Following the construction industry and related legal topics in the United States.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Risk Allocation in Business Information Modeling (BIM)

The architect is responsible for design (with admittedly some exceptions for design work pushed down to specialty trades), the contractor is responsible for construction. Owners, designers and contractors have relied on this maxim for many years. But a couple of articles in a recent issue of Engineering News Record leaves no doubt that risks will have to be balanced in a much more complicated way as BIM begins to transform the construction industry.

Even at this early stage, it seems clear that BIM works best in a collaborative process where design and construction phases overlap, and the designer, the contractor and the major specialty trades each take the lead in developing the project model. Each player in the process (most importantly, the owner) should be prepared to accept a contractual risk allocation system that is more evenly balanced and nuanced than the old maxim.

The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBM) has begun work on a BIM standard that will foster the free flow of graphic and non-graphic information among all parties to the process in an open and rational environment. The standard will include business processes and rules, reference standards and implementation guidelines, among other things. It may be that this standard also will be helpful in establishing contractual roles and responsibilities.

To read these two articles, see here and here.


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