AEC Industry Thought Leaders Rethink Risk Mitigation in New White Paper

MANCHESTER, NH -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 30, 2008 -- A newly released survey has found consensus among leading AEC principals, counsel and professional liability insurers that many of the industry's current practices, despite being designed to shield architecture and engineering firms from risk exposure, are, in fact, increasing the likelihood of project failure. The research is available in a white paper, "Mitigating Risk in AEC Project Execution: Perspectives from Principals, Counsel and Insurers," by Spar Point Research of Danvers, Mass.

Newforma, Inc., a New Hampshire-based software developer, commissioned Spar Point to conduct the research based on Spar Point's success with a previous Newforma white paper, "Improving AEC Project Execution: Lessons from 11 Industry Leaders." This time the focus of the survey was to investigate the challenge of risk mitigation in project delivery. The participating executives agreed that more frequent and deeper information sharing across the entire project team can improve the team's clarity of understanding, reduce the likelihood and severity of problems, and increase control over a project's outcome. However, opinions on how best to achieve the transparency and knowledge-exchange necessary for this type of "informed control" were divided between the newly-emerging data-centric design and construction processes supported by BIM (building information modeling) and a more people-oriented investment in developing and supporting high-level project management methods and skills.

Spar Point President of Research Bruce Jenkins attributes this duality to the underlying process intensity of AEC projects. "While BIM technology offers unquestionable improvement in clarity around the design, the processes required to manage the project 'outside' the model are still being defined," said Jenkins. "At transitional times like these, the need for experienced project managers with the necessary skills to identify gaps or anticipate new work processes is even more accentuated."

Several interviewees were hopeful for new technologies, or extensions to current BIM technology, that would also improve the process and clarity of project communications outside the building model in order to prevent other risks to project success -- like an unexpectedly large invoice at the end of the job or an overlooked customer expectation -- that can result from project complexity, overwhelming volumes of information and increased work load.

"What's surprising is the degree to which the industry has recognized software technology as an accepted, if not expected, path to improvement in communicating design intent, but is still in the early stages of investigating technology for challenges such as poor management of client expectations, inadequate project risk assessment, non-standard practices, and other sources of project risk identified in this study."

Firms interviewed for the study include Ames & Gough, Barry B. LePatner & Associates LLP, Burns & McDonnell, Hanson Bridgett LLP, HOK, NBBJ, Perkins+Will, Noble & Wickersham LLP, Victor O. Schinnerer & Company, Walter P Moore, and XL Specialty Insurance Company.

The full research paper, which includes detailed quotations from interviewees on every area of risk mitigation, is available from the Newforma website,

About Spar Point

Spar Point Research LLC ( investigates new technologies that improve the productivity, quality and safety of work process for creating, modifying and managing engineered products and constructed assets. Its publications, industry conferences and custom consulting help practitioners maximize the business impact of technology. Spar Point hosts the SPAR Conference, an annual conference on advanced dimensional control work processes and 3D imaging technologies. Spar Point's phone number is 978-774-1102.

About Newforma

Newforma is a software company serving architecture, engineering, construction and owner/operator (AECO) organizations worldwide. Its mission is to develop and market software solutions which significantly improve the productivity of the building project team by streamlining work processes, reducing exposure from errors and omissions, improving coordination and communication, and enabling greater repeatability of project success. Newforma® Project Center, Newforma's flagship product, creates a more productive environment for project managers and the project team by organizing project information, facilitating information sharing, and enabling more effective project process. Newforma Project Center is currently implemented on over 50,000 projects in industry-leading AECO firms. For more information about Newforma, visit or phone +1 (603) 625-6212.

© 2008 Newforma, Inc. Newforma is a registered trademark of Newforma, Inc., in the United States and other countries. All other brands or products are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders and should be treated as such.

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