Thursday, May 19, 2011

Architect Sued for "Defective BIM"... on a Design-Bid-Build Project

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

The article linked below highlights the need for stakeholders on complex Design-Bid-Build projects that employ BIM tools to craft a set of BIM Addenda that carefully delineate the rights, responsibilities and duties of the various parties.  Here, an architect appears to have utilized BIM tools that indicated certain mechanical systems would fit in certain spaces.  Apparently, the mechanical systems fit in the digital world but NOT in the real world.  Designers providing BIM under a traditional set of Design-Bid-Build contracts are exposing themselves to additional liability if they fail to execute appropriate BIM Addenda and BIM Communication Protocols.  In my presentations I depict these designers as walking a high-rope without a net.

If you are faced with such a situation be sure to call.  While Collaborative Construction prefers to work with the entire team to craft effective integrated agreements and to conduct collaborative workshops related to the successful implementation of IPD, BIM and lean processes we recognize the need for work-arounds and solutions to the problems raised by blending Design-Bid-Build contracts with BIM processes.

Cases like these will become more frequent and the next step for plaintiff's lawyers in these cases will be to argue BIM is the new standard of care and any designer NOT utilizing BIM can be held liable for vague, ambiguous or unreadable drawings.

Feel free to call if you have any questions.

ENR Article re: BIM Liability

James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446
JamesLSalmon@gmailcom
Collaborative Construction Website
Sustainable Land Development International

1 comment:

Murray said...

The BIM is likely not the real issue. Designers often create things that don't fit or cannot be constructed. In the construction world before BIM, the solution was a constructability review that uncovered these errors and hopefully resolved them before construction. It required the close and communicative cooperation of designers and constructors to weed out these issues so that a facility could be built reliably. It depended on active participation of both parties to ensure that the final product met not only the design intent, but also the owner's vision.

In this case, the architect argued that the installation required a specific sequence so that the job could be built according to the intent documents, but neglected to communicate the importance of this to the constructor. The constructor accepted the documents and either failed to recognize the need for the installation sequence or failed to properly coordinate the fabrication models/drawings, in which tolerances play an important role.

Without total visibility to the actual argument presented, I infer that the the failure was that of communication, not of the BIM. It may have been improper use of the technology, but not the technology. I suggest that before we damn the BIM, we consider the designer and constructor collaborating to discover and resolve these issue openly. This is about sharing important information and I, for one, am not going to be so quick as to blame technology.