirst for knowledge about FIDIC’s standard forms and how best to use them in different countries around the world. Fortunately, FIDIC has a wide range of training and development events to support its contract users and speaker after speaker at the webinar highlighted the importance of attendees taking advantage of this training which was of a very high quality.

Summing up the webinar, FIDIC president Bill Howard, thanked the panellists for dealing with a number of complex issues. “What we have heard today is that you need knowledgeable people who are trained in what they are doing who are using fair and balanced contracts,” he said. Speaking up for the prime and leading role of engineers on projects, Howard said: “The more you can keep the same engineer involved in a project from the inception of the project the better.”

Agreeing with his president and closing the webinar, Nelson Ogunshakin thanked the FIDIC capacity building committee chair Stephane Giraud and all the panellists for their support for FIDIC contracts and for bringing such crucial questions to the virtual table at an event which certainly explored the support available to clients working with FIDIC contracts and highlighted the real and lasting benefits of using them on global construction and infrastructure projects.

The next FIDIC webinar is Working together in the new normal place on Tuesday 2 March 2021 at 12 noon CET. Please register your place as soon as possible as another large turnout is expected for this event.

Click here to book your free place at the FIDIC webinar, “Working together in the new normal”.

Click here to find out more about FIDIC’s contract training events.

The recording of FIDIC's webinar on Improving the capacity of clients in emerging countries on FIDIC contract management can be viewed on the link below.

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