AIA Contract Documents BIM Series Part 1: How BIM Exhibits Manage Risk

By AIA Contract Documents

April 27, 2022

Later this year, AIA Contract Documents will unveil their new digital practice documents that deal with the terms and concepts surrounding the use of a building information model, or “BIM.” In the leadup to this release, the AIA Contract Documents program is publishing a series of articles talking about all things BIM. This is Part 1: How BIM Exhibits Manage Risk.

Construction contracts are complicated. They cover everything from payment, to insurance, to differing site conditions, to scopes of work, to indemnities, to flow-down provisions… The list goes on. So, why make them even more complicated by adding an exhibit dealing with BIM? The answer is simple: for the same reason that everything else is included in a construction contract. Namely, to allocate and manage risk.

The term BIM is generally understood to mean a digital representation of the Project or a subset of the Project. Because of this broad definition, the use of models on construction projects is becoming so ubiquitous that almost every project – large and small – uses BIM and, therefore, every project is subject to the risks associated with modeling. Using a BIM exhibit puts all project participants – the architect, the owner, the contractor, and all subcontractors and consultants – on the same page with respect to how models will be shared, used, and relied upon. Any project participant must know how their model will be shared, used, and relied upon at the onset of their work if they are going to create a model suitable for the agreed-upon levels of sharing, use, and reliance. Similarly, all project participants want to avoid receiving a model half-way through a project expecting to be able to rely on it, only to be told that it cannot be relied upon. Or, that it will take significant work to bring the model to a state where it can be relied upon. These sorts of issues stem from miscommunications at project onset regarding the expected levels of sharing, use, and reliance.

Negotiating a BIM exhibit at the onset of the project allows all of the parties to align their expectations and price their work accordingly. The AIA’s 2013 Digital Practice Documents – such as the E203-2013 Building Information Modeling and Digital Data Exhibit – do this well. And, the new versions to be released later this year will do it even better. Stay tuned!

You can read more about the AIA’s Digital Practice Documents in the Guide, Instructions, and Commentary.

Read the next articles in the AIA Contract Documents BIM Series here:

AIA Contract Documents BIM Series Part 2: The Knowledge Divide

AIA Contract Documents BIM Series Part 3: An Introduction to the AIA’s New BIM Documents

AIA Contract Documents BIM Series Part 4: BIM as a Contract Document – Can it be Done?

AIA Contract Documents BIM Series Part 5: New Terms in the 2022 BIM Documents

AIA Contract Documents BIM Series Part 6: The New Model Element Tables

AIA Contract Documents has provided this article for general informational purposes only. The information provided is not legal opinion or legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship of any kind. This article is also not intended to provide guidance as to how project parties should interpret their specific contracts or resolve contract disputes, as those decisions will need to be made in consultation with legal counsel, insurance counsel, and other professionals, and based upon a multitude of factors. Any language quoting from AIA Contract Documents that have not yet been released is subject to change before final publication.