UK: New BIM Protocol Published - What Do You Need To Know?

The 2nd edition of the UK's only standard form Building Information Modelling (BIM) Protocol was published on 10 April 2018 following significant consultation with the construction industry, legal practitioners and standard contract publishing bodies and is stated to have 'been updated to reflect current practices and standards regarding the use of BIM'. Sarah Rock takes a look at some of the main changes.

PAS1192-2

One very welcome addition in the updated Protocol, which will please most BIM purists, is the inclusion throughout of reference to PAS1192-2 (the standard which sets out the BIM requirements for the CAPEX phase of a project). PAS1192-2 is seen by many as defining BIM Level 2 and as providing all of the processes and workflows which are to be followed. Aligning these two documents and changing the Protocol's terminology to be consistent with PAS1192-2 will surely allow for more coherence across BIM projects.

Responsibility Matrix

The authors of the 2nd edition have removed the Model Production and Delivery Table (MPDT) in favour of a Responsibility Matrix. Returning to more traditional terminology and moving away from BIM 'jargon' in this way could assist further in the uptake and understanding of BIM. The appendix, which will contain the Responsibility Matrix, is blank leaving it to the user to insert their own matrix and align it to both information and models in a much less restrictive way than the previous edition.

Compliance with the timeframe of the Responsibility Matrix has been made subject to any extension of time applicable under the over-arching agreement, as opposed to being subject to the reasonable endeavours of the Project Team Member or events outside their control as under the 1st edition. Such alignment with the time provisions of the main contract seems to be a very pragmatic step.

Precedence of the Protocol

One of the most controversial clauses included in the 1st edition of the Protocol allowed it to take precedence over the agreement to which it was attached. This clause has been watered down to have the effect that the Protocol (if un-amended) will now only take precedence in relation to clauses 3 and 4 of the Protocol which provide for the primary BIM related obligations on the Employer and the Project Team Member respectively and Appendices 1 and 2 which contain the Responsibility Matrix and the Information Particulars respectively.

This compromise reflects current amendments often made to the 1st edition in practice but users should still ensure that all clauses are checked and cross referred in both documents. For example, clause 4.2 of the Protocol and clause 3.4.3 of the JCT 2016 D&B standard form contract both contain requirements for flowing obligations down the supply chain but are worded slightly differently - which wording do the parties intend to take priority?

The 2nd edition acknowledges that the amended precedence clause is still at odds with the standard JCT position on precedence and offers advice as to how to amend the JCT Standard forms. Users should consider which document is to take precedence and, if needed, seek legal advice to ensure priority is correctly allocated between documents. A link is provided to guidance for use with NEC4 contracts which if left un-amended do not allow for the use of a Protocol.

Conclusion

The 2nd edition contains other changes which the BIM community have long been asking for, including removal of the statements that Models take precedence and that the Project Team Member does not warranty the integrity of electronic data. The Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) clauses have been diluted and allowance has been made for the all important topic of security and safety in line with PAS1192-5. The 1st edition BIM Protocol was drafted in 2013 and in a sense because of that was largely theoretical. Now with the benefit of experience and hindsight the authors have produced a more pragmatic document which has the feel of living alongside and working with the project rather than trying to dictate from afar. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating...

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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