The future of construction contract management in the digital age

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1 The future of construction contract management in the digital age Abstract This essay will discuss the future of construction management in the digital age. Building Information Management (BIM) will form the focus of the essay and it will begin with an introduction to the concept of BIM. The essay will then touch on the benefits of BIM, including how it can enhance collaborative working. It will briefly discuss the extent to which BIM has a positive effect on both Architect and Client, and critically analyse its impact on the future role of the architect. This will be followed by a section which describes BIM issues that will need to be overcome for both architect and client. Finally, it will discuss the key issues identified as arising from the increased use of BIM in the procurement of public buildings.

2 Contents 1. Introduction 2. The Benefits of BIM to Architect and Client 3. BIM and the Future Role of the Architect 4. Issues to Overcome: for Client and Architect 5. BIM and the Procurement of Public Buildings 6. Conclusion 7. Bibliography

3 Introduction Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a digital software system that has taken the construction industry by storm. BIM is not just 3D modelling. 4D (time-scheduling/life-cycle analysis) and 5D (cost-estimating/capital planning), are also included which serve as a common, centralised repository for all life-cycle building related information. 1 BIM has been described as CAD on steroids 2, however, BIM is not just technology...it is a method of working that will enable and hasten the move towards truly collaborative working for the industry. The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) describes BIM as: a fundamentally different way of creating, using, and sharing building lifecycle data 3. BIM should be thought of as a holistic method of working; including the model, and the information contained within the model. It can be utilised from project inception through to delivery, hand-over and occupation, even through to deconstruction. The use of BIM is thought to reduce waste associated with the construction industry by up to 50% 4. Last year, Paul Morrell the Governments chief construction advisor, introduced an ambitious target of all appropriate projects being procured using a 3D collaborative environment by Morrell did suggest that the target would include all projects over the value of 5m but all appropriate suggests that the government have realised that not all projects are deemed appropriate or even possible to be procured using BIM. This could be for a number of reasons which shall be discussed later. There are a number of obstacles to overcome in the future with regard to an industry wide adoption of BIM as well as questions that need to be asked about how the construction industry, 75% of which operate in 2D, can implement this new way of working and achieve the government targets. 1 The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) 2 Klimt, Mark (2011) Copyright and liability must be tackled before BIM can reach its full potential [accessed 3rd October 2011] 3 Waterhouse, Richard (RIBA Enterprises Chief), 17 th May 2011, proceedings of Morrell: BIM to be mandatory for all 5m+ public projects 4 Richards, Mervyn (2011) Webinar: What is BIM? The Business Imperatives [shown online: [accessed 1 st October 2011] 5 Morrell, Paul (23 rd June 2011) BIM to be rolled out to all projects by / article [accessed 21st September 2011]

4 The Benefits of BIM to Architect and Client The positive effect of BIM on the construction industry as a whole is almost unquestionable, To BIM or not to BIM is not so much the question, but there are a number of issues which need to be overcome. Benefits include: Improved collaborative working: BIM is thought to define a framework of collaborative working in line with that outlined in BS1192:2007 6, An accurate 3D model: Current statistics suggest that waste from 2D drawings equates to a 25% increase in building cost. This waste is a result of uncoordinated drawings causing erroneous clashes between design team information and consequently mistakes on site. It is estimated that an accurate 3D model can actually reduce costs by upto 50% 7. Increased efficieny: with greater collaboration comes increased design clarity which can improve the speed of project execution, reducing cost to the architect who may otherwise have to absorb the cost of rectifying confusion amongst the design team therefore slowing progress. A better building : efficiencies and shared information will result in building specifications which are tried and tested, new specifications developed within the model can predict likely outcomes, and successful components that have already been constructed and used by the design team on previous projects can be loaded into the model. The model can also be used to predict operational performance and running costs. 6 BS 1192: 2007 Collaborative Production of Architectural, Engineering and Construction Information. Code of Practice 7 Richards, Mervyn (2011) Webinar: What is BIM? The Business Imperatives [shown online: [accessed 1 st October 2011]

5 BIM and the Future Role of the Architect BIM will enhance the role of the architect as design leader. It seems that the role of BIM Manager could suit the architect. The BIM manager requires a technical know-how across all aspects of the project and would give the architect an even greater power/negotiation authority to ask for information from other members of the design team in order for them to progress with their design. Without certain information, such as the position and sizes of structural members, the architect might be unable to progress the model, therefore the architect/bim Manager would be in a perfectly reasonably position to ask for this information. This encourages collaborative working. The negative side to this could be that the structural engineer might be relied upon too much and design innovation might be disrupted. However, in truly collaborative fashion, this would not be an issue. As BIM manager, or simply the design team member responsible for co-ordination of the model, the architect will be more liable for design clashes if problems arise. Architects are leading the way with BIM; it is the architects learning the software first, therefore initially there is an added pressure on the architect to perform and make sure that the model is being utilised correctly. Until contracts are organised and BIM Manager s roles are properly defined, BIM is likely to add pressure on the architect 8. 8 The importance of the BIM Manager in a Firm 10 th October 2011]

6 Issues to Overcome: for Client and Architect For all the benefits that BIM has to offer, there are significant issues which the industry will need to overcome. Copyright and Liability An industry that is traditionally driven by separate disciplines and characterised by a blame culture, must accept that through greater collaboration and information sharing across the design team, a degree of control will be lost. Mark Klimt highlights this in a recent article for the AJ: where various different design elements produced by separate consultants are fed into a composite model, and then adapted, authorship will become blurred. 9 It is for this reason that it has been suggested that agreements could be drawn up in advance of a contract between all team members. This would reflect the designer s copyright of basic components, the clarification that the owner will need to own the model and its information when the project is complete and the acceptance by all members that the model cannot be used elsewhere without agreement of each member. Kamran Moazami, Head of Engineering Design at WSP, agreed in a recent Webinar on BIM 10, that the construction industry will need to accept that a much freer exchange of information is required. It is also likely that liability to all parties will increase with BIM. Collaborative working will make it more difficult for individual consultants to show where their involvement ended 11. Again, this will need to be accepted as a consequence of integrated working. When to BIM? The use of BIM early on in the design process could hinder creativity. BIM software is information hungry and it can be difficult to decipher how much information is required at each stage. As firms develop in-house component libraries, this will become much more efficient. Initially however, a clear strategy is required in order to distinguish between an RIBA Stage B model for example, and a Stage D. Traditionally, the level of information would be quite different. 9 Klimt, Mark (2011) Copyright and liability must be tackled before BIM can reach its full potential [accessed 3rd October 2011] 10Moazami, Kamran (2011) Webinar: What is BIM? The Business Imperatives [shown online: [accessed 1 st October 2011] 11 Klimt, Mark (2011) Copyright and liability must be tackled before BIM can reach its full potential [accessed 3rd October 2011]

7 The question that architects need to answer is at what point do you start the BIM model? Too early and you might run the risk of suppressing creativity and innovation, but too late and BIM becomes totally inefficient. Distribution of Design Fees and Risk If existing fee scales are adhered to, the design team may run the risk of too much input before the client has committed to pay. As the model is likely to require more information earlier on in the process, clients are actually likely to receive more for their money at each stage up until construction. It is likely that at Stage C sign off, the model now includes more information that is normally required at this stage. The risk to the architect and rest of the design team, is that if the project were to discontinue, they would not be paid for the work already invested in the model. Therefore, the design team, especially architects, need to revaluate their fee scales. A truly integrated model Another question to ask is: are all members of the design team willing to work from the same drawing? The aim of BIM is to prevent the duplication of drawings and therefore prevent waste during the design stages, but all disciplines must work together in order that there drawings are universally acceptable across the design team and potentially to the Contractor also. There is a great need for standardisation across the building model, suggesting that the team will need to revisit BS1192:2007. This standardisation would benefit the client, as contractors may offer more competitive tenders if they know accurate 3D representation exists. The Model; a vested interest? Persuading certain members of the design team to invest their time early on and throughout the design process for the benefits of the model could prove difficult and the responsibility of this is likely to fall on the architect/design leader. Architects will benefit from the model during the design stage and during building occupancy as they are more likely to offer services such as post occupancy evaluation and want to better understand how their designs are performing/ how they can improve. MEP engineers will have an interest in how the building performs, as they will have a liability that this is close to predicted in terms of energy efficiency and services. The BIM model can provide a platform for this analysis once the building is in operation. Structural Engineers however, may not see the benefits of the model past handover. Once their information has been supplied and the building has been constructed, they may see the model as a liability.

8 Software Monopolies Revit, Autodesk is fast becoming an extremely popular BIM platform. BIM could run the risk of creating a monopolised software industry resulting in expensive products and lack of choice when it comes to building modelling. In terms of interoperability between software, Autodesk is still un-collaborative. It has been suggested that Morrell has missed an opportunity to gather the BIM software players together in order to improve data interoperability before handing them the UK construction industry on a plate Day, Martyn, The Trouble with BIM, [accessed 8 th October 2011]

9 BIM and the Procurement of Public Buildings The government targets set for 2016, that all appropriate public projects will use BIM, affirms a certain confidence in the widespread use of the method across the industry. Morrell believes that the use of BIM will reduce cost and add long-term value to the development and management of built assets in the public sector. Reducing cost might be incentive enough for any client, however when it comes to public buildings, this cost reduction will be even more advantageous. It is thought that via increased collaboration, better coordination of drawings, the sharing of information, better predictability of building performance and an integrated supply chain, the government can save on the cost of public buildings. BIM not only reduces costs by increasing collaboration between the design team, but it will provide the public client with the ability to manage their occupation of the building using the information model, utilised as part of the Building Management System. This is a particular incentive to public clients as the likelihood is that the building will be owner occupied for the duration of the buildings life. Local Authority Architectural Departments using private architectural practices for architectural services up to Stage D+ will be able more easily share information if the same software is used. Information could also be shared more easily on government projects and standardised design elements could be utilised between different local authorities. BIM models may provide a greater transparency on public sector projects, allowing Councils to easily check specifications and where money has been spent. This could also aid Government Supply Chains. It is also possible to use BIM models to estimate costs (the 5D use) more accurately than estimations from 2D drawings and also better predict how the building is likely to perform in operation (4D). Both of these would be seen as great benefits for public procurement. In the Government s Construction Strategy Paper however, the focus is on 3D modelling. It is important that they do not fail to recognise the capabilities of 4D and 5D BIM. Larger firms are more likely to be able to afford the initial capital expenditure to train staff up in BIM software. With regards to tendering, BIM might add more controversy to argument that current procurement methods favour larger, bullish architecture practices, booting smaller companies out of the market.

10 Conclusion In conclusion, To BIM or not to BIM 13, is not the question. Architects have accepted that BIM is the future, but how, when and what to adopt is for individual firms to decide. The issues that have been mentioned in this essay, mainly involving collaboration, are ideas which have been debated for years, holding the industry back and maintaining its blame culture characterisation. If BIM pushes collaboration to the forefront, then this is no bad thing. As potential BIM Manager, BIM enhances the Architect s role as design leader. As the efficiencies of the models improve and in-house libraries of components grow, the architect can begin to make their services more profitable. In the future, as the cost to build is reduced through increased efficiencies and reduction of waste via BIM, the proportion of total project cost spent on professional fees could be redistributed. If BIM is to require more information from the design team, especially the architect, then they should be rewarded for their efforts. As a final thought, the idea that BIM is a one stop solution is a Utopian vision, compared to what current systems are capable of. 14 This vision sees plans, sections, elevations, the quantities, the renderings, the costings and even perhaps the energy certification all produced in harmony from one model. The whole single building model (SBM) is really only available in a dream. An architectural BIM model is really quite different from a construction BIM model. If BIM Utopia is to become reality, collaboration needs to stretch beyond the design team, to the Contractor, the Client as well as the software manufacturers. BIM will not happen without commitment from all involved, and clients will have to be patient and appreciate that almost the entirety of the construction industry is out of their comfort zone. 13 Murray, Christine, BIM will keep architects linked in, 12 th May Day, Martyn, The Trouble with BIM

11 Bibliography Day, Martyn, The Trouble with BIM, [accessed 8 th October 2011] Klimt, Mark (2011) Copyright and liability must be tackled before BIM can reach its full potential [accessed 3rd October 2011] Moazami, Kamran (2011) Webinar: What is BIM? The Business Imperatives [shown online: [accessed 1 st October 2011] The importance of the BIM Manager in a Firm 10 th October 2011] BS 1192: 2007 Collaborative Production of Architectural, Engineering and Construction Information. Code of Practice 1 Constructing Excellence in the Building Environment [accessed 1 st October 2011] Richards, Mervyn (2011) Webinar: What is BIM? The Business Imperatives [shown online: [accessed 1 st October 2011] The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) Waterhouse, Richard (RIBA Enterprises Chief), 17 th May 2011, proceedings of Morrell: BIM to be mandatory for all 5m+ public projects Morrell, Paul (23 rd June 2011) BIM to be rolled out to all projects by / article [accessed 21st September 2011]

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