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Construction Law/fidic 1999 contract design drawings


Hi Mr John,

I'm a main contractor with a project under fidic 1999 1st edition in uae, we are facing a disagreement with the engineer as he keeps on issuing issued for construction design drawings in PDF format. We have in numerous times sent letters reminding them to issue the soft copies of these files and they keep on saying that it's not part of their duty and we should just redo the everything for our shop drawing.

This is the first time im using fidic 1999 and I can't find any clause pertaining to this issue.

Can you clarify this matter. Is the engineer not responsible for issuing to the main contractor the autocad files of their design?  And which clause should i use to counter such statement. I've been in numerous projects and I haven't encountered such a case.

Thank you for your time

Dear Mitchel,

Thank you for this question.

You are correct in identifying that the FIDIC form of contract does not specify the format in which drawings are to provided to the Contractor.. Sub clause 1.8 simply states that 2 copies will be provided and the Contractor can request further copies at his expense. As such the Engineer is not wrong; however it is easy to draw an inference that there is a lack of co-operation. The fault, if there is one, rests in the failure by the Employer to specify the format in the tender/contract documents.

In this situation I suggest that you can try two different approaches. Firstly you could ask for additional copies at your expense AND specify that you require the additional copy in AutoCad. Secondly, you could write to the Engineer, with a copy to the Employer, indicating that the practice of issuing drawings in PDF only is, in your experience, inconsistent with modern practice in the construction industry and causes unnecessary expense with a high probability of causing delay. I suggest that you close by asking, in the spirit of co-operation and to the benefit of the project, that AutoCad copies are issued as the preferred medium.

I hope that this assists you.

Kind regards,
John Dowse

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John Dowse


Legal; contract interpretation; quantum; delay analysis. Practitioner in arbitration, adjudication and mediation.


Thirty-three (33) years experience in building and construction, at all levels both within contracting and consulting organisations. Practising arbitrator, adjudicator, and mediator. Faculty approved trainer for the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Lecturer on construction contract forms and dispute resolution practices.

Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Institute of Directors Society of Construction Arbitrators

Various UK and International construction and legal publications.

LLB (Hons), Pg Dip (Legal Practice), MCInstCES MCIArb MIOD Barrister

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