Building Information Modeling (BIM) Risks

Minimizing BIM Risks

Bim Risks
BIM Modeling. Courtesy of US Army

BIM Risk

Building information modeling (BIM) software has become one great tool allowing reduced construction cost and speeding up construction projects. BIM has the potential to avoid mistakes if a genuine planning effort between team member is carefully reviewed and shared. BIM software can break down and provide a better understanding of the construction project, that can be implemented by contractors and subcontractors.

When used appropriately, BIM can reduce construction time, costs, and claims. But, what happens when a BIM is not carefully shared and explain to all construction members?

BIM Communication

One important issue when implementing BIM as an integral part of your project is the collaboration and access to the model by everyone involved during the construction stages. While Architects can use BIM to generate a great building, reducing costs and material, if the thought approach when the building is being designed is not transmitted to the GC, then claims and problems will arise.

BIM Control

Once the BIM has been developed and distributed to the project members, careful precautions must be taken to reduce the possibility of subsequent changes or alterations by unauthorized parties. The risk of changing a BIM model has become a recent issue on large construction projects where several consultants and contractors try to complete changes to get their own benefit, without sharing the ideas to the entire group.

A team leader must be assigned and will be the only authorized user who can alter the BIM model.

BIM Design Errors

Who should hold liability if the building fails to comply with the recent or latest construction codes? Is that the GC'S responsibility? Is the Architect's failure to comply held him liable?

There is a thin line between responsibilities since each party has participated on planning stages, revisions and input to the BIM model. In some instances, legal issues could become triggered by claims presented by the GC, due to misrepresentation or faulty designs. These types of errors could represent additional legal fees that were not contemplated in the original contract, reducing or minimizing the savings generated by the BIM process.

BIM Construction Costs

While BIM implementation on construction projects might present an idea of the total expected construction costs, it might not be real. BIM allows you to estimate the most accurate building cost-to-complete, it will not consider actual price variation from emerging market, such as metals, petroleum-derivative products, high gas prices, and other natural disasters affecting manufacturer’s plant.

Reducing Errors with BIM

The following hints can be vital to reducing errors and risks presented while using BIM in your project:

  • BIM team leader must be a technology-wise individual
  • BIM group members must be able to communicate every single idea that they identify can be implemented
  • Assign responsibilities. Every team member must know their limitations and what their role is. BIM is a collaborative effort requiring clear assignment of the parties' roles, rights, and risks
  • Identify capable contractors that can build using BIM. Unfortunately, BIM is not made for everyone
  • Discuss with your insurance agent all related issues that can arise from malpractice issues and under-performing related issues
  • Use clear and specific contracts that can identify all possible hazards and their liabilities

BIM Next Step

Using BIM in construction projects has become the norm and a requirement for some US federal agencies, But is this the end? No, BIM can also be used with the Integrated Project Delivery system to minimize claims and potential issues. Some key specific legal clauses can be incorporated in the construction and design contracts to distribute or penalize professional firms participating under the IPD for issues related to project's development.Communication between team member is the key to success either using BIM, or BIM-IPD in your construction project.