«

»

Jul 02 2012

Print this Post

FIDIC – behind the times when it comes to collaboration?

(A guest post by document control manager Edward Surgeon, partly stimulated by my previous coverage of contract change management features on construction collaboration platforms.)

As a document control manager, a big part of my job is to maximise user adoption of our collaboration system across our projects.

This means that my radar is always scanning for anything that might cause people not to use the system. I recently discovered such an example during a FIDIC contract training course I attended.

Most course attendees were contracts people. However, I was more interested in analysing FIDIC from a document management point of view. I wanted to explore the question: how should I/we be tweaking our contracts, document management procedures and collaboration tool configuration to best align with the FIDIC environment?

FIDIC red bookMy first observation was that none of the main FIDIC General Conditions of Contract books we use (Red and Yellow) have been updated since their first editions in 1999.  Not surprisingly, the language used is still very much from the pre-internet paper-based world. One example of this comes from FIDIC Red Book Section 1.8 – Care and Supply of Documents:

…. Unless otherwise stated in the Contract, the Contractor shall supply to the Engineer six copies of each of the Contractor’s Documents.

It turns out that “six copies” is a legacy from the pre-plotter days where that was the maximum number of carbon copies that could be made! This makes sense if you’re living in 1960 when making copies was difficult. Today, however, insisting that the contractor provide six printed sets of all shop drawings is unnecessary. It means there is contractual focus on a redundant hard copy transaction when the focus ought to be on making sure the contractor issues the documents via the collaboration platform.

Then I asked the course facilitator (a FIDIC expert and construction industry veteran) how he expects the increasing use of collaboration tools to influence future editions of FIDIC. To my astonishment, he had not heard of the collaboration vendors I mentioned, and he was completely unfamiliar with the concept of a collaboration tool!

I hope the people at FIDIC are paying more attention to collaboration tools when they write the second editions (whenever that may be).

Meanwhile, am I being unfair to FIDIC? Perhaps FIDIC is being deployed in environments where use of a web-based collaboration technology is difficult? I would also be interested to hear from any vendors who have supported FIDIC processes.

Permanent link to this article: http://extranetevolution.com/2012/07/fidic-behind-the-times-when-it-comes-to-collaboration/

4 comments

3 pings

Skip to comment form

  1. Alex Rock

    There is no doubt collaboration tools improve the work of staff. We also use one of the systems at the moment – which seems to us to be the best solution on the market in collaboration software groupware. By the way, you can estimate the full version for free TeamWox an unlimited number of users here.

  2. Ben Delves

    I come from a construction background where web-based collaboration tools are used more often than not. I now work in the Engineering industry (Energy) and collaboration tools seem much rarer. Companies are much more focused on protection of Intellectual Property and prefer collaboration tools to be hosted on their servers. This seems very alien to me because it makes collaboration with customers and suppliers much more difficult. For cutting edge companies to still run bespoke server based software with add ons for “collaboration” just seems wrong but getting them to understand that is the big challenge!

  3. g Couturier

    I fully concur with the analysis of the author and i hope that FIDIC will com with the appropriate pallette of FIDIC BIM contracts which are much needed in our industry.

  4. Eimear ni Ruairc

    Entirely correct………..I have discovered that the construction industry is better versed however in collaboration tools than the energy industry even though their contracts are more cumbersome in form and more restrictive in nature…….no doubt the difference in public and private procurement. Another difference is that contracts in the construction sector take longer to execute than those in the energy sector whether they involve public or private procurement. There are a great many inefficiencies that appear to me to be endemic with public administration which in itself is helped neither by the hoop jumping exercises nor the contract formats both of which are geared at offering a transparency in procedure because sadly a good many people cannot be trusted to do the right thing.

  1. Why do we not embrace Lean Construction in the UAE? « Neil's Construction Industry Blog

    […] “FIDIC Collaboration”: leads you to an interesting blog by Edward Surgeon:  FIDIC – behind the times when it comes to collaboration. Edward notes that “My first observation was that none of the main FIDIC General Conditions of […]

  2. Evangelizing Collaboration Tools

    […] this terrific blog post by our former colleague at Aconex, Ed Surgeon. In “FIDIC – behind the times when it comes to collaboration?” Ed notes “none of the main FIDIC General Conditions of Contract books we use (Red and Yellow) […]

  3. Why do we not embrace Lean Construction in the Middle East? | Neil's Construction Industry Blog

    […] “FIDIC Collaboration”: leads you to an interesting blog by Edward Surgeon:  FIDIC – behind the times when it comes to collaboration. Edward notes that “My first observation was that none of the main FIDIC General Conditions of […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>