The Long Journey of Making Models as Contract Documents a Reality

In the last 15 years, BIM has proven its value in the AECO industry.

Models are commonly used as tools for service and as deliverables. Architects, engineers, construction managers and owners have developed skills, procedures, and expectations of how to work with models.

Nevertheless, we observe that in the relationship between owner, design team and contractors, models are exchanged, but not trusted. It is common practice that construction teams receive design models for information only, and authoritative information needs to be derived from drawings.

The creators of this presentation believe the current practice is inefficient and that elevating models to be authoritative sources of information will unlock significant potential for our industry. Information that is coded into a model can be interpreted, analyzed, and processed by computers and enable automation in areas that are unrealized today.

In this presentation, we will describe and analyze current practices and inherent inefficiencies, identify factors that have prevented models to be used as contract documents, and make suggestions of how our industry can move toward model-based construction documents. We will show how the horizontal construction industry is approaching and succeeding with using models as contract documents and explore what lessons learned can be applied to the building industry. Furthermore, we will explore legal, process and technological aspects of model exchanges, and identify bottlenecks and roadblocks that have prevented our industry from using models as contract documents so far.

Learning objectives:

  • What is the current state of our industry relative to using models and contract documents and what are the problems associated with the current practice?
  • What is the untapped potential with making models contract documents?
  • What are limitations relative to using models as contract documents?
  • How is the horizontal building industry approaching making models contract documents?
03:45 PM - 04:45 PM
23 May 2024


Jim Bedrick
Senior Industry Advisor, Strategic Building Innovation, and Founder and Principal, AEC Process Engineering
Carrie Sturts Dossick
Professor and Associate Dean for Research, P.D. Koon Professor of Construction Management, Department of Construction Management, College of Built Environments, University of Washington
Roger Grant
Vice President, Building Technology, NIBS
Jan Reinhardt
Principal and Founder, ADEPT Project Delivery