DWF: BIM adoption “not necessarily all good news”

Credit: DWF
Credit: DWF

A bold claim has been laid down by a legal expert specialising in construction and infrastructure, in which he claims that “just because [BIM] is new and potentially powerful as a tool does not make its adoption necessarily right”.

James Bessey of DWF wrote a guest piece for Building, mainly focusing on the legal-related topic of accountability if problems arise during a BIM project. Sometimes, projects are not as collaborative as planned, and problems can occur from time-to-time. Bessey elaborates: “Who is the professional subject to the scrutiny of the court for deciding to adopt BIM [should problems arise]? Is it the architect or the engineer or the project manager who is to be judged in terms of the initial issue of whether to adopt BIM?

Simply put, an issue of whether who decided BIM should be adopted or not in a project is not significant if mistakes arise. The benefits of implementing BIM are obvious. However, even if mistakes are made, BIM allows for them to be rectified more easily than if BIM was never in-pace to begin with. Who is accountable for mistakes is the issue, not the person(s) responsible for deciding to utilise BIM. In many cases, more mistakes may occur in non-BIM projects than BIM projects with some errors, meaning that despite issues, whoever decided to implement BIM is irrelevant and not accountable.

Bessey also expressed a questionable opinion regarding consultants suggest BIM be used for certain projects. He noted: “Quite when does it become the standard approach where, acting reasonably, a consultant should recommend that it is adopted?

“When will BIM become the accepted normal or the standard such that a reasonably competent consultant should be recommending it is used by a client?” – BIM is becoming the norm in 2016 – at least in the UK Government’s eyes – when Level 2 BIM will be mandatory for public sector projects, so clearly, ‘competent consultants’ are already recommending BIM be used on projects. Whilst not the absolute standard at the moment, adoption is on the rise, and it seems that Bessey has missed mentioning some rather obvious pieces of the BIM puzzle that would strongly oppose his opinion.

We respect Bessey’s opinion, and he does raise some interesting legal issues such as “think about whether or not the professional [consultant] is insured to advise around adopting BIM”, yet it appears that the #UKBIMCrew disagree with some of the legal advisor’s points.

One commenter wrote “James, I am afraid I completely disagree with everything you have written here as the article completely misses the point on how BIM is used and what impact and benefits it will bring”, whilst another said that “the article totally misses the point of BIM and so many statements are completely incorrect”. Tough crowd!

Read Bessey’s controversial piece here.

Do you agree with Mr Bessey that BIM can cause legal issues that are perhaps too potentially risky to think about handling and dealing with? Or do you disagree with his thoughts entirely? Let us know in the comments!