Building information modelling is often referred to as better information management.

Even before we were regularly using BIM and the technology that enables the data sharing and processes, there were projects from which we could have learnt.

Although I am no designer, this post merely passes on some tips from a tricky court case which is a paradigm for how not to manage information between the client and its D&B contractor.

What you should do

Sharing information is an element of the duty of good faith – which may be either express in a contract, or which is increasingly being implied into construction contracts.

Here are the court’s suggestions:

  • Seek “as much information” as you can.
  • Do not design “on assumptions [but]… find out the facts for [yourself].”
  • Ensure, as “that there was proper communication between the designer and the installer.”
  • Ensure any checks of design assumptions are followed up: “if the design engineer worked from drawings, [they] would need the installing engineer to check that [their] design assumptions were well-founded.”
  • Obtain good information and collaborate within and across teams, to avoid: “the patently inadequate information which the [contractor] had, and the difference of approach between its two designers which was its probable result.”
  • Do more than just check “the system had been installed in accordance with the drawings“, especially where the drawings are inadequate.

Case: Trebor Bassett Holdings Ltd & Anor v ADT Fire and Security Plc [2011] EWHC 1936 (TCC).

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