Works within or outside the Scope of Variation Clause Under the 2017 FIDIC Red Book

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"Variations are inevitable in most construction contracts and occur when one party to a contract, often an employer, alter the content of the contract. In most construction contracts the employer has the right to unilaterally alter the content of the contract according to a variation clause in the contract. The arrangement that allows one party to give the right to the other to unilaterally change the content of the contract, arises from the principle of freedom of contract; where parties can agree to such a variation clause. The 2017 FIDIC Red Book, like most standard forms of contract, provides the employer with considerable authority to vary, add, or omit work. The question is that to what extent can the scope of work be varied with no change in the underlying contract. Being a source of many disputes between contracting parties, variations need to be considered in view of the scope of contracted work. This requires a comparison between what it is being instructed to do as a variation and of what the contractor’s original work scope is under the terms of the relevant construction contract. This dissertation examines the scope of variation clause under the 2017 FIDIC Red Book, through exploring the origin and reason for variation clauses and through comparing such variation clause with other previous versions of the FIDIC Red Book to highlight the development in the drafting of the variation clause from 1977 to 2017. The dissertation also discusses whether some variations fall under the scope of a variation clause, being variations under the contract, or, exceed the scope of a variation clause to vary the basis of contract, and become variations to the contract. Finally, the dissertation seeks to draw a line between these two types of variations; namely ‘variations under a contract’ and ‘variations to a contract’. "