the newsletter of tbd consultants - edition 9, 1st qtr 2008

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In this Edition

Las Vegas Casinos
Two-Tier Markets
The FIDIC Rainbow
Surface Computing

Construction Management Specialists
111 Pine Street, Suite 1315
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 981-9430


Las Vegas Casinos

Bigger, gaudier, more ostentatious. Yes, this is Las Vegas. In this article we look into the considerations that go into the design and construction of casinos.


Two-Tier Markets

Subprime became the word-of-the-year for 2007, and for good reason. What does the collapse of the housing market portend for the construction industry in the coming year?


The FIDIC Rainbow

The FIDIC (Federation Internationale Des Ingeniers - Conseils) form of contract is the recognized standard contract form for international civil engineering projects, and with amendments is also commonly used for international architectural projects.

Since it is aimed at international projects, versions of the document can exist in different languages, but a "ruling language" for legal purposes can be specified. Some of the terms in the English version of the contract may sound foreign to US designers and contractors:

  • Bids are obtained using a Bill of Quantities (BoQ), which specifies the work items and their respective quantities, although all quantities are subject to remeasurement on completion, and the contract price will be adjusted based on these remeasurements and the unit rates that had been applied to the original quantities.
  • "Bids" are actually referred to as "Tenders" in the FIDIC forms.
  • "Change orders" are called "Variations"
  • The construction schedule is called the "Programme"
  • Lump sum allowances in the BoQ are called "Provisional Sums"

The two parties to the contract are the Employer (building owner) and the Contractor; the Engineer (or architect) is not a party to the contract, but his/her duties are defined in the contract. One of those duties is to issue a decision, based on the contract terms, in the event of a dispute between the Employer and the Contractor, but if either of the parties is dissatisfied with the Engineer's ruling, the matter can be referred to mediation or conciliation, or ultimately to arbitration. Ideally, of course, disputes will be avoided, and to that aim the contract conditions are written with the goal of fairly distributing project risk.

The FIDIC form referred to above is known as the Red Book, but there are other colors available as well:

The White Book is the FIDIC standard form of agreement between a building owner and a design consultant.

The Yellow Book is their contract form for electrical and mechanical work.

The Orange Book is for Design-Build and Turnkey projects.

The Silver Book is for EPC (Engineer, Procure, Contruct) turnkey contracts.

The Green Book or Short Form is for engineering and architectural work of small capital value.

Tendering Procedures is a document describing procedures for obtaining and assessing bids in a quick and fair manner.


Geoff’s IT Gems
Surface Computing

The next big thing in computers is coming to a coffee table near you! Horizontal screen and collaboration is at the heart of this latest innovation from Microsoft.


Design consultant: Katie Levine of Vallance, Inc.