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What is the CIC BIM Protocol and why was it developed?

The CIC BIM Protocol is a standard contract document developed by the CIC in the UK for design and construction in a BIM project. Find out what it is and what it is used for

To lay the foundations for an optimal workflow within a BIM project, the use of a BIM protocol – a set of guidelines that identify standards and rules that all the actors involved in the construction process must follow – can be very useful.

In this way, it is possible to immediately define the methods to be followed throughout the process, the responsibilities and roles of each, the legislative bases and the software technologies to be used (BIM collaboration platform, BIM authoring software, etc.).

Many organizations have created a number of references around the world; one the most important is the CIC BIM Protocol, developed by the CIC (Construction Industry Council).

Let’s find out together what is and why it was developed.

What is CIC for BIM?

The Construction Industry Council, or CIC, is an English organization that was founded in 1988 and brings together more than 500,000 professionals:

  • professional associations;
  • research associations;
  • firms;
  • more.

It was created with the aim of promoting constructive activities, encouraging quality, continuous updating, sustainability and collaboration among the parties through the use of BIM.

The CIC has developed numerous types of contracts and specific documents, including the CIC BIM Protocol, developed in response to the British Government’s BIM Strategy.

What is the CIC BIM Protocol?

The CIC BIM Protocol is the standard contractual BIM protocol used in England.

It was commissioned by the Construction Industry Council and first published in 2013, then updated in 2018, in relation to the progress made in the field Building Information Model and its standards.

It is configured as an additional agreement between the client and the team of designers/builders, in the design, contract or subcontract, which must be drawn up before the appointing of the team itself.

It outlines the responsibilities and obligations of each party, focusing on the stages of data exchange and the final results to be achieved.

Why was the CIC BIM Protocol developed?

The CIC BIM Protocol has been developed to be used in Level 2 BIM projects (required by BS PAS 1192-2:2013). This was necessary as the UK government imposed the achievement of BIM level 2 for all public projects from 2016, to ensure an adequate level of digitization and drastically transform the construction industry.

The United Kingdom has immediately encouraged the progress of the AEC sector thanks to BIM, ranking first in Europe for promoting the training of technicians and the use of BIM also in the private sectors.

Remember that, according to PAS 1192, Level 2 deals with all aspects concerning a complete collaboration between stakeholders, who must use 3D BIM software to create separate disciplinary models that will then be combined into a single federated model.

PAS 1192 refers to 4 levels of maturity of BIM, which range from Level 0 to Level 3. Read this interesting article “From 0 to 3, what are the levels of BIM maturity“, to get more insights with regard to the characteristics of the different levels of maturity.

CIC BIM Protocol for BIM Level 2

CIC BIM Protocol for BIM Level 2

Does the CIC BIM Protocol provide for the appointment of a manager?

According to the CIC BIM Protocol, the client must appoint an information manager.

This particular technical role should not be confused with the BIM Coordinator; in fact, the tasks that are normally covered do not include clash detection and  models coordination. Conversely, it consists of checking that the data developed is always under control and safe throughout the procedure defined by the protocol.

This appointment is not fixed, it may vary during the course of the design phase: if, for example, in the early stages of the construction process, the designer can be configured as the person responsible for the information flows, in the subsequent executive phases it could also become the contractor.


Information control

How did the CIC BIM Protocol change in 2018?

In 2018, the protocol updates, necessary to keep up with developments in the sector, redefine a CIC BIM Protocol that:

  • is much more flexible;
  • is configured as an agreement that takes precedence in cases of conflict for the obligations of the client or the project team;
  • is aligned with PAS 1192-2 being applied to the information and not to the design models;
  • defines the information requirements necessary for the client from the design phase to the executive phase, as defined by the standard;
  • clarifies the characteristics of the responsibilities related to the production of the models, in line with the various design phases, outlining a series of responsibilities;
  • includes a new information coordination process and new ways of resolving interferences;
  • gets updated according to the changes to standards, programs, and the Common Data Environment (CDE).

It’s important to specify that the protocol must be incorporated into the contract between the parties and represents a useful guideline to understand how to achieve certain objectives.

If you are looking for a way to improve collaboration among parties to grant simultaneous access of information to all participants, try out this BIM Management System, based on cloud software technology ensuring secure storage and rapid access to all your project information.