Trial is an attempt to allay industry fears about BIM liability risk

The government hopes to trial “no fault” project insurance on BIM projects in an effort to allay industry fears about liability risk on the technology.

Chief construction adviser Paul Morrell told the National Federation of Builders’ annual conference last Thursday that the government hopes the insurance scheme will be used on a “pathfinder” Ministry of Justice BIM programme next year.

Industry sources told Building that fears about liability on BIM schemes that go wrong could impede widespread industry adoption of BIM.

Richard Bailey, managing director of Bam Construct, said: “There’s still a lot of unease about who owns [the BIM model] and risk allocation and proportion of liability.

“[I’m pleased Paul Morrell is] trying to get ahead so that it doesn’t become an issue and a reason not to use BIM.”

It is understood two insurance brokers, Griffiths & Armour and Tysers, are working to bring insurers on board.

A source close to Morrell said that under the proposed system, construction companies will together pay upfront towards a “significant” project excess in return for “no fault” cover, where the insurer picks up the cost if part of a project goes wrong.

But the source claimed the scheme would work out cheaper for firms than existing cover, as it would remove the “time and money wasted by firms passing on risk on projects”.

Morrell also revealed at the event that he will lead a review of the government’s use of frameworks to report “by Easter”, with a view to breaking up “weak” frameworks.

Morrell said: “We want to get rid of weak frameworks, where work is bundled up with no effort towards economies of scale.”

He also revealed that he had been involved in battles with the Treasury over the publication of the government’s forward pipeline of public projects.