FIDIC 1999 and NEC4 contracts compared
FIDIC 1999 and NEC4 contracts compared

The following Construction guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • FIDIC 1999 and NEC4 contracts compared
  • Overall philosophy
  • Types of project for which the contract is suitable
  • Language, structure and style
  • Contract administration
  • Pricing structure
  • Payment process
  • Delay
  • Extensions of time (EoTs)
  • Monetary claims
  • more

This Practice Note contrasts and compares key features of the FIDIC 1999 and NEC4 contracts. It focuses on the NEC4 Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC) and the FIDIC Red Book 1999 (Red Book), which is used where the Contractor is building to the Employer’s design.

In relation to the 2017 edition of the Red Book, see Practice Note: FIDIC 2017 and NEC4 contracts compared.

Overall philosophy


The FIDIC contracts are the pre-eminent international standard form construction contract. They are known for being ‘written by engineers, for engineers’. The contracts are also known for their balanced risk allocation with risks falling with the party better placed to bear them (the EPC/Turnkey form, commonly known as the Silver Book, is somewhat of an exception to this).

Unsurprisingly for a contract suite developed by engineers, the Engineer plays a prominent role in some of the FIDIC contracts, including the Red Book.

For a general introduction to FIDIC contracts, see Practice Note: FIDIC contracts—introduction. For a more detailed introduction to the Red Book, see Practice Note: FIDIC contracts—introduction to the Red Book 1999. For further materials on FIDIC contracts, see the FIDIC sub-topic: FIDIC contracts.


The NEC contracts emphasise collaboration and pro-active risk management. A key principle is that the parties should act in a ‘spirit of mutual trust and co-operation’ which is enshrined in