By Steve Rizer
A widespread lack of knowledge about building information modeling (BIM) standard form documents among construction professionals who participated in a recent WPL Publishing survey has surprised at least one official of an organization promoting the use of such documents. In the survey – which encompassed 136 architects, engineers, and others, -- approximately two in five respondents indicated that they are unaware of the existence of BIM standard form documents such as the AIA (American Institute of Architects) E202-2008 BIM Protocol Exhibit and ConsensusDOCS 301 BIM Addendum (ConstructionPro Week/CPW, July 16, 2012, “Lack of Knowledge about BIM Standard Form Documents Widespread among Construction Professionals Responding to WPL Publishing’s Latest Survey”). In an email interview with CPW, here is what ConsensusDOCS Executive Director Brian Perlberg had to say on the topic:
CPW: What is your organization’s reaction to the survey results, which are accessible at http://www.surveymonkey.com/sr.aspx?sm=zn_2boIWr9PyjeksdEULwxMuuiuzKoMkHYyJnttyaOMkc_3d?
Perlberg: Without knowing how representative the survey responders are to those typically involved in the contract-documents aspect of a project using BIM, it is somewhat hard to respond to the survey results. The two largest groups responding to the survey are design professions, and the results appear to highlight that more education and outreach is needed to bring about awareness and understanding of the ConsensusDOCS 301 BIM Addendum, especially with design professionals who are often in a position of recommending contract-documents usage. In the early adoption phase of new developments, there is often a fragmentation of best-practice standards that evolve over time. The survey points out that while BIM might be past the tipping point, it is still in the early stages of adopting best practices for construction contracts and law point of view.
One effort that is being made to educate the industry is an effort by the Associated General Contractors of America, which has developed a very successful BIM Curriculum course that includes four units, including Unit 3, which focuses on contract negotiations and risk management. The ConsensusDOCS 301 BIM Addendum plays a prominent role in that course because of its comprehensive treatment of BIM contract issues. AGC now offers a CM-BIM certificate to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of concepts related to BIM adoption, practice, and process transformation outlined in the AGC BIM Education Program.
CPW: Which survey results surprised you the most and why?
Perlberg: I was surprised that the usage of standard form BIM documents was not higher, and even more surprised that many surveyed BIM practitioners are not aware of the existence of standard BIM documents as a useful tool, like the ConsensusDOCS 301 BIM Addendum. Since the ConsensusDOCS 301 was the first standard documents to address the legal aspects of BIM in June 2008, and it has appeared prominently in industry magazines and conferences (i.e., https://www.consensusdocs.org/News/Topic/bim) addressing the topic, I am surprised awareness was not higher in the survey.
CPW: In your opinion, how important is it for the overall design and construction community to be aware of the BIM standard form documents that currently exist?
Perlberg: For those who are practicing BIM, I think awareness of standard tools is 100 percent essential, especially in the early adoption phase BIM, because contract documents ultimately govern parties’ performance on a project. I would be concerned if BIM practitioners are more focused on the business-development aspects of BIM rather than focusing on the power of using BIM as a tool to potentially transform how design and construction operates in today’s industry.
CPW: What statistics, if any, can you provide regarding the use of ConsensusDOCS 301 BIM Addendum, whether it be in terms of the number of people or number of projects that have used it for contractual and/or non-contractual use? Has the level of use been about what you expected?
Perlberg: ConsensusDOCS currently has more the 4,500 office locations that have access to the contract documents and growing. The BIM Addendum is available for use by almost all of current users.
The new technology platform that ConsensusDOCS released on April 23, 2012, will allow us to track usage of specific documents in the future, but as of today I am only able to track general usership and access to documents.
CPW: What is your organization doing to promote awareness of the ConsensusDOCS 301 BIM Addendum? What else should/could be done?
Perlberg: ConsensusDOCS posts a free guidebook and several articles about BIM on its website. ConsensusDOCS is also assisting Construction Superconference in December, which includes a program of how to potentially combine the use of ConsensusDOCS 301 and AIA E202.
We have also posted a project history of someone using the ConsensusDOCS BIM 301 at the North History Education Center, New Bern, N.C. (https://www.consensusdocs.org/FooterSection_Resources/projecthistories).
In addition, in January of last year, ConsensusDOCS comprehensively updated its agreements. As part of this revision effort, the ConsensusDOCS agreements now specifically call out services related to BIM as service and the use of electronic exchange of information.
CPW: When is the next time that the ConsensusDOCS 301 BIM Addendum will undergo review and possible change, if at all? What changes could take place?
Perlberg: On July 19, 2012, the ConsensusDOCS formed a diverse working group of industry experts to revise the ConsensusDOCS 301 BIM Addendum. The working group plans to have its recommendations to the ConsensusDOCS Drafting Council in 2013 with a planned publication in the fourth quarter of 2013. Kim Hurtado of Hurtado and Associates has volunteered to be chair, and Deborah Griffin of Holland and Knight has volunteered to be co-chair.
CPW: Other comments?
Perlberg: The ConsensusDOCS BIM Addendum was written in collaboration with the BIMForum, which is the leading group of industry leaders who are advancing BIM understanding, best practices, and industry usage. More information on the BIMForum can be found at www.bimforum.org.
Modulus Consulting Official Echoes Perlberg’s Comments
Brett Young of Modulus Consulting LLC echoed Perlberg’s sentiment about the survey results. “The results are, frankly, underwhelming,” he told CPW in an email interview. “There appears to be a lack of general opinion on BIM standard form documents. I am most amazed at the lack of awareness of BIM standard form documents. E202 and the ConsensusDOCS are not new pieces of information, and I would have suspected that industry practitioners were at least aware of these documents.”
Young predicted that upcoming BIM standard form documents “will be much more useful in scope and practice.”
“As an industry, we are underperforming in our ability to turnover building data to facilities managers,” Young said. “I think the lack of understanding of BIM standard form documents reflects the fact that BIM is primarily used right now to hedge risk during the design and construction of projects. Large building owners should actively and vocally drive for better quality of models and data at turnover. The start of this effort is through the improvement, adherence, and relevancy of BIM standard form documents.”
Young noted that “our professional experience, as a BIM consulting firm providing services for clients in a broad range of contexts, is that BIM standard form documents are most often adapted and become a part of BIM execution plans.”
A representative for AIA Contract Documents declined CPW's invitation to comment on the survey results.