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BIM as the game changer for the disputes in the construction industry

This tool could be relevant to access to all the information of the entire project

Published: 16/07/2018

Country: United States

According to a recent paper from the consultancy firm Arcadis, the last North American construction conflict took about 14 months to resolve and an average value of $21 million. The report also revealed that most of the time the contractors end up battling over aspects like errors and omissions unsubstantiated claims in court. To avoid this, BIM (Building Information Modeling) could be a powerful ally.

BIM allows the construction professionals to create and handle 3D versions of a project along its entire lifecycle. Most of the contractors in the country know about BIM because they use it or they have read about it on the Internet. On the other hand, owners aim to reduce construction costs and to control construction asset management programs. One example is the Los Angeles Unified School District, where BIM helped to save $12 million in costs, coordinate workflows, and facility management. Actually, cost savings is one of the main reasons why the UK government implemented BIM at a basic level. This country is one of the most advanced with the BIM implementation. In the U.S., some government agencies demand the use of a 3D modeling system, but it has not become a national standard yet. 

The role of BIM as conflict solver

The information generated by BIM can be decisive for contractors and their attorneys that need to get back to the lifecycle of a project to check if the completed work matches the signed contract, or it is necessary to pursue a claim at court. A rigorous use of BIM will become a powerful tool to get an accurate information about the job's progress and physical aspect of any project. The use of this new tool is still very new, especially in terms of dispute resolution. However, BIM has started to work in meditation to prove how the changes can affect the lifecycle of a project.

How will BIM work? Let's say, for example, that a general contractor complains about a late arrival o material from one of the subcontractors that created more delayed in other trades. Both parties can get back into the BIM the model and do a simulation of this scenario and know how this delay affected the whole project. 

Keeping all the information on the record

Not only for the meditation and arbitration, but BIM can also be used for specific points in the schedule. This can be done through laser scanning, a technology based on a laser that captures the physical characteristics and dimensions of a space to be displayed using BIM. This information could be helpful to prevent a particular accident. for example a fire, for insurance claim purposes. And how do you do that? By overlaying a scan into the BIM model. The created layered labels can show how the accident affected the project and where the reparation is needed. 

The fact that BIM allows knowing how a project was built leads to a full transparency during its whole lifecycle. Therefore, all the participants know what they're getting into, including owners and stakeholders that are not involved in the day to day job can have a chance to participate in the process. On the other hand, contractors and the design team will find BIM as a tool to reduce potential conflicts, clashes and design errors before the works start. 

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