The text of the BIM Protocol – the document that will set out the client’s contractual expectations on Level 2 BIM – has been finalised and is expected to be published on the BIM Task Group website before Christmas.
The protocol is an “overlay” that will operate alongside all the major standard construction forms, including the JCT, NEC and PPC 2000.
It creates an obligation on the contracting parties to work via a BIM model, but is otherwise designed to make minimal changes to standard contractual arrangements.
The protocol, which has been drafted by a Construction Industry Council committee, is due to be mandated for use on central government contracts from 2016.
It is expected to be used on ‘early adopter’ BIM projects underway at the Ministry of Justice, then gradually be taken up by central government departments and national agencies. The Highways Agency is understood to be next in line to adopt BIM in live projects.
“Cookham Wood uses PPC 2000, and government contracts will continue to use the forms they are most comfortable with anyway. But the BIM protocol will become the norm in how BIM contracts are issued,” commented Graham Watts, chief executive of the CIC.
Level 2 BIM is set up as a halfway house between current practice and fully collaborative BIM. It envisages that project teams will work to current norms on issues such as intellectual property, copyright and contractual responsibilities, and share project data held in separate 3D models through integrating software, such as Autodesk Navisworks.
‘You can still blame someone else, and in effect people are still in their contractual and legal siloes. But Level 3 BIM will involve sharing everything, and you can’t point the finger at anyone. That’s the stage when we will need new contracts and forms of insurance,” commented Richard Saxon, a member of the government’s BIM task group.
According to the CIC website, the protocol is to be incorporated into direct appointments between the employer and the project team only, and will not automatically be passed down the contractual chain, although this could happen by negotiation.
The BIM Protocol is expected to include a Model Delivery Table (MDT) and the Information Plan (IP). The MDT will determine what must be developed and by whom, while the Information Plan defines how the model is developed.