Anecdotally BIM level 2 projects have seen real benefits for the constructions teams and clients, valued at a £840m saving to the government in 2015. The government brought its BIM mandate into force in April 2016. Now, as we approach the 2nd anniversary of that date, the short comings in the BIM framework are becoming apparent and risk derailing BIM on future UK projects.
The UK BIM Alliance has recently published the excellent Winfield Rock Report which looks at contractual barriers to BIM. The report can be downloaded at the bottom of the page.
After the government announced their BIM intentions back in 2011, various leading industry minds produced guidance and contractual documents, namely the PAS 1192 suite of documents and CIC BIM protocol. They were written in anticipation of a new way of working, now that they have been used in anger snags are becoming apparent.
The CIC BIM protocol is a contractual document that is appended onto existing available contract (eg JCT Design and Build). Often the Protocol is hastily written by a client’s legal team that does not understand the relevant clauses, as a result the protocol included in a contract is left with blank sections. This is the equivalent of asking the design and construction team to build a house but not give any briefing, they are expected to guess what it is you might want. It also makes fee determination near impossible.
Clients are required to deliver Employer Information Requirements (EiRs) to tendering suppliers. This contract document is often missing and replaced with the contractually meaningless term “project to be delivered to BIM level 2”. Clients are not being intentionally obtuse, it is purely that they are unaware that there is no legal definition of level 2.
The PAS 1192 suite is by its nature is untested, unlike a British Standard. Their ambition is commendable and for the most part are excellent guidance. PAS1192:2013-2 puts in place processes that get the team working collaboratively with clear aims on client deliverables. However the roles and responsibilities are not aligned fully to how the industry works, it does not easily fit current procurement models, it over emphasises the need for COBie, and it renames existing industry processes which adds confusion to even seasoned construction veterans.
What’s needed to fix it
Clients need assistance in preparing EiRs and the CIC BIM protocol. They need those experienced in BIM to ascertain what their goals are and how that can be translated into the contract documents. An update to the CIC BIM protocol is expected in 2018 to remedy short comings that were experienced on projects up until now. It is hoped it will simplify the documents from a client perspective.
The jargon in the PAS documents needs to be cut out and instead refer back to existing terms in the construction industry. It also needs to offer greater flexibly on how BIM projects are delivered. International standards under development (ISO 19650) are expected to address some of these concerns.
The BIM Execution Plan, the document outlining how suppliers will deliver the client’s BIM requirement, needs to have a stronger contractual status, unlike present. This will ensure that each party is delivering on their responsibly to make BIM the truly collaborative process. When we work together in an agreed manner to achieve a clearly defined goal all parties will reap the benefits.
How can maber help
- Meet with those considering embarking on a construction project.
We can, jargon free, explain what BIM is and outline the number of ways it can help a client in the design, construction and operation phase
- We can explain the components of the CIC BIM protocol and how it should be completed to meet individual needs
- We can assist in producing Employers Information Requirements
- When bidding with contractors we can help ascertain what it is the client’s EiRs and CIC BIM Protocol is asking for.