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

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"Unintended Liability Transfers" In the World of BIM

An interesting article on building information modeling (BIM) appeared in the December 2006 issue of Under Construction, the newsletter of the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry. Written by Derek Cunz and Dwight Larson of M.A. Mortenson Company, the article raised thought-provoking issues about what the authors called "unintended liability transfers" created by increased collaboration among owners, designers, contractors and suppliers.

The authors give as an example of where this can occur: the parties collaboratively detecting and resolving design, constructability, coordination, materials availability and other problems with the digital models delivered to them by the designer at various stages of design. The solutions to these problems can then be incorporated into the next stage of design. But what are the "rules" for this collaborative process? Who manages and controls the collaborative process? And who documents the decisions that are made, so that not only the solutions but also the analysis, evaluation and decision-making rationale behind the solutions are preserved --- and find their way into the change order process, if appropriate? New contractual provisions will have to be developed by the industry to address this collaborative process, which is at the very heart of BIM's value proposition. (This blog entry was published by Karen Carey of Womble Carlyle's construction and real estate development group.)


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