It’s been a couple of years but we are still waiting for the implementation of BIM Level 3.

It’s been a couple of years but we are still waiting for the implementation of BIM Level 3. The next level of BIM, which is intended to address the flaws in BIM Level 2, was launched by the government in March 2015, and the plan was to have five years of preparation followed by five of implementation, with early adopter projects beginning in 2017/18. Indeed, government projects were supposed to start using BIM Level 3 in January 2017. However, there is no update as to how its development is going and the proposals for industry-wide implementation are still unknown.

Meanwhile, the government has extended the deadline for the Shorter Trials Scheme and the Flexible Trials Scheme pilots to 30 September 2018. The government introduced these pilot schemes in October 2015 with the intention that they will lead to shorter trials at the High Court in London, at a more reasonable and proportionate cost than usual litigation. In summary, the Shorter Trials Scheme applies to simple cases where no extensive disclosure is required, particulars are less than 20 pages, and trial is no more than four days long whilst the Flexible Trials Scheme requires parties to agree to a truncated procedure which limits disclosure and oral evidence, and focuses on written evidence and submissions. Uptake on either Scheme has been limited – only a small number of cases have been issued or transferred to the Shorter Trials Scheme and fewer have used the Flexible Trials Scheme. It is not clear whether this slow uptake is due to lack of public awareness, caution of parties, or perhaps some other factor, but the deadline for the Schemes has been extended as a result. More information on the Schemes can be found here.

From 18 October 2018, all contracting authorities will be required to permit the submission of electronic tenders. This extends to all communication and information exchanged in the tender process. It has been implemented through the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and applies to contracts that are above £164,176 in value. The Regulation is intended to promote traceability, transparency and auditability in the procurement process.

Finally, the government is due to unveil new legislation that works to reverse charge VAT in the construction sector. The new reverse charge VAT scheme will transfer the burden of liability for VAT from the supplier to the recipient, where it will be the supplier who has to account for VAT that is due. The new regime works to combat a common issue of fraud in the construction industry whereby supply chains are artificially extended in order to avoid paying VAT. By requiring the recipient to pay VAT directly to HMRC, it avoids the need for VAT being collected at a later date and risking exposure to fraud.