QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Who Takes Responsibility For BIM Errors?

This Question of the Week comes from the IFMA Building Information Modeling (BIM) Lifecycle Operations Group on LinkedIn.

What liability and risk do BIM simulation software vendors face if the structure fails? And if an MEP or structural engineer is required to wet stamp and sign drawings prior to issuing for permits and construction:


  1. How are they doing so using BIM software?
  2. Where is the AEC industry today with regard to proper security and alterations of their design and specification documents?
  3. If engineers use BIM to specify building components and a flaw in the software leads to a failure in the actual structure, what liability do the software vendors assume, if any?

Name withheld

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  1. In the end, the quantity of liability is the same as in the pre-BIM days: very simplistically, a building fails to perform as anticipated, damages are incurred, and recovery is distributed among parties found liable. Who those parties are turns, as always, on the facts of each case. While software vendors may use limitation of liability clauses in software licensing agreements to shield themselves from design professional claims for indemnification, nothing stands in the way of claims from personal injuries to third-parties – except if a statute is passed limiting such claims. Where building owners, tenants and other occupants have claims turns on a wide range of facts, contracts and applicable statutes.

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