FIDIC 2017 and NEC4 contracts compared
Produced in partnership with Ashurst
FIDIC 2017 and NEC4 contracts compared

The following Construction guidance note Produced in partnership with Ashurst provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • FIDIC 2017 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 2017 and NEC4 contracts. It focuses on the NEC4 Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC) and the FIDIC Red Book 2017 (Red Book), which is used where the Contractor is building to the Employer’s design (note however that should the works include an element of Contractor design the Red Book caters for this).

In relation to the 1999 edition of the FIDIC Red Book, see Practice Note: FIDIC 1999 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. There were significant changes to the Red Book in the 2017 update, the intention of which was to remove the need for the historic and common amendments implemented by parties to the standard form. This intent is to be applauded but whether or not this objective has been achieved in all circumstances remains to