Legal: Second time's a charm

francis ho bw 2017

Francis Ho concludes that the new edition of the CIC’s BIM Protocol effectively addresses the main concerns about its predecessor

francis ho bw 2017

As the first British prime minister to call a European referendum said, a week is a long time in politics. How long then is a half-decade in the swift-flowing realm of digital construction? 

It was in February 2013 that the Construction Industry Council (CIC) and the BIM Task Group introduced their first BIM Protocol. A document intended to help project teams fulfil the government’s Level 2 BIM mandate (interestingly, the 2011 Government Construction Strategy referred to “fully collaborative 3D BIM” rather than Level 2 maturity), it set out each member’s roles and responsibilities for the building information model and took priority over terms in the relevant construction contract. Now the CIC returns with a second edition.

The original protocol displaced the underlying contract whenever there was a conflict or inconsistency. That didn’t seem particularly collaborative. Now parties must agree a solution

Looking back, its forerunner could be oddly discombobulated where it came to collaborative working. Project team members retained ownership of copyright in electronic data while others received user licences – yet these might potentially be suspended or revoked for non-payment, which could be disastrous in a BIM project. The common data environment (CDE), regarded as essential for co-operation, was barely alluded to. If the employer compiled the technical information required by the BIM Protocol’s appendices inadequately, the protocol struggled to facilitate BIM at all.

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