BIM before the English Courts

by White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP

In a judgment released in August 2017, the UK High Court granted an interim injunction requiring a Building Information Modelling ("BIM") coordinator to provide access to a common data environment.

BIM is increasingly popular on construction projects as a process to improve efficiency, management, and design integration. A key element of BIM systems is that various disciplines can manage and access a single digital data room known as a common data environment. The English Technology and Construction Court's ("TCC") recent judgment in Trant Engineering Limited v Mott MacDonald Ltd [2017] EWHC 2061 (TCC) highlights some of the key issues for parties to consider on BIM enabled projects.

Key facts

The key facts of the case were as follows:

  • Trant Engineering Limited ("Trant") was employed by the Ministry of Defence as the main contractor on the Mid Atlantic Power Project in the Falkland Islands. Mott MacDonald Ltd ("MML") was engaged by Trant to provide design services and to act as the BIM coordinator, controlling access to the common data environment.
  • A payment dispute arose and the parties disagreed over whether a contract existed between them at all. MML suspended its services and revoked Trant's access codes to the common data environment. Trant terminated the alleged contract and, pending resolution of the substantive dispute, sought an interim injunction from the TCC requiring MML to provide Trant, and others involved in the project, with access to the design data and design materials that were stored in the common data environment.


The TCC granted the interim mandatory injunction and held, amongst other things, that:

  • Damages would not provide an adequate remedy for Trant because the likely losses on the GBP 55 million project would far exceed the GBP 1 million cap on damages recoverable from MML under the alleged contract. The TCC also found that Trant's potential losses would not be purely financial since the works were part of "a wider project to benefit the Falkland Islands".
  • The balance of convenience favoured granting the injunction. Even if a contract had not been formed, there was a "high degree of assurance" that Trant was entitled to access the design data in the common data environment. It was also relevant that, without access, Trant would lose a year's progress on its works, so the injunction would preserve the status quo.


As this case demonstrates, the coordinator of the common data environment within a BIM enabled project can be the gatekeeper to the data room for the entire project. If a BIM coordinator revokes access to a common data environment, which contractually it may be entitled to do (for example, for non-payment), the BIM coordinator is not only revoking access to its own designs, for example, but, potentially, to all other designs, schedules, contracts, reports and other data and information about the project within that platform.

In circumstances where the BIM coordinator is one of the project participants and not the employer, revocation of access to a common data environment could bring the project as a whole to a standstill. Whilst injunctive relief might be available in some jurisdictions, such as England & Wales, in other jurisdictions, it might not. Moreover, courts and tribunals often face difficulties when trying to deal with urgent injunction applications, as it is often unclear which party is right, and the prospects of success will depend on the particular facts and circumstances of each case.

It might be said that an employer is best placed to act as the BIM coordinator; however, the employer itself may not have the capability and / or the requisite technical expertise to act in that capacity.

On each project it is essential to carefully consider which party is best placed to host and control access to the common data environment. If, for example, a project participant is best placed to act as the data coordinator and gatekeeper, an employer may wish to regularly extract and store data from the common data environment, so as to ensure it has the most up-to-date project information. This may help to reduce the risk of a project becoming paralysed in the event access to the common data environment is denied.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© White & Case LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.