BIM provides obligations that can trump the terms and conditions of your contractual agreement. Do you know how, or where to look to find out?
In a recent article we described the often-uncomfortable reaction of designers, contractors and specialist suppliers to the question “Do you know your contractual obligations for BIM?” Blank looks, embarrassed shuffling, worried frowns.
A surprising number of organisations are still unaware of the way Building Information Modelling (BIM) is written into design appointments and building contracts. The recent publication of the second edition of the Building Information Modelling (BIM) Protocol has addressed a number of the issues that previously caused confusion, but relatively few people are aware of the changes and remain unsure of the implications on their projects, or their business.
Where to Look
Check your appointment or contract documents, or tender information that sets out what is intended to be incorporated in these in the future. For the most commonly used building contracts, be aware of the following:
The situation with the JCT suite of building contracts is often considered complex, but the BIM Protocol provides clear guidance on how it should be incorporated and the required steps that give the BIM Protocol precedence and priority.
Traditionally, JCT contracts have included the principle that nothing contained in any other document or framework would override its conditions (e.g. clause 1.3 of the standard building contract without quantities 2016 SBC/XQ). However, the incorporation of the BIM Protocol into the JCT contract (Article 8 clause 1.1) then sees the reversal of this priority by providing that:
- The BIM Protocol shall prevail in the case of any conflict or inconsistency, (clause 1.4 of the BIM Protocol)
- The contract agreement is amended to enable the BIM Protocol to take precedence as set out in item 3 of the Guidance section of the Protocol (CIC/BIM Pro Second Edition 2018)
These provisions ensure that the BIM Protocol has contractual effect and the parties must then:
- comply with their respective BIM obligations
- have the benefits of the rights granted to them
- have the benefit of any limitations or exclusions of their liability
The incorporation of BIM within the NEC4 suite of contracts is relatively straightforward and seamless. Selection of secondary Option X10 provides for a separate BIM Protocol to be included as the Information Model Requirements in the project Scope.
Alternatively, BIM can be incorporated without a separate protocol, including the Client’s Information Model Requirements and Contractor’s Information Execution Plan directly into the Scope.
Aspects of the CIC BIM Protocol may also be brought directly into the NEC4 Scope, to provide other provisions and mechanisms, including clarification on the precedence of documents.
What You Need to Do
These issues can be far-reaching and careful attention is needed to the details of the BIM Protocol, the documents it refers to, and the combined effect of these with the particular terms of appointment or contract.
The BIM Protocol clarifies these intentions and project teams may need guidance to ensure their strategy reflects the new reality.
Seek experienced help to ensure your team understands its obligations, rights and remedies. These are relatively new mechanisms to the industry, so your training and procedures should be updated to keep pace with the change and protect your organisation from any unforeseen risks.
How to Get Help
BIMcert can provide consultancy, training and certification to meet your business needs.
To find out more about BIM and ‘Level 2’ requirements, follow this link.
Contact us for details.
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