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Building Information Modelling (BIM)

The government’s construction strategy requires that all government projects utilise Building Information Modelling (BIM) or at least a fully collaborative 3D computer model (Level 2) by 2016, with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic.

Level 2 BIM, as defined by the NBS Roundtable, 12 July 2012, is:

“a series of federated models prepared by different design teams (the number of models and purpose to be determined by the Employer), put together in the context of a common framework for the purpose of being used for a single project with licences granted to other project teams members to use the information contained in the federated models”.

BIM is a way of approaching the design and documentation of a project, utilising 3D computer technology which is shared amongst the design and construction teams, incorporating cost, programme, design, physical performance and other information regarding the entire life cycle of the building in the construction information/building model. BIM is not simply the use of 3D technology – it is a way of design and construction.

Fenwick Elliott recognise that as the use of BIM spreads throughout the construction industry, concerns regarding its impact on traditional legal and contractual roles will arise. For example:

  • Does the use of BIM alter the traditional allocation of responsibilities as between the client, contractors, designers and suppliers?
  • How (if at all) should standard form appointments and building contracts be altered to account for the use of BIM?

We also appreciate that it is important that parties and their advisors understand the BIM environment they are working in. Do you need a BIM Protocol? What is and who owns the BIM model? What are the responsibilities of the BIM Information Manager? Does the party managing the model assume additional liabilities and risk?

At Fenwick Elliott, we understand the BIM process. The key to the successful implementation of BIM is not in the legal nuances. Its success depends on close collaboration at the outset with the client, contractors, consultants and suppliers, and the establishment of a well-developed BIM Protocol.

We are therefore well placed to offer support to you whatever stage your project is at, whether it is making provision for BIM in the tender or contract documentation or dealing with questions about design obligations which may arise during the currency of the project.

Clients consistently praise the team's result-focused approach to negotiations and find the firm to be very good value for money.
Chambers and Partners UK