CIC BIM Protocol
The Construction Industry Council (CIC) Building Information Modelling Protocol: Standard protocol for use in projects using Building Information Models (the CIC BIM Protocol) was first published in February 2013. It was commissioned by CIC as part of its response to the UK Government Construction Strategy which stated that '...Government will require fully collaborative 3D BIM (with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic) as a minimum by 2016'.
The CIC BIM Protocol claims to be suitable for use on all Level 2 BIM projects. It can be downloaded from the website of the BIM Task Group, along with two appendices, guidance notes and model contract amendments. It is a 7 page supplementary legal agreement that can be incorporated into professional services appointments, construction contracts, sub contracts and novation agreements by addition of a model enabling amendment. It establishes specific obligations, liabilities and limitations on the use of building information models and can be used by clients to mandate particular working practices.
- PAS 1192-2 Specification for information management for the capital/delivery phase of construction projects using Building Information Modelling. (now replaced by BS EN ISO 19650)
- PAS 1192-3 Specification for information management for the operational phase of construction projects using building information modelling.
- Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) standard data format.
- COBie (Construction Operations Building Information Exchange).
- BIM Toolkit.
The protocol is a contractual document that takes precedence over existing agreements. Clause 2.1 states '…In the event of a conflict or inconsistency between the terms of this Protocol and any other documents contained in and/or forming part of the Agreement, except where the Protocol states otherwise, the terms of this Protocol shall prevail.' Parties to the protocol may wish to consult their insurers to seek confirmation that they are not accepting un-insured contractual duties by adopting the protocol.
It is important therefore that the protocol and its appendices are made available pre-appointment and that changes to it or its appendices are treated as variations to the contract, following suitable change control procedures.
The protocol provides the definition of responsibilities, liabilities and limitations for project team members and defines deliverables to a specific level of detail (LOD) for 'data drops' at key stages during the development of the project. This is set out on a project-specific basis in a Model Production and Delivery Table (MPDT) in Appendix 1 to the protocol. Appendix 2 sets out the information management standards that will be adopted.
The protocol requires that the client appoints an information manager. This appointment may change through the course of the project (for example the lead designer or lead consultant may be the information manager during the early stages but then the contractor during construction). The information manager is not a BIM co-ordinator and has no responsibility for clash detection or model coordination. They are essentially a procedural gate-keeper, policing the model to ensure it follows the protocol and that the data is secure.
As with copyright on conventionally designed buildings, the protocol grants a licence to the client to use the information contained in the model(s) produced for the 'permitted purpose' (ie for the purpose for which that level of detail of information was intended). A sub-license from the client enables project team members to use models prepared by other project team members, but if the client wishes third parties to use the model, a new license may be required.
The protocol guidance advocates the use of collaborative practices and the adoption of PAS 1192-2 (Publicly Available Specification for information management for the capital/delivery phase of construction projects using building information modelling), but there are no references to such practices or specifications in the protocol itself.
The CIC warns that any future move to Level 3 BIM (the creation of a single, online project model with construction sequencing, cost and lifecycle management information), may raise very different issues of responsibility, copyright and liability that will require the development of new protocols.
 Second edition
The Protocol remains the UK's only standard contractual BIM protocol, and has been drafted by international construction law specialists Beale & Company, following consultation with industry professionals and legal practitioners. The new edition is updated to reflect the significant progress made with BIM standards and practices since the it was first published in 2013. It is closely aligned with PAS 1192-2 and includes security provisions reflecting PAS 1192-5.
CIC describe the updated version as '...a more flexible document, which can be used alongside a range of different contractual arrangements'.
Andrew Croft, Associate at Beale & Company said; “We are very pleased to have been involved in what has been an extremely interesting project and hope that the second edition of the Protocol will help provide additional clarity as to how contractual obligations in relation to BIM are addressed”.
Graham Watts OBE, Chief Executive of CIC, said; “CIC has had a seven-year involvement with being at the leading edge of promoting best practice in BIM, which continues with the work of our BIM Forum. The Second Edition of the BIM Protocol demonstrated our ongoing commitment to the multi-professional, collaboration potential of BIM.”
To download the Second edition, see here.
For a legal analysis see: The BIM Protocol Second Edition... Three Months On.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- BIM execution plan.
- BIM for dummies - an interview.
- CIC BIM 2050 group.
- Construction Industry Council.
- Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie).
- Collaborative practices.
- Common data environment.
- Design liability.
- Employer's Information Requirements.
- Government Construction Strategy.
- Industry Foundation Classes.
- Information manager.
- Level of detail.
- Model enabling amendment.
- Model production and delivery table.
- PAS 1192-2.
- PAS 1192-3.
- Soft landings.
 External references
- BIM Task Group, CIC BIM Protocol.
- AEC BIM Protocol. (UK)
- AGC ConcensusDocs 301- BIM Addendum. (USA)
- The American Institute of Architects Document E202- BIM Protocol.
- The B1M BIM Protocol Explained (video)