Law Briefing Paper: New Building Technology Raises Contractual Risks
The technology available to builders is ever changing and now architects,
builders and others involved in the design and construction industries
can create three-dimensional models with the development of Building
Information Modeling (BIM) software.
According to the August 2006 Construction Law Briefing Paper published
by Fabyanske, Westra, Hart and Thompson, P.A., of Minneapolis, Minn.,
while the software that makes virtual construction and testing possible
is available, it is not yet in widespread use and has the potential
to create complicated legal scenarios.
As the Briefing Paper explains, the advantages for using BIM are
great: with all the data provided, it would allow the virtual construction
and allow designers to spot problem areas before construction begins.
However, it could potentially also create legal problems surrounding
ownership of the data used in creating the models when multiple
companies are involved, as well as who becomes responsible for the
quality control of the data used.
"As collaboration increases, the traditional lines of responsibility
dissolve, and industry standard form contracts do not adequately
allocate risk and responsibility between the parties," the
The paper does not seek to dissuade people from using the technology
available, but advises "it is nevertheless prudent to be aware
of the risks involved in this new paradigm."