Building Information Modeling (BIM): Special Contract Issues

By Gregory R. Andre, K&L Gates, Chicago

Building Information Modeling (“BIM”) is the use of a digital database to integrate the work of all of the design and construction project team members and generate two-dimensional and three-dimensional models, plans and reports.  Cost and scheduling can be added to create fourth and fifth dimensions. It is a tool that facilitates design collaboration and is intended to avoid conflicts and errors in the plans.  Simply stated, BIM makes design a group effort, and it raises special contract issues as discussed below.  BIM can be used under all of the delivery methods, and is especially encouraged under Integrated Project Delivery (“IPD”).

Instead of each design professional (architect, steel fabricator, HVAC subcontractor, etc.) producing multiple separate and independent plans for one building, BIM allows a team of architects and engineers to all contribute their respective plan and specifications data to one computer model for one building.  BIM provides the technology to not only coordinate various building component designs, but also to understand how design changes will impact the cost and timing of the project.  The design of one building component, say the HVAC ductwork, can be changed, and BIM will automatically change the other building components to accommodate it and present the overall economic effect and schedule impact due to the change.

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Reprinted with Permission. ©2011 CCH Incorporated. All rights reserved.

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