Are Your Building Projects on Hold? Use This Time for BIM Coordination

Michael Tobias
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    Avoiding change orders is in the best interest of construction managers, since these changes waste materials and man-hours. Depending on how a project contract is structured, the cost of changes may fall on the contractor, the owner, or both. However, there will always be someone who loses money when a construction project needs changes. Unplanned modifications also delay the project - in the real estate sector, this means waiting longer to charge rent.

    The key to preventing change orders is detecting clashes and conflicting specifications early in the design stage. Modifications in design documents take some time, but correcting construction work is far more expensive - time, materials, and skilled labor are wasted. The current construction slowdown due to coronavirus is an excellent chance for BIM coordination, fixing any design errors such as MEP clashes.

    Avoid construction issues and change orders with clash detection and resolution.

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    Thanks to modern communication technology, project design, and other engineering tasks can continue during emergencies like the COVID-19 outbreak. This helps keep the construction industry moving, and projects can be resumed faster after the emergency. With clash detection and resolution, many construction issues can be solved before they occur. This helps developers complete their projects faster while staying on budget.

    Clash Detection in Construction Projects

    virtual reality design

    The systems that keep buildings in operation are complex, with many types of equipment and components. Different installations must often share tight spaces, such as the space between a drop ceiling and the upper floor slab. With so many components together, location conflicts can occur. If these issues reach the construction stage undetected, they may result in expensive changes. Clash resolution can save developers plenty of money, fixing errors before they occur.

    There are three main types of clashes in construction projects, which are summarized below:

    Clash Type


    Hard clash

    Equipment or components have overlapping locations, which makes the installation physically impossible. Example: Electrical conduit that crosses an air duct in design documents.

    Soft clash

    Equipment or components have no overlap, but they interfere with each other due to proximity. Example: Placing a component one meter away from an equipment piece that requires a two-meter clearance.

    Workflow clash

    Issues that affect workflow, even when there are no hard or soft clashes. Example: Planning an activity on the 2nd month of a project, which relies on materials that arrive on the 3rd month.

    When hard or soft clashes are detected, building system components must be moved to solve the issue. On the other hand, workflow clashes can normally be solved by changing the project plan. However, changes in the physical layout of a project can also help solve a workflow clash. For example, if a non-critical component will interfere with a piece of equipment that comes later, it can simply be moved out of the way.

    During the clash detection and resolution process, MEP engineers can also optimize the layout of building systems. This can help reduce project costs while simplifying construction work. For example, it may be possible to power all electrical devices on a floor with less conduit and wiring, saving materials and electrician hours.

    How Modern Design Software Simplifies Clash Resolution

    clash resolution

    Back when all construction plans were drawn in two dimensions, detecting clashes was more difficult. In 2D CAD software, vertical distances are not evident and many components must be drawn with overlap. However, modern design software like Autodesk Revit changes this: location conflicts are visible in 3D, and the software is smart enough to detect them.

    When only 2D design software was available, design professionals had to detect clashes without help. In tight spaces with many components, such as mechanical rooms, clash detection can be challenging even for experts. However, since modern BIM software detects clashes, engineers and architects can use time more productively - instead of searching for errors, they can focus on the best solution for each error detected.

    Once the coronavirus outbreak is over, resuming construction projects quickly is important. By focusing on clash detection and resolution now that projects are on hold, developers can save plenty of time later. Thanks to remote collaboration technology, design professionals can work on construction documents without meeting. Also, many building departments now accept electronic submissions for project approvals and work permits.

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    Tags : BIM construction management BIM coordination clash detection clash resolution

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