Using BIM when working with JCT contracts

26 August 2019 | By Richard Saxon

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New BIM guidance from JCT aims to fill a gap in the skills of clients and their advisers, writes Richard Saxon.

Richard Saxon

JCT is in favour of BIM. It can reduce risks and disputes whilst increasing effective collaboration on projects. But it does have to be applied with knowledge and skill. A new guidance document from JCT attempts to fill a gap identified in the skills of clients and their advisers, moving us towards the goal of making BIM “business as usual”.

JCT, which provides the most used standard forms of contract, was the first contract authoring body to provide specific advice on BIM and contracts with its guidance note Building Information Modelling (BIM): Collaborative and Integrated Team Working, published in 2016. It also integrated specific BIM provisions into the JCT 2016 Edition of contracts.

JCT works on the basis that instructions on information management will be put into a protocol attached to the contract and one which is compatible with the terms of the contract.

The Winfield-Rock Report, published in spring 2018, identified many weaknesses in practice, stemming from the lack of familiarity with BIM amongst clients and their legal advisers. For example, appointments often asked for Level 2 BIM without further definition, ignored the need for a protocol on rights and requirements and were overcautious in areas which are already dealt with in the BIM codes of practice.

May Winfield later approached JCT to produce a guide to the specific aspects of applying BIM whilst using JCT contracts. Now with Buro Happold, she worked with Andrew Croft of Beale & Co and David-John Gibbs of dispute specialist HKA, and the finished article was published in May 2019.

BIM and JCT Contracts flags each of the clauses in the JCT Design and Built Contract (DB) which are affected by BIM use and need consideration. DB was chosen as the most popular of the JCT contracts for projects using BIM, but similar thought is relevant for all JCT forms. The guidance then looks at the protocol and points up how it should be populated to ensure that the interests of clients and suppliers are served. The guidance doesn’t tell users what to say, just what to consider.

BIM and JCT Contracts is available from the JCT website at

Richard Saxon CBE is chairman of JCT and a member of the advisory board of Construction Manager

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