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The Power of BIM Clash Detection: Preventing Costly On Site Conflicts

Written by BIM Outsourcing
August 3, 2023

The Power of BIM Clash Detection: Preventing Costly On Site Conflicts is a game-changer in the construction industry.

Envision starting a major building project. You've got your designs, your team, and your schedule all set.

But then, during the construction phase, unforeseen conflicts arise between different elements of the design. Suddenly, you’re faced with costly rework and delays that could have been avoided.

This is where The Power of BIM Clash Detection: Preventing Costly On Site Conflicts comes into play. It's not just about avoiding financial loss; it’s also about enhancing efficiency and revolutionising how we approach construction processes altogether.

Table of Contents:

The Power of BIM Clash Detection in Construction

As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of construction, one technology is making waves: Building Information Modelling (BIM) clash detection. This innovative process has been designed to flag potential conflicts before they become on-site issues that could delay projects and escalate costs.

In essence, it's a game-changer for MEP contractors, MEP design companies, and professionals within the building services industry across the UK who are looking to streamline their operations.

Bridging Gaps with BIM-Based Tools

This isn't just about identifying physical overlaps or hard clashes. It goes beyond that - detecting soft clashes such as space allocation discrepancies which may seem minor but have significant implications if left unresolved at pre-construction stages.

AEC stakeholders recognize this fact; hence there's an increased adoption rate for BIM-based tools like clash detection due to its myriad benefits - from enhanced interdisciplinary coordination among different trades working simultaneously on a project to cost savings associated directly with onsite mistakes resulting from poor planning or communication breakdowns.

Saving Costs Through Efficient Coordination

  • Potential conflicts detected early mean fewer resources wasted due to inefficient coordination during actual construction.
  • Closer scrutiny over built assets reduces chances for hard clashes where components overlap physically causing costly modifications later down the line during the build-out phase.
  • An eye out for clearance infringements around components (soft clashes) prevents unnecessary expenditure arising from common yet avoidable challenges faced by traditional processes.

Understanding Clash Types in BIM Models

The concept of clash detection within the world of Building Information Modelling (BIM) might seem complex at first, but it's simpler than you think. Let's break down these clashes into digestible categories and understand their significance.

Hard Clashes

You may ask yourself - what exactly is a hard clash? It's when physical elements within your 3D BIM model overlap or intersect with each other. Picture an HVAC duct cutting through a structural beam - that's your classic example of a hard clash.

Detecting such conflicts early on can save significant time and money by avoiding rework onsite due to design errors. The key here is being proactive rather than reactive.

Soft Clashes

Moving onto soft clashes, they are slightly different from their 'hard' counterparts as they don't involve direct physical interference between components but instead concern required clearances around them.

If there isn't enough room for maintenance or operation because another element invades its designated space then we have ourselves a soft clash. Although not immediately obvious like hard ones, addressing these during the pre-construction stage ensures smooth post-construction activities while maintaining safety standards too.

Workflow or 4D Clashes

Last up on our list are workflow or 4D clashes which go beyond spatial aspects to focus more on timing-related issues among various trades working simultaneously onsite. Imagine two subcontractors scheduled to work at the same location during overlapping times - this would be considered as a workflow conflict leading to potentially unsafe conditions and inefficiencies.

Using advanced tools available today allows teams to visualize construction sequences over time, thus helping avoid any potential scheduling mishaps.

With this understanding of the types of potential conflicts, let us realize how vital efficient planning becomes for ensuring a cost-effective project delivery process without compromising quality or safety measures.

Key Takeaway: 

Clash detection in BIM models, whether hard clashes (physical overlap), soft clashes (space invasion) or 4D clashes (timing conflicts), can save time, money and ensure safety. By being proactive with advanced tools, we can avoid costly on-site errors and inefficiencies.

The Role of a BIM Coordinator in Clash Detection Process

Within the realm of Building Information Modelling (BIM), a crucial role is played by the BIM coordinator. Their primary responsibility revolves around orchestrating and facilitating the clash detection process within a common data environment. This role serves as a linchpin between various stakeholders, ensuring seamless collaboration throughout all stages of project development.

In essence, the proficient use of advanced software tools enables them to identify hard clashes, soft clashes, or workflow-related issues that could result in costly errors if overlooked. By addressing these problems at an early stage, they can be rectified before actual construction begins - saving time and reducing costs associated with rework due to design flaws or engineering errors.

Clash Reports: A Vital Tool for Conflict Resolution

A thorough examination of any 3D model using sophisticated modelling software like Navisworks reveals potential interferences between various components, such as structural elements and MEP systems. These interferences are highlighted through detailed clash reports generated by skilled BIM coordinators.

Fostering Interdisciplinary Coordination

Beyond simply identifying issues through efficient BIM-based clash detection technology, the real strength lies in their ability to foster greater interdisciplinary coordination among diverse stakeholders involved in building projects - from architects and engineers to subcontractors responsible for specific trades. They act as catalysts, streamlining the flow of information across teams working towards common goals, thus enhancing overall collaboration higher project efficiency while mitigating risks related to miscommunication and delays. This approach paves the way for a more streamlined future within the architectural, engineering, and construction industry.

How BIM360 Improves Inter-Trade Communication

BIM360, a part of Autodesk's suite, has revolutionised the architectural, engineering, and construction industry. This tool is particularly effective in enhancing inter-trade communication within construction projects.

The platform offers a virtual space where all participants can access and communicate with the 3D representation in real-time. This level of interaction leads to improved understanding among various trades involved in the project about their roles and how they contribute to achieving common goals.

Fostering Collaboration through Shared Views

BIM360, apart from being a powerful clash detection tool that identifies potential conflicts early on, reducing rework considerably and saving time and resources onsite, also offers shared views functionality. With this feature, team members across different disciplines are able to share viewpoints directly within the model itself rather than relying on external channels like emails or meetings.

This not only streamlines communication but ensures everyone gets accurate visual information when discussing specific aspects of the project, thereby avoiding misunderstandings and promoting precise decision-making processes based on the exact needs of each stakeholder.

Promoting Accountability with Track Changes Feature

In addition to fostering collaboration with teams working simultaneously on the same task using shared views, another noteworthy aspect of BIM360 is its track changes function, which records every alteration made within the 3D model along with who made them, providing transparency throughout the design development stages.

This promotes accountability amongst team members while offering invaluable insights into the impact each change has on the overall integrity over time, allowing any discrepancies to be identified and quickly rectified before moving forward towards actual onsite installation. This helps prevent costly errors occurring later during the construction phase, which are associated with increased costs and delays caused by inefficient coordination in the pre-construction stage.

The growing adoption underscores the importance of an efficient clash detection process, leveraging the power of advanced technologies and paving the way for a more streamlined future in the architecture, engineering, and construction sector.

Key Takeaway: 

BIM360, an integral part of Autodesk's suite, is transforming the construction industry by enhancing inter-trade communication and fostering collaboration. It offers real-time 3D model interaction, shared views for precise decision-making, and a track changes feature promoting accountability. This innovative tool not only streamlines processes but also prevents costly on-site errors.

The Financial Impact of Efficient Clash Detection

When it comes to the architectural, engineering, and construction industry, one cannot underestimate the value of efficient clash detection. This process plays a pivotal role in cost savings by identifying potential conflicts at an early stage.

Rework is often necessary when clashes are detected late or overlooked entirely during project planning stages. It's estimated that rework can account for up to 34% of total project costs - a significant portion that could be saved with effective BIM-based clash detection.

Cutting Costs Through Material Efficiency

Materials typically make up about half of total construction expenses according to HomeAdvisor. Therefore, any measure taken towards reducing material wastage directly contributes to overall cost reduction.

Avoiding unnecessary adjustments due to clashes means resources allocated for materials can be utilized more efficiently - leading not only to financial benefits but also contributing positively towards environmental sustainability goals within our industry.

Safety Measures: A Worthwhile Investment

In addition to direct monetary savings through reduced rework and resource allocation efficiency, there's another crucial area where BIM-based clash detection makes its mark - workplace safety measures. Construction sites pose various hazards if not managed properly; injuries lead not just to human suffering but also hefty compensation claims.

An average expense resulting from such incidents stands around $41k per incident as reported by Liberty Mutual Insurance in the US alone. The need for MEP contractors and design companies alike becomes clear here - investing proactively into advanced tools like Autodesk Revit or Navisworks isn't merely beneficial... it's essential.

Budget Management & Planning Efficacy

Efficient budget management goes hand-in-hand with good planning practices - both aspects being greatly enhanced via comprehensive BIM-based tools facilitating robust conflict identification before physical work commences on-site.

This level of foresight ensures all parties involved have clarity regarding their roles while mitigating risks associated with unexpected changes and delays; fostering trust among stakeholders and paving the way for a streamlined future within our sector.

Case Study Analysis - Successful Implementation of BIM-Based Clash Detection

The application of BIM-based clash detection in real-world construction projects provides compelling evidence for its transformative potential. Let's explore how this technology has been successfully implemented in a couple of case studies.

Alder Hey Hospital Project - Liverpool

This project, known for its complex design involving multiple curved structures, was an ideal candidate to showcase how BIM technology can be leveraged effectively. The team used 3D BIM models extensively during pre-construction stages, which allowed them to identify over 400 clashes before onsite installation commenced.

This proactive approach not only saved time but also significantly reduced costs associated with rework and delays due to on-site conflicts. It is clear from this example that efficient coordination through the use of advanced tools like BIM can lead directly to tangible savings both in terms of time and money.

Abu Dhabi International Airport Midfield Terminal Building (MTB) Project

In another part of the world, we see similar success stories emerging as well. In Abu Dhabi's MTB project spanning over 700k square meters, AECOM utilised advanced BIM tools for detailed planning and execution.

Besides identifying thousands of potential conflicts at early stages using automated clash-detection algorithms, they were able to foster greater interdisciplinary coordination among all stakeholders involved: architects, engineers, and contractors alike.

Their strategy led to significant reductions in onsite risks while ensuring optimal resource allocation throughout each phase, reinforcing once again how BIM-based tools are instrumental when it comes to managing complex building projects efficiently.

The Future with Effective Clash Detection

As we navigate the future of the architectural, engineering, and construction industry, BIM-based clash detection technology is set to be a game changer. This cutting-edge tool doesn't just minimize errors but also significantly trims down costs.

A key advantage that this technology brings on board is its ability to ramp up safety measures at work sites. By spotting potential conflicts during the pre-construction stage itself, it helps ward off onsite accidents which could lead to costly delays or even legal issues. With Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics revealing that 40% of fatal injuries in UK workplaces occurred within the construction sector between 2015-2023, any measure enhancing safety protocols should certainly be embraced by AEC stakeholders.

Better Communication Among Stakeholders

An area where BIM-based tools have truly proven their worth is in fostering improved communication among various project participants. The use of a common data environment allows for seamless sharing and access to information across different teams involved in a project.

This enhanced inter-trade communication leads directly towards greater interdisciplinary coordination resulting in higher project efficiency overall. Moreover, when everyone has access to real-time information about potential clashes or conflicts before actual construction begins, unnecessary rework can easily be avoided, saving both time and money.

Economic Benefits through Reduced Onsite Risks

The financial implications tied with effective clash detection are substantial too. Rework accounts for as much as 34% of total project costs according to an analysis done by McKinsey & Company's Global Institute report on "Reinventing Construction: A route to higher productivity". By preventing such reworks using advanced BIM models at an early stage, it means considerable savings for contractors and clients alike.

In addition, efficient resource allocation becomes possible due to accurate visualization offered by these digital models. This further contributes towards cost effectiveness while ensuring projects stay on schedule without compromising quality standards.

FAQs in Relation to The Power of Bim Clash Detection: Preventing Costly on Site Conflicts

What are the benefits of clash detection in BIM?

BIM clash detection helps to identify and resolve design conflicts early, preventing costly on-site rework. It enhances project efficiency, improves safety measures, and fosters better inter-trade communication.

What is the importance of clash detection in construction?

Clash detection plays a vital role in minimizing construction errors that can lead to increased costs, project delays, and potential onsite accidents. It's key for efficient resource allocation and coordination among stakeholders.

What is the purpose of clash detection?

The primary purpose of clash detection is to identify potential conflicts within a 3D model before actual construction begins. This proactive approach allows for timely resolution, avoiding physical clashes during execution.

What are the disadvantages of clash detection?

Poorly managed or inaccurate use of BIM-based clash detections may result in overlooked issues leading to unexpected site problems. Also, it requires skilled professionals which might increase upfront costs.


Preventing Costly On Site Conflicts is a revolution in the construction world.

It's more than just a tool, it's an ally in your quest for efficient and cost-effective building projects.

With its ability to detect potential conflicts before they become costly issues on site, you're already one step ahead.

We've delved into different types of clashes - hard, soft and workflow or 4D clashes. Each with their own implications if not detected early enough.

You now understand the crucial role that a BIM coordinator plays in managing this process within a common data environment. They're your eyes and ears throughout the project lifecycle!

BIM360 has been spotlighted as an effective tool for enhancing inter-trade communication – boosting efficiency like never before.

We've also highlighted how significant cost savings can be achieved through efficient clash detection. It's clear that prevention truly is better than cure when it comes to construction costs!

A glance at real-world case studies shows us how successful implementation of this technology reduces onsite risks while ensuring optimal resource allocation.

In conclusion, "The Power of BIM Clash Detection: Preventing Costly On Site Conflicts" showcases the transformative capabilities of BIM-based clash detection tools, empowering AEC stakeholders to achieve higher project efficiency, reduced onsite risks, and seamless interdisciplinary coordination, ultimately delivering safer and more successful built asset outcomes.

Utilizing BIM-based tools, AEC stakeholders experience higher project efficiency, as the single federated 3D BIM model generates clash reports, boms reduced onsite risks and creating onsite installation greater interdisciplinary coordination. By identifying built asset shows overlaps during the pre-construction stage, BIM clash detection ensures efficient collaboration, mitigating the potential create onsite accidents leading and streamlining onsite installation, leading to a safer and more successful built asset delivery.

Leveraging BIM-based tools, AEC stakeholders bim-based tools can efficiently generate clash reports, identifying overlaps during the pre-construction stage inefficient coordination with built asset shows overlaps, creating onsite accidents leading to costly conflicts.

BIM Outsourcing, as one of the leading BIM coordination service providers offer a range of different services from BIM modelling to installation coordination as well as clash detection services. This ensures that our clients can concentrate on their core competencies while still getting a quality service.

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