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Nearly half of designers say BIM helps collaboration

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Nearly half (45%) of the design community believes BIM helps foster better working relationships on collaborative projects.

That’s according to the latest NBS National Construction Contracts and Law Report 2018, published this month.

The report found that as BIM increasingly becomes business as usual for most practices, the design community looks well placed to lead and capitalise on the digital disruption the industry is experiencing.

With a renewed focus on collaboration thanks to the government’s Construction Strategy, the report said it was clear that the industry saw an advantage to collaboration to enable information sharing, reducing the number of disputes and improving the delivery of the client’s objectives.

As part of a survey of more than 360 people – mostly made up of the design team, surveyors and specialist consultants – more than two-thirds of respondents agreed that their organisations saw BIM as contractually binding in the same way as specifications or drawings.

Meanwhile, nearly half (45%) feel that collaborative projects are helped by the adoption of BIM.

However, the report also details a number of cases where the ownership of the BIM model has been an issue of dispute.

NBS chief executive Richard Waterhouse said: “There is a risk of collaboration falling apart at the first hurdle if that collaboration is not clearly described in contracts.

“Who is responsible for what and when, and with whom do they collaborate needs to be defined as without this, a collaborative relationship can quickly become an adversarial one – tools like the NBS BIM Toolkit and the RIBA Plan of Works come into play here.

“BIM is an example of collaborative, information rich, design practice. Future technologies are likely to be even more collaborative and even more information rich and as we move to the yet-to-be-defined BIM Level 3 and the implementation of future technology, creating a legal framework that describes BIM is a necessary foundation.”

The report also found that of the top three matters that get in the way of a construction process running smoothly, clients accounted for two.

More than two thirds said that “employer variation” had impeded progress, while 39% said that “provision of employer information” was to blame.

It also found that disputes in construction were still very common and regarded by some as simply part of doing business in the sector.

Of the disputes reported, fewer than half were settled. However, fewer people commented that the number of disputes was increasing compared to the last NBS report two years ago and fewer said that they were involved in disputes.

Richards added: “NBS is committed to gathering, structuring, standardising and making available the highest quality building and product information required for successful design and construction.

“Getting the information right not only improves client outcomes and increases the efficiency of projects, it also reduces professional risk, allowing a tight description of what is to be built, so reducing the scope for dispute.”

A full copy of the report can be found at: www.thenbs.com/contracts-law-report

As we move to the yet-to-be-defined BIM Level 3 and the implementation of future technology, creating a legal framework that describes BIM is a necessary foundation.– Richard Waterhouse, NBS