Building Information Modeling (BIMfor short) has become indispensable in the realization of construction projects. The digital capture and updating of planning data offers considerable advantages over the conventional planning method for project controllers, planners, contractors and later users. With the help of the digital twin, the challenges of the project are identified at an early stage and solutions are found. This leads to greater cost and schedule reliability during construction and economical operation of the object.
Ideally, the decision to implement a project with BIM takes place at the very beginning in the conception phase or “project phase 0”. This ensures that the special features of planning and implementation with BIM can be taken into account from the outset in all contractual relationships and that the most suitable partners can be found for the construction project.
In the awarding of project management and planning services, BIM has a significant influence on the definition of the suitability, selection and evaluation criteria in the award procedure. Only in this way will the award process also lead to a suitable contractor for a BIM project. When implementing contracts, care must be taken to ensure that the BIM-specific project requirements are included uniformly in all individual contracts via standardized “BIMSpecial Terms of Contract” (BIM BVB forshort). The BIM use cases requested by the client must be agreed upon with all project participants to ensure their joint construction.
I. Principles of contract design for a BIM project
The most important news first: BIM has long since ceased to be an insurmountable hurdle for contract design. The liability, insurance and delimitation of services issues that are repeatedly brought to the fore by the legal side in connection with BIM are all easily manageable and should not play a central role in the client’s decision for or against BIM.
When drafting the individual contracts, care must be taken to include identical BIM GTCs for all project participants. There are now good templates for this, but they should be adapted to the needs of the particular construction project with the support of a lawyer who is well acquainted with BIM and the BIM manager responsible for the project.
In addition to the BIM-BVB, the client information requirements(AIA) created specifically for the project, which are comparable to a specification sheet, should also be included as a fixed contractual component in all contracts. In later project phases, they are replaced by the jointly developed BIM execution plan(BAP), which defines, among other things, who provides the required information and in what form, and how the AIA goals are to be achieved by each project participant. It is binding for all participants in the planning process and comparable to a specification sheet.
II. project management contracts for BIM projects
In recent years, the classic service profiles for project controllers have been supplemented with BIM-specific services based on the experience gained in pilot projects.
With the AHO booklet No. 9, Project Management in the Construction and Real Estate Industry – Standards for Performance and Remuneration, as of March 2020, there are pre-formulated BIM service specifications in chapter 6.1 and 6.2. These are a good basis, but should always be adapted to the specific project. How a project management contract could be designed taking BIM into account is shown below:
It is by no means mandatory that the project controller is also commissioned with the special services of “BIM management” at the same time – in addition to the basic services of project control adapted toBIM. These services can also be provided independently of project control by a third party, such as a consultant specializing in BIM. Often, this is even the better solution, especially if the client is developing an overarching BIM strategy across multiple projects and wants to be advised on BIM across projects.
III. planning contracts for BIM projects
There are now also service specifications for planning services that have been adapted to the special requirements of a BIM project.
With the AHO booklet No. 11, Services Building Information Modeling – The BIM Method in the Planning Process of the HOAI, as of January 2019, a good basis is available. These service profiles should also always be tailored to the specific project. In addition, the annexes to HOAI 2021 provide for special services by the planner using BIM. The following graphic illustrates the structure of a planning contract for BIM projects.
IV. Suitability, selection and evaluation criteria
Once the decision has been made in favor of a project with BIM, it is highly recommended to define the suitability, selection and evaluation criteria in a BIM-specific way.
The minimum standards for suitability can be queried, for example, via reference projects that have also been realized using the BIM method. The partial services of the service profiles according to AHO booklet no. 9 and no. 11 offer possible gradations for the selection criteria with regard to the references of the company. For example, when bidding for project management services, references to the basic services with BIM could represent a minimum standard, while references to the special services, in particular to BIM management, could form selection criteria. Via personal references of the project participants, the different service profiles according to AHO booklet no. 9 and no. 11 can be taken into account in the context of the evaluation.
This applies equally to the award of planning services: While the suitability criteria can be queried via company references to comparable projects on the basis of the BIM-modified service specifications according to AHO booklet 11, gradations can be made in the context of the selection among the suitable applicants via the appendices to the HOAI. Personal references of the project participants to projects using the services according to AHO booklet 11 and the appendices to the HOAI enable the BIM experience to be taken into account in the evaluation.
The appropriate contract design for BIM projects can be managed well and should not be a hurdle in the decision to use BIM. The market for project management and planning services has adapted to the special BIM requirements and with the AHO booklets No. 9 and No. 11 there are good bases for contractual service specifications. However, these are not mandatory and are not appropriate or economical in every case. Which concrete contents are useful in the respective project for service profiles, BIM-BVB, AIA and BAP should always be decided on a project-specific basis.
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