Sunday, November 3, 2013

Integrated Procurement Laws

As regular readers know I've been retained by Middlesex University out of London to deliver content related to the new MCs in BIM Management and Strategy offered by MDX. The course explores BIM from three primary perspectives, technology, management and strategy.  Those who succeed in completing the course expect to gain skills relevant to adopting, adapting and deploying in accordance with the mandate, by the UK government, that BIM be utilized on the vast majority of future government projects.

My contribution constitutes a series of lectures that focus on the cultural and legal impacts of BIM and IPD and the lectures tie directly to the Smart Built Culture series that will be launched in 2014.  This blog will serve as sounding board relative to the series and the MDX course.  The essay below tackles the issue of procurement laws and regulations, an area where culture and law swirl in a toxic brew.  In my estimation, the built industry can do better.  But will we?  Please reach out if you and your organization want to be part of the solution.

Are Integrated Procurement Laws the Real Keystone?

In the procurement world building information modeling (BIM) enabled infrastructure requires support in much the same way integrated project delivery (IPD) requires support in the construction world. Procurement of BIM enabled infrastructure is actually more complex and more difficult to achieve than procurement of planning, design and construction services in an IPD environment.  BIM, when deployed effectively, over time and across disciplines, "Googlizes" information related to the facilities / projects / infrastructure created in a fully integrated BIM environment. Unfortunately, few owners demand, or even understand, the full potential of "Googlized BIM" and instead insert BIM requirements in traditional tenders / requests for proposals that lack clarity and fail to provide planners, designers or constructors any real guidance. 

BIM enabled infrastructure, i.e. infrastructure planned, designed, constructed, commissioned, operated, managed and maintained while utilizing fully functional digital assets informed, supported and leveraged by an array of effective BIM tools, is almost impossible to create under existing procurement protocols.  This is especially true in the public sector. 

Sophisticated military weapons systems are "Googlized" in this manner on secure networks. BIM originated with defense contractors tasked with prototyping weapons systems. The software and hardware that enabled those early pioneers to virtually test a fighter jet now enable the built industry to do the same with a factory, hospital, office building, schools and other facilities. 

Public and private sector consumers of planning, design and construction services must rethink the mechanisms whereby they procure those services if BIM enabled infrastructure is the end goal. New generation procurement laws, regulations and legal instruments that support BIM enabled design and construction on the one hand and BIM enabled operations and maintenance on the other are required. 

Legal agreements dictate the rights, duties and responsibilities of those involved in complex commercial transactions. In other words, legal agreements control our legal relationships. The formation and successful deployment of an effective BIM enabled team of built professionals capable of delivering BIM enabled infrastructure should be controlled by an integrated legal framework.

Instead, most owners - in the public and private sector - utilize antiquated procurement programs dependent on a bid / tender system that splinters planners, designers, constructors and trade contractors from the start, forcing each entity to operate in a legal silo. Reforming these antiquated procurement laws must top the agenda if we ever hope to procure BIM enabled infrastructure and facilities. Current procurement laws REQUIRE designers submit 2D drawings of the building to the owner who tosses the drawings over the wall to construction community for bids / tenders. We need procurement laws that enabled integrated teams to build virtually FIRST and then build in the real world. 

A few institutional owners are beginning to think this through. When change comes it will be very fast. Firms need to be prepared. Is your firm ready?

Welcome to the Collaborative Revolution!

James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
300 Pike Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Summary of Services and James L. Salmon's CV

Office 513-721-5672
Fax 513-562-4388
Cell 512-630-4446

Collaborative Construction Website
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