Sub-Contractors & BIM; How to Mitigate Risk

The advent of BIM on the construction industry has released a wave of procurement and contract changes that has fundamentally rebalanced who shoulders the risk of project uncertainty. We'll dive into the origins of this problem and find solutions for risk mitigation that can benefit everyone.


The BIM Coordination Process typically falls into three parts:

1.) Modeling. Subcontractors produce their individual 3D models per the contract 2D design drawings.

2.) Coordination. Sub-contractors meet regularly to work out clashes between the models.

3.) Sign-off. Sub-contractors sign a binding document for the GC stating that the model is clash free and that the sub will be responsible any resultant costs associated with issues in the field.


In the past, before BIM was widely implemented, GCs primarily shouldered the risk of constructability issues, having to pay liquidated damages for late delivery and change orders for sub contract changes. But now, GCs have been able to use BIM to offload that risk onto Subs. The problem is that sub-contractors can't just charge 5% more because the risk is often not small but catastrophic resulting in bankruptcy. So what can an MEPF sub do when faced with this hurdle?


The best approach is multifaceted:


A.) Put together a team of high knowledge BIM experts! The software is challenging, but so is the trade knowledge base. You need someone with both the experience in navigating BIM software as well as knowledge of local US codes and best practices. Our team is 100% based and trained in the US.

B.) Have your team audit the design models. The GC will typically supply the architectural and structural design models but they will not warrant them. Performing an audit on the design models allows you to take comfort in the fact that the model is truly clash free.

C.) Ensure that you are working with precision models. Get the right LOD! Get the right Dimensions! Get the existing conditions exactly right!


Call us today and we can provide a free consultation in understanding how best to approach your scope and ensure that project risk is minimized.