JCT fights ‘smoke and mirrors’ with new BIM practice note

The Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) has issued a practice note to “demystify” BIM for companies who have not yet engaged in BIM projects, and are concerned that 2016 will be the year that they are forced to deal with its technical terms and acronyms.

The note, Building Information Modelling (BIM), Collaborative and Integrated Team Working, explains BIM from first principles, and highlights the various documents and standards that contractors, consultants and supply chain members need to be familiar with.

Its overall definition is that BIM “defines spaces, systems, products and materials (together with their properties), and addresses how those components interrelate physically and technically and looks ahead to future maintenance needs”.

The note also runs through the levels of BIM maturity, from zero to three – three being characterised by “full collaboration between all disciplines by means of using a single, shared project model that is held in a centralised repository. All parties can access and modify that same model, and the benefit is that it removes the final layer of risk for conflicting information. This is known as ‘Open BIM’.”

The BIM practice note was produced by JCT’s BIM Working Group, which has been set up to help the JCT incorporate BIM clauses in future editions of its standard form contracts.

Nicholas Deeming, a partner in architect FaulknerBrowns, and the chairman of the JCT’s BIM Working Group, told CM: “I think there are still many that are bewildered by BIM and the rhetoric they hear every day.

“In part I believe that this is because there remains a significant level of ‘smoke and mirrors’ in the BIM world, with many professing to be delivering an advanced level of BIM when really they mean that they are perhaps only using Revit or whatever software, and this raises barriers to BIM engagement.”

However, Deeming said that, in his opinion, the adoption of BIM would not have any significant effect on firms’ legal rights.

He said: “I believe that much of the industry is happy with the sharing of information at BIM Level 2, recognising the benefits to their workflow. The value of better coordination, for example, far outweighs the possible dilution impact on intellectual property.

“BIM protocols go a long way in providing controls on the use of shared documentation but fundamentally an industry that fails to share and to collaborate is an industry that limits itself. In the words of Albert Einstein, if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.”

In a press release, JCT chair Richard Saxon said the note should also help private sector clients who find that incorporating BIM is taking effort.

“BIM has the potential to improve both client satisfaction and industry profitability. Yet it’s an effort for clients and their suppliers to pick up the new tools. The JCT BIM Practice Note should help both.”

The BIM practice note is available as a free download from JCT’s website. JCT users will also have the opportunity to sign-up to the JCT Network – a brand new resource which aims to provide exclusive JCT content, updates, news and networking opportunities to registered users.

Fundamentally an industry that fails to share and to collaborate is an industry that limits itself. In the words of Albert Einstein, if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.– Nicholas Deeming, FaulknerBrowns

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  1. About time someone created an idiot’s guide to this BIM malarkey. All those stupid abbreviations and made up words get on my wick. We need more simple plain English stuff about what BIM can actually do to help the likes of me hand a project over on time, every time. Too many people claim to understand BIM, yet 99% think the moon is made of cheese.

  2. A good basic guide for the uninitiated but 6D data provision is actually sustainability not FM. FM is catered for with 7D information. All of the ‘D’ subsets can be included in Level 2 projects & will be part of Level 3 in due course

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