What contract management has learned from BIM.
Building Information Modelling (BIM) talks about the ‘digital twin’ as a virtual replica of a built asset. It holds a richness of information that is impossible to view from the physical asset alone. It also provides a method of associating data within a virtual model using intuitive links between assets.
For many years, contract management has followed a traditional evolution from written notices to digital communications. At CEMAR, we’re aiming to create an advancement in the use of technology to produce a digital twin of the contract. Instead of focussing on documents and communications, we focus on events.
During the lifecycle of the contract, numerous events occur. We believe using events as the starting point in accessing contractual information provides an intuitive link between the written contract and its real-world management.
BIM allows the User to explore and reveal valuable knowledge associated with a built asset which is only accessible when presented as a whole, not in a series of drawings. Collaborative workflows are supported by an audit trail of printable drawings and structured data files. Similarly, contracts in CEMAR have an intuitive approach; every contract is contained within a shared space where parties can explore the different events, their history and associations. Action reminders, registers and associated event relationships manage individual events with documents being created and stored as a formal audit trail in the same way that as-built drawings formalise a record of the built environment.
Significant to adopting BIM is acknowledging a common language and set of processes throughout the whole project team – they must mean the same thing when using the same words. This is only possible through training, guidance and relentlessly reinforcing best practice.
Contract management has suffered similarly, people using the same form of contract may describe an identical event in different terms. A compensation event under NEC becomes a “variation”, “change order” or “change notice”. CEMAR aims at cutting through these ambiguities to provide a shared platform with common language and processes that all can agree on.
Contract management and Building Information Modelling are complementary in acquiring information about the built environment. They are on a similar journey from analogue to digital processes however, crucially, they are different functions requiring specialist applications to bring the processes to life.
At CEMAR, we’re passionate about unlocking the power of managing contractual events online in a collaborative space. CEMAR is the contract’s digital twin.