Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a tool for construction design and information using a digital model to enable collaborative design development within a project design team and supply chain. This information is used for construction procurement, construction and subsequent building maintenance.
The government officially mandated BIM level 2 (a managed 3D environment) for all centrally procured government projects from April 2016 and BIM has now become the industry norm for the design of major construction projects.
The Protocol updates the previous edition, and in particular aligns itself with PAS 1192-2:2013, which is the specification for information management on BIM projects.
This update is important as the Protocol is intended to be incorporated into design team contracts (JCT/NEC/bespoke etc.) and has the ability to take precedence over the base contract terms. Care is therefore required when using the updated Protocol to ensure that it is properly incorporated into project design team contracts, to avoid any confusion or conflict as to the designer’s obligations.
Key changes include:
Alignment with PAS 1192-2: The specification for information management on construction projects.
Responsibility Matrix: Setting out the responsibility for model or information production in line with defined project stages.
Permitted Purpose: The definitions of how information can be used have been updated.
Protocol and Agreement: Details where the Protocol can take precedence over the design team contract agreement. This attempts to create a minimum set of consistent obligations across the project design team, however for this to take effect the agreement must state that the Protocol takes precedence.
Co-ordination: A new process is included for co-ordinating information and resolving inconsistencies.
Interoperability: A project team member now (without prejudice to their other obligations) gives no warranty that software is compatible with that of any other project team member or the Employer.
Copyright: Increased flexibility.
Security: Reference now made to the Built Asset Security Manager, Security Requirements, Sensitive Information and Employer remedies if security obligations are breached.
Another consideration is the effect the Protocol will have on professional indemnity insurance. It is acknowledged that the first edition of the Protocol did not compromise existing insurances, indeed it had the potential to be a good risk management tool by aiming to correct issues that might only become apparent when the project is on site.
However, care should now be taken with the new Protocol to ensure it is properly incorporated into agreements in order to prevent consequential conflicts. Professional indemnity insurers of construction professionals may now be interested to obtain confirmation from their insureds of the incorporation of the Protocol into agreements by competent legal advisors, to ensure the correct obligations are being allocated to the insured and additional duties are not being adopted in error.