Earlier this year, the High Court provided its first decision in relation to Building Information Modelling (BIM) in the case of Trant Engineering Limited v Mott MacDonald Limited  EWHC 2061 (TCC).
Trant Engineering Limited (Trant) was engaged by the Ministry of Defence as the main contractor on a £55 million Mid-Atlantic Power Project to construct a power station at Mount Pleasant Complex in the Falkland Islands. Trant appointed Mott MacDonald Limited (MML) to provide design services and act as the BIM coordinator, controlling access to data for the entire project.
The parties fell into dispute over the scope of the work and payment. MML suspended its services and revoked the passwords provided to Trant which were used to access the design data held on the licenced software programme, known as ProjectWise.
Pending resolution of the substantive dispute, Trant made an application to the Technology and Construction Court (TCC) seeking an interim injunction to require MML to provide access to the design data it had prepared and sorted on ProjectWise to Trant and others involved in the project.
The TCC ordered MML to restore access to the relevant design data subject to Trant making a payment into court. In making this decision, the Court considered that:
The case highlights the importance of the BIM coordinator (who is essentially the gatekeeper to the data for an entire project). It is able to not only revoke access to its own design but to all other information contained on the platform.
As a result, parties will need to carefully consider who is best placed to undertake the responsibility of hosting the data.
Arguably, if the employer retains full control over access to the data for the entire project then this should reduce the risk of the project coming to a standstill if a dispute arose. However, employers will need to ensure that they have the technical knowledge and capability in order to fulfil this role.