Contractual Perspective for BIM Utilization in US Construction Projects

Rayan Assaad, Islam H. El-Adaway, Ayman H. El Hakea, Matthew J. Parker, Tyler I. Henderson, Christopher R. Salvo, Muaz O. Ahmed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Although building information modeling (BIM) is experiencing substantial development and use in the construction industry, its legal and business structures lag far behind. While many research efforts have been devoted to promoting the implementation of BIM in the construction industry, very few of them have actually attempted to explore its contractual environment. In fact, previous studies reported the lack of, and need for, a holistic understanding of BIM contractual requirements. To fill this gap, this paper assists the various project parties in better understanding BIM contractual integration and utilization in the construction industry at different key levels: contractual incorporation of BIM addenda/exhibits, priority of contract documents, roles and obligations, copyright ownership and intellectual property rights, standard of care, discrepancies in or between models, compensation and information establishment, BIM management and collaboration, use of models, and indemnity. Within the context of documents developed by the American Institute of Architects and ConsensusDocs, the authors used a three-step research methodology that comprised (1) reviewing and analyzing essential clauses, protocols, and addenda; (2) highlighting law cases that are related to BIM contracting in practice; and (3) comparing the different BIM implementation procedures and processes. To this end, the paper presents 20 contractual recommendations to help project parties better manage BIM-based projects from a contractual point of view. To verify/validate the usefulness and benefits of the performed analysis, the authors shared the paper's recommendations with leading experts in BIM and digital/virtual construction. Some of the specific research recommendations offered in this paper include: preparation of a list of project participants that have incorporated BIM contractual documents into their agreements to provide reasonable evidence that BIM provisions have been included in the main and affiliated contracts, and the prohibition on disclosing any received BIM data to any third party except as required by law or a court order to avoid issues with copyright ownership and intellectual property rights. This research adds to the body of knowledge by providing an enhanced understanding of various BIM contractual aspects on construction projects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04020128
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management


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