Building Information Modelling (BIM) is rapidly growing in importance in the construction industry, but with issues of copyright and liability currently unresolved, firms need top quality advice to ensure that their Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) arrangements are watertight when working with other professionals.

BIM allows for collaborative working between different construction professional in the planning, design, construction, and ongoing management of a building.  Its use is likely to expand rapidly in the UK following the publication of the Government’s Construction Policy, in May 2011, here.  This announced a drive towards the development of standards enabling all members of the supply chain working on Government construction projects to work collaboratively through BIM.

Top professional indemnity lawyer, Mark Klimt of Fishburns, warned of the practical issues of copyright and ownership of contributed designs using BIM in an article for Architects Journal (AJ 14.07.11). “Where various different design elements produced by separate consultants are fed into a composite model, and then adapted, authorship will become blurred,” he cautioned.

Dylan Hughes, Director, Brunel Professional Risks, said: “Construction professionals will have to take great care to ensure that their terms of business and appointment letters address the issues of BIM, otherwise they could find themselves exposed to claims where their input into a project has been changed due to the evolutionary nature of BIM.  They could even find themselves jointly responsible with other professionals for overall liability claims on a project where BIM is used.”

“Professional indemnity insurers are aware of the issues raised by BIM and at Brunel, our risk management team is working closely with our clients to ensure that they are addressing the PII risks of BIM.”