BIM Protocol Explained | The B1M

It’s possibly one of the dullest documents you’re ever going to read, but the BIM Protocol does do some important things for building information modelling (BIM) projects. This 3 minute video with The B1M’s Fred Mills summarises what the BIM Protocol is, how it works and how to use it, in a clear and easy format.

The BIM Protocol was developed by the United Kingdom’s (UK) Construction Industry Council. It’s a standardised supplementary legal agreement that can be incorporated into professional service appointments and construction contracts by a simple amendment. There are two parts at the end that you edit to make it specific to your project.

The Protocol’s key objective is to enable the production of information models at defined stages of a project. It also supports collaborative working, requires the appointment of an Information Manager and enables common standards or working practices to be made an explicit contractual requirement.

The BIM Protocol creates additional obligations and rights for the Employer and the contracted Party or Parties. It’s based on the direct contractual relationship between the Employer and the Supplier. It doesn’t cater for any rights or liabilities between different Suppliers. Where a Supplier is dependent on another (or on a Sub-Consultant or Sub-Contractor) to fulfil their obligations, those conditions need to be reflected in the agreements made between them.

It’s important that everyone producing or delivering information models on a project has the BIM Protocol appended to their contracts. This ensures that everyone follows the same standards and ways of working and has the clear right to do so. Responsibility for ensuring that the Protocol is in place rests with the Employer.

As we mentioned above, there are two editable appendices at the end of the Protocol that you use to make the standardised document relevant to your project:

1. Model Production and Delivery Table: This must include references to all building information models that are required by the Employer at each stage of the project.

2. Information Requirements: These should detail the information management standards that will be adopted on your project.

The template Protocol helpfully includes some example entries in these appendices to guide you.

When using the BIM Protocol, you need to be mindful that:

1. The same version of the document and its appendices are incorporated into each contract.

2. The wording is not amended (save for within the appendices).

3. All information models to be produced (by each Party contracted to the Employer on the project) are listed.

4. Any changes are treated as Contract Variations.

You also need to remember that the BIM Protocol was developed as a means of amending existing forms of contract for use on BIM Level 2 projects. It works to a point at Level 2 but the industry is likely to have to fundamentally re-consider how it contracts as it progresses to BIM Level 3 and as work flows are digitised further.

You can download a template BIM Protocol from the Construction Industry Council and learn more about how it can be implemented on projects here:

This video contains extracts of the UK Construction Industry Council’s BIM Protocol. © Construction Industry Council.

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