• Anders Ejsing
This thesis analyzes the legal issues associated with the use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) in the construction industry. In recent years, the use of ICT and BIM has increased in the Danish construction sector, especially due to governmental initiatives that mandate the use of ICT and BIM-related methods in public sector construction projects. The basis for this study is that BIM contains large opportunities for increasing the overall productivity and quality by integrating the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industries.

Despite the proven benefits associated with BIM, it is clear that the advantages are challenged by a number of legal issues as well as legal uncertainty. These legal obstacles are barriers for a widespread implementation of BIM and for realizing the full potential of BIM. Through an extensive literature review it is concluded that there are significant legal challenges with respect to shifting liability and responsibilities of the project parties, reliance on the information in the building models and ownership of digital data.

The present legal framework conditions and standard contract terms within the construction industry focus on individual rights and responsibilities. In contrast, BIM is essentially a collaborative framework that has a blurred division of liability between the parties. This had led to the following research question with the objective of making better informed decisions in future construction projects:

How do existing Danish framework conditions and standard contract terms interact with the utilization of BIM in construction projects? And do they represent a potential barrier for the value creation with BIM?

It is found that there is a positive correlation between the number of legally disputed points and the BIM maturity level of parties as illustrated in figure. It is also found that there is a gap between the existing legal framework conditions' and standard contract terms' ability to support the most value-creating utilization of BIM.

The thesis performs a longitudinal case study of a Danish hospital construction project where BIM has been used on a high maturity level and nine explorative interviews with professionals representing different entities in the construction industry. An in-depth analysis provides an overview of the most important legal issues associated with BIM. It is concluded that there are both direct and indirect barriers in the present Danish framework conditions and standard contract terms. For the general contractor this implies that potential applications of BIM are impeded by legal risks and uncertainties. The legal frameworks lacks a treatment of the legal status of the building models, liability regarding tendering with quantities, liability regarding mistaken interoperability, responsibility for ICT-coordination and intellectual property of digital data.

In addition to these barriers, the studies have revealed that missing case law in relation to BIM is creating further uncertainty and reluctance, partly because it makes it difficult to carry out an adequate risk assessment of the tender conditions and the ICT-specifications.

If the requirements regarding the use of BIM are not unequivocally described in the tendering terms, the project parties face the risk of litigation. Therefore, the research presents legal guidelines that should be followed in order to improve BIM utilization in the specific construction project and in construction industry in general.

For any further information in English, do not hesitate to contact the author.
Publication date21 Jun 2013
Number of pages137


The number of legal issues with respect to BIM is affected by the maturity level of parties and the form of collaboration.
ID: 77813508