Friday, 21 June 2013

The CIC BIM protocol – a critical analysis

Brief overview
The recent publication of the BIM protocol and other documents by the BIM Task Group in collaboration with the Construction Industry Council (CIC) is commendable.

The CIC BIM protocol, which is the prime document in the series, gives context to the UK approach to legal issues that arise in the use of BIM working methods in projects.

The Protocol is simple and concise; it has eight clauses and a guidance section that gives a good background of its aims and objectives. It opens with a very helpful definition section that guides stakeholders through new terminology that comes with BIM.

The position of the protocol in the hierarchy of contract documents and the obligations of the parties could be summarised as follows:
  • The protocol takes priority over all other contract documents and in the event of a conflict between the terms of the protocol and the other contract documents, the protocol would prevail (including the main agreements between the parties)
  • The Employer is to arrange for a protocol in similar terms to be incorporated into all agreements for the project. The guidance note advises that this should be limited to parties involved in the use, production or delivery of models on the project
    • The Employer is to ensure that the Information Requirements (this is a document showing software choice, data drops, file naming and numbering convention, standards etc. It forms part of the Protocol, as appendix 2) and the Model Production Delivery Table (Model Production and Delivery Table is a document indicating models to be produced, parties required to produce them, Level of Detail of each model among others, it forms part of the protocol as appendix 1) are regularly updated unless the duty is assigned to another Project Team Member under the main contract between the parties
    • The Employer is to ensure that the Information Manager is appointed
      • The persons to be appointed to cover the role of the Information Manager at the different stages of the project are to be set out in the Information Requirements
      • The guidance section to the protocol (which does not form part of the protocol as a contract document) advises that the Employer is to appoint an Information Manager which may be the lead designer. It links the duties of the information Manager to the scope of services for the Information Manager prepared by the CIC. It also advises that the Information Manager shall have no design related duties which it suggests should remain the responsibility of the design lead.
  • Each Project Team Member is to produce the Specified Model (or Models) set out in the Model Production and Delivery Table (the Table) to the Level of Detail stated in the Table.
    • Using reasonable endeavours and subject to events outside its control, each Project Team Member is to deliver the Specified Models at the Specified Stage in accordance with the Information Requirements
    • Each Project Team Member is to arrange for the inclusion of this protocol into sub-contracts to allow it meet its obligations under the protocol
  • The protocol limits any liability for using the Specified Models and materials prepared during the course of the project to the Permitted Uses which is defined with reference to the Level of Detail of the relevant model.
The protocol is drafted for projects at level 2 of the UK BIM maturity index. At this level of BIM (adopting the terminology of the Protocol), Project Team Members identified as originators in the Model Production and Delivery Table produce the models specified under the Table as required by the Information Requirements and retain control over such models. Information is sourced from other models by reference, federation and direct information exchange. Basically a change in one model does not automatically create a change in another model, the model originators retain full control over the contents of their models adding information to it from other models as is required in line with the Permitted Uses until the model is handed over in the latter stages of the project. The protocol encourages parties to adopt common standards/working methods like those under PAS 1192-2.
PAS1192 -2 sets out a framework for collaborative working and specific guidance for the management of the information exchange process including the setup of a Common Data Environment (CDE).

One of the advantages of the early release of the CIC BIM protocol is that it allows sufficient time for it to be analysed in various context before it becomes a common feature of construction contracts. In this article we have highlighted two areas that may require some attention or further analysis.
On 1 July 2013, NBS will hold a second Expert Roundtable on BIM legal issues, where these and many other issues relating to the legal aspects of the adoption of BIM will be discussed extensively.

See the full report by Koko Udom NBS Head of Contracts and Law at :

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