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AIA Digital Practice Documents—2013

The documents developed by the AIA for digital practice are the result of an evolving practice model that was initially launched with documents published in October 2007. The AIA closely monitored digital practice initiatives, and in 2013 it published updated digital practice documents more representative of current practices. The 2013 Digital Practice Documents are:

  • AIA Document E203-2013, Building Information Modeling and Digital Data Exhibit
  • AIA Document G201-2013, Project Digital Data Protocol Form
  • AIA Document G202-2013, Project Building Information Modeling Protocol Form
  • AIA Document C106-2013, Digital Data Licensing Agreement

In addition to the contract documents, the AIA Documents Committee published the Guide, Instructions and Commentary to the 2013 AIA Digital Practice Documents. The Guide is free to everyone and available for download at acdpages.aia.org, OR aia.org. At 63 pages, the Guide is very comprehensive and explains background, commentary and document instructions. It is a good resource for learning about BIM and the AIA digital documents, and it is suggested that you download it on your laptop, tablet or PDA and treat it like your favorite novel.

If you are just becoming acquainted with digital practice, be cautioned that it is a detailed and complicated process because it is new and developing design technology. There are numerous avenues of approach, and no one specific project delivery approach has been established nor known cases tested in the courts. Nonetheless, it has been forecast that BIM will soon become the central platform for design, construction and building operation in our industry.

To begin, we will review the purpose and use of the AIA digital documents.

AIA Document E203-2013, Building Information Modeling and Digital Data Exhibit

This is an exhibit to be attached to an existing or new professional services agreement such as B101 and C401 referenced above or a properly drafted non-AIA owner-architect or consulting agreement. It is not tied to the AIA documents, and it is not a stand-alone contract. This document is intended to accomplish the following:

  • Establish parties’ expectations for use of digital data and BIM modeling on the project
  • Provide a process for developing detailed protocols and procedures for data use
  • Requires implementation of document G201-2013, Project Digital Data Protocol Form
  • Requires implementation of document G202-2013, Project Building Information Modeling Protocol Form

While it is intended to be utilized as an exhibit to the professional services agreement at project inception, it can also be incorporated into an existing AIA agreement using AIA Document G701-2001, Change Order, AIA Document G802-2007, Amendment to the Professional Services Agreement, or AIA Document G803-2007, Amendment to the Consultant Services Agreement.

It is important to remember that documents G201-2013 and G202-2013 are not agreements and are not signed by the participating parties. They are only project forms used to document the digital data and BIM protocols once they have been agreed upon. Accordingly, it is important that they be monitored and managed the same as, for example, an updated specification section would be, to be sure that the participants have accepted and agreed to the latest version.

AIA Document G201-2013, Project Digital Data Protocol Form

This document is intended to accomplish the following:

  • To be used with AIA Document E203-2013, Building Information Modeling and Digital Data Protocol Exhibit
  • Documents the agreed-upon protocols and procedures governing transfer and use of electronic communication and non-BIM data by all parties
  • Does not speak to issues addressed in G202-2013
  • Intended to be updated as needed

AIA Document G201-2013, Article 3, Transmission and Use of Digital Data

The reality of the digital age is that virtually every project communication can be transmitted and used in digital form. Agreements, meeting agendas and minutes, requests for information and basic communications texts and emails, those things that used to spill out of our filing cabinets as paper documents, are now primarily in electronic form. They can be much more difficult to manage and control. Article 3 is intended to identify the digital data that will be transmitted and used on the project.

The proper handling of digital documents and data is a risk management reality for every architect’s office regardless of the level of its use of 3D modeling or an advanced collaboration or alternative project delivery method. A firm’s electronic document management protocol and methodology is an important practice standard; to disregard is to disengage.

AIA Document G202-2013, Project Building Information Modeling Protocol Form

This document is intended to accomplish the following:

  • To be used with AIA Document E203-2013, Building Information Modeling and Digital Data Protocol Exhibit
  • Documents the agreed-upon protocols and procedures governing development, transfer and use of BIM models (consistent with the BIM Execution Plan)
  • Establishes model development at the five levels addressed earlier in this white paper
  • Authorizes use of model content at each level of development
  • Assigns authorship and responsibility of each model element by project milestone
  • Defines extent to which model users may rely on model content
  • Clarifies model ownership
  • Sets forth BIM standards and file formats.

AIA Document C106-2013, Digital Data Licensing Agreement

If no AIA agreement such as B101 or C401 is being used or no alternate agreement that contains conditions for licensing, AIA Document C106-2013, Project Digital Data Licensing Agreement can be used. This document serves as an agreement between two parties for the licensed use and transmission of digital data, including instruments of service. If C106 is used, exercise care to define usage rights for the BIM or any other digital data.

It is intended to accomplish the following:

  • Grants a limited non-exclusive license to use the digital data
  • Sets procedures for transmitting the data
  • Places restrictions on the license granted
  • Indemnifies the model author
  • Allows for collection of a licensing fee

Use this document when you need to send digital data to someone where there is no existing agreement. Take care to define the terms of use in this licensing agreement. You do not need to use this document if you have entered into an AIA owner/architect or architect/consultant agreement such as B101 or C401, or an owner/contractor standard form agreement that incorporates AIA Document A201-2007, General Conditions of the Contract for Construction. These agreements already provide licensing terms.

However, to establish the protocols and procedures to govern the development, use transmission and exchange of the digital data, in short, to manage your risks when handing over something as important as a BIM model and control its use, you should incorporate E203, Building Information Modeling and Digital Data Exhibit, and G202-2013, Project Building Information Modeling Protocol Form, into your agreements to define the limits of the licensed granted.


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