BIM Claims

One of the most interesting presentations at the BIMForum was Gregg Bundschuh's (of Ames & Gough) presentation on "BIM Claims and Insurance Cover: A Survey of Recent Developments".

According to Gregg's presentation, there have been about 30 claims arisen from BIM utilization to date. The claims group into about 6 categories and generally relate to delay and cost overrun claims:
  • 2D -> 3D Conversion Where the contractor performs a 2D conversion and makes an assumption about design intent in the conversion process
  • Versioning When firms "mix and match" versions of the same software, inconsistencies result between models of different versions.
  • Default Settings When firms use the default settings of software, errors can occur.
  • Model Reliance No surprise here; this issue is the most prevalent and occurs when someone over-relies on a model.
  • Interoperability Three claims have come about when conflicts occur between design and fabrication models; although, those were mostly in structural steel.
  • Standard of Care The most interesting claim by far comes from an arbitration that was resolved about 2 months ago, in the midwest. The design professionals only created 2D documents (per their contract requirements). After the contractor did a 2D conversion, they published clashes to the architect, who "ignored them". The architect's argument was that they weren't paid to go above the standard of care. However, the arbitrator said that the architect should have resolved the issues, once advised. It was determined that the architect did not meet standard of care and the contractor was awarded several million dollars. (By the way, I don't claim to have gotten all details correct here..just the jist of things.)
The implications for changing the definition of Standard of Care is quite interesting. As Gregg said, "when the Standard of Care changes, it is more of a rear-view thing, but when it does change, where on the road do you want to be?"


Darren said...

A great list of lessons learned for all us to check against our current projects. It would be interesting to know how many claims there would have been on these projects if BIM had not been used.

We certainly need to avoid claims; however, there is a point when calculated risks have to be taken in order to evolve. ***Warning, another automobile analogy ahead*** After the invention of the automobile statistics may have stated that, "riding a horse is safer than traveling in an automobile." This did not mean that we gave up on the invention of the car, it just meant that we found ways to make automobiles more safe and found ways to train those who were operating them. The catch-22 was at the same time we wanted travel to become more efficient which meant making cars faster...and the faster the car the larger the consequence during an accident.

Claims should not scare us away from BIM but instead should encourage us to look deeper into the root cause, improve processes, set standards, and make sure that those in control of the BIM know how to drive it. In the end there will always be the "human factor" that causes unforeseen errors. The good news is that after time these events will minimize and even with these errors the return on investment using BIM "should" still outweigh the errors that would have occurred without using BIM.

Laura Handler said...

Very true. Gregg's overall thesis was that although coverage gaps exist, the insurance industry is finally starting to look into them because early statistics are showing the BIM is reducing risk.

And while we're on automobile analogies..or at least references to them, one of the comments Christof Speiler made in his presentations was that "our industry is at least 10 years behind GM". Ouch.

Gary said...

10 years behind GM? Perhaps technologically. Financially? right on par.

I found this particular presentation the best during BF|PHX. And one that most should open the eyes of the A/E side especially. The side that believes using Revit is doing BIM and prefers to delegate "BIM expertise" to supporting actors embedded in project teams. These issues are NARPs (Not A Revit Problem). They represent a potentially fatal disconnect between business practices and technology "implementation".