How Do the New AIA BIM Documents Accommodate an “Open BIM” Framework?

By AIA Contract Documents

August 5, 2022

If you’ve been following along, you know that the AIA Contract Documents program just released a new suite of 2022 BIM documents, including contract exhibits, Model Element Tables, and a BIM Execution Plan. The concept of “open BIM” is gaining traction in the industry, and it may even be required on your project. So, let’s investigate how the new AIA BIM documents accommodate an open BIM framework.

First, it’s important to understand what is meant by open BIM. According to buildingSmart, open BIM is “a collaborative process that is vendor neutral. openBIM processes can be defined as sharable project information that supports seamless collaboration for all project participants. openBIM facilitates interoperability to benefit projects and assets throughout their lifecycle.”[1] ArchDaily similarly describes open BIM as “a universal approach to the collaborative design, realization, and operation of buildings based on open standards and workflows. It is an initiative of buildingSMART and is supported by many leading software vendors in the building industry. It defines methods for the object-oriented description of buildings using open data formats that facilitate integrated project delivery. Open BIM provides a common language for the exchange of information within a multidisciplinary project team.”[2]

So, at first blush, it may seem like open BIM pertains solely to the process and interoperability of BIM programs and software, facilitating greater collaboration. But, something (like a contract exhibit or BIM execution plan!) has to inform the project participants as to their respective software and data obligations. This is where the new AIA BIM documents come into play.

The new BIM exhibits (E201-2022 E202-2022 E401-2022 , and E402-2022 ) require the parties to develop and adhere to a BIM execution plan. The BIM exhibits require the parties to include protocols related to an open BIM framework, such as “Software requirements and file exchange protocols, including software version(s) to be used for Modeling, updating policies, if any, tools to be used for collaboration or file sharing, and frequency for file sharing…” (E201-2022, Section 3.2.1).

Then, in their BIM execution plan (such as the new G203-2022 ), the parties agree upon specific software requirements (versions, update schedules, etc.), as well as file exchange protocols, and collaboration protocols. The G203-2022 contains fill points in Article 3 for this type of information. If the parties want to include more detail about their open BIM collaboration

Once agreed upon, the BIM exhibit and BIM execution plan are attached to all project agreements and accommodate an open BIM framework. In this way, the AIA’s new BIM documents deliver on the open BIM promise to “facilitate[] interoperability to benefit projects and assets throughout their lifecycle.”

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.  

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