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BIM for Risk Management

BIM has been widely implemented in architectural-engineering-construction (AEC) industry. In order to use BIM properly, a careful examination of the criteria of BIM for execution on the project is essential. An attorney who is well versed with BIM contract language should be appointed to evaluate the BIM application process.

There are two commonly used documents focusing on the framework of BIM :-

AGC ConsensusDOCS 301 BIM Addendum - This document is developed by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America. This type of document is mainly created to plug the void originated from typical standard form agreements which insufficiently, or can’t fully deal with BIM. This document takes into consideration different segments like definitions, information management, the BIM implementation plan, risk sharing, intellectual property rights, and collaboration.

AIA E202-2008 Building Information Modeling Protocol - This document is developed by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The document aimed at creating an outline for establishing model content, model handling, and model element responsibility.

The above two documents are very effective in communicating & controlling the risk assignment concerning with BIM implementation.

The parties involved in the project should initially make a decision on the purpose of the model. Once it has been settled, determination the risks for each party become easier.

Before applying BIM in a project, design professionals must highlight some fundamental risk management ideas to find out the legitimacy of BIM. Some of those considerations are as follows:-

BIM involves new business models, hardware, software, and human capital. The costs and risks may relate with the hardware and software investments. BIM is a multifaceted design tool and a thorough understanding of the software is necessary to efficiently deal with and assure design liability.

In order to drive a BIM model there should be enough control and understanding of the technology towards controlling it’s unpredictability and blurred lines of right and responsibility. Project managers should be trained in every phases of the BIM platform

Every organization will have to be conscious of several technical challenges that generate risk in order that it may employ mitigation measures. These types of technical issues may range from interoperability, software limitations, and file storage and transfer limitations. 

There should be proper BIM related service agreements authorized by owners, design professionals, and their legal counsel.

To reap the prospective BIM benefits the risks and information should be allocated equally between the design-construction team as well as the owner, designer, contractor, subcontractors, and suppliers.

Designers must be careful at the time of generating the model with the intention that the Building Information Model they utilize is not restricted to a solitary source, if not an owner purposely ask for it.

Software manufacturers should be cautious toward over-promise or certification of the competence of their products which facilitates design professionals, project owners & others team members associated with the project to easily access to the BIM. All parties must perform mutually to build up new contract forms useful for addressing, allocating, and distributing risk impartially in a clear way.

Design changes in a BIM model may result in enhancing the risk of design and range of services. Information along with design elements is provided into the BIM database and the database communicates elements of a building design. So if a change happens to one phase of the design all interrelated designs consequently are reconfigured. The push for applying BIM’s flexibility to create change upon change right equal to and together with bidding and construction will have to be uncompromisingly controlled and persistently restrained. Although make alteration in BIM is simple, but budgets and design-construction schedules are not as flexible.

Design professionals have to face several quarries while finalizing their design documents. These quarries may range from - What control over the design is to be surrendered to the software providers, contractors, subcontractors, manufacturers, and suppliers? Where should be the line involving the designer-of-record and the other entities contributing input to the model? Should the designer-of-record express his/her control over the design without having BIM expertise? Exclusive of sufficient supervision, is BIM close to the risks concerning off shore outsourcing?

BIM touts its ability to eliminate design conflicts, reduce errors, and limit omissions. But a question remains – will the use of BIM raise the standard of care? Will design professionals using BIM be held to a standard of care equal to perfection or something very close to it? It will be a long while before there is case law addressing these questions. In the short term, designers need to be proactive in defining and reinforcing the concept that the standard of care for BIM-delivered projects as being the same as the standard of care for conventionally-delivered designs.

The BIM users should have sufficient technical and managerial skills toward managing access to all the “pieces and parts, revising & tracking model changes for successfully control model inputs and outputs.

Design professionals while delivering BIM-related information to Consultants, contractors, suppliers, and subcontractors, should necessitate an executed disclaimer like those presently utilized together with providing CADD files.

The risks may also be connected with working across software boundaries in creating design-construction software work.

Design professionals find it difficult to handle the design process for sufficient detailing and quality assurance/control activities. If any construction document is issued from a BIM model not highlighting detail and quality reviews properly, may lead to budget and schedule failures. So designers should assign the essential resources to get rid of the problems.

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