CIC/BIM INS first edition 2013

Best practice guide for professional indemnity insurance when using BIM           June 2013


Executive Summary

(For full report click here)

This Best Practice Guide has been produced by Griffiths & Armour on behalf of CIC in support of the work of the BIM Task Group. The guide is directly addressed to the needs of insured parties – particularly consultants engaged in the production of definition information using Building Information Models.

The aim of this best practice guide is to support the construction industry’s take up of Level 2 Building Information Modelling, by summarising the key areas of risk which Professional Indemnity (‘PI’) insurers associate with level 2 BIM and what you can do about those risks as a prudent insured.

We are therefore looking to inform you, the insured, of what you might be required to do in order to ensure that your PI insurance arrangements are in order.

The guidance cannot cater for every contingency and, as with all material facts, if you are in any doubt about whether to disclose something to your insurers, then you should disclose it.

The document is not intended to be prescriptive as to what must, or must not, be done when arranging PI policies, and in reality there are very few absolute requirements.

Given the myriad of policy wordings in the UK PI market and the number of insurers writing business in this sector, what follows is general advice. Consultants should always speak with their broker 

The foundation of this document is a series of consultations held by Griffiths & Armour with the majority of the PI insurance market, including several Lloyd’s syndicates and the main insurers in the company market. A major and necessary part of the consultation process was the education of insurers as to what the introduction of level 2 BIM involves, what technology is required to support it and what the “outputs” of such a design process might involve.

The overarching response to the consultation from insurers has been that there are no issues with level 2 BIM which are sufficiently serious as to require coverage restrictions for consultants which use it, nor will its use, all things being equal, materially alter the risk profile presented by a consultant, and therefore the premium implications will be minimal.

You should, therefore, have little difficulty in obtaining assurance from your broker that this activity will fall within the range of activities contemplated by our PI insurers.

It should also be stressed that this report does not consider the Level 3 BIM environment, which raises very different liability issues which will need further consideration. By way of explanation, by level 2 BIM we broadly mean that a “federated model” is being used, albeit in a managed 3D environment and perhaps with 4D construction sequencing and /or 5D cost information. Level 2 BIM requires each participant to develop their own model(s), which are then shared with the project model, with appropriate audit trails in place. It is the robustness of these audit trails and change control systems that gives insurers comfort.

It should be noted that simply because two or more parties are working together, this does not mean that this extends into Level 3 BIM territory, provided that the resultant models are still “federated”.

If you would like to contact Antony Oliver about this, or any other story, please email antony.oliver@infrastructure-intelligence.com.