Products & Solutions
September 14, 2023

How a Clash Detection Process Improves Construction Efficiency

In the fast-paced construction industry, precision and efficiency are more crucial than ever. In the pursuit of delivering projects on time, within budget, and to the highest quality standards, construction professionals are turning to new technologies that redefine traditional construction processes.

Clash detection analysis, a critical aspect of quality control, has grown in prominence thanks to the emergence of Building Information Modeling (BIM) and reality capture technologies. Leading this revolution is Avvir, with its groundbreaking Predictive Clash Detection Analysis feature and automated deviation analysis solutions.

We’re here today to discuss clash detection and its relevance to construction projects. We’ll start by covering what clash detection is, the various different types of clash detection, and when it may occur. Then, we’ll take a look at how BIM processes and technology like Avvir can help improve clash detection efforts.

The Basics of Clash Detection

Clash detection is a process that involves identifying conflicts between various building elements within a construction project. If left unresolved, these conflicts can lead to disruptions during construction, costly rework, and even safety hazards. Clash detection aims to locate these issues before they manifest at the on-site construction stage, allowing for proactive interventions and smoother project execution.

The Types of Clashes

Generally speaking, there are three types of clashes — hard clashes, soft clashes, and workflow clashes.

Hard and Soft Clashes

Hard clashes involve physical interference between elements. For instance, a steel beam might intersect with a plumbing pipe, preventing proper installation of the pipe.

Soft clashes, on the other hand, involve spatial or coordination issues that might not result in direct physical interference but can still impact the project. An example of a soft clash could be inadequate clearance space around an HVAC unit, hindering maintenance activities.

Workflow Clashes

The construction team may also run into workflow clashes. A workflow clash refers to a situation where there is a misalignment or conflict between different processes, tasks, or activities that need to be executed sequentially or in parallel within a construction project. They are not limited to clashes between physical elements but instead involve clashes between the procedural and logistical aspects of a project. Here are a few examples of workflow clashes:

Addressing workflow clashes requires effective project management strategies and tools. Collaborative planning, regular communication, and the use of tools like Gantt charts, project management programs, and modeling software can help teams identify and resolve workflow clashes.

When Clash Detection May Occur

Clash detection: engineers using a laptop

Clash detection can be carried out during various stages of a construction project, specifically in both the design phases and construction phases.

Design Phases

In the design phases, clashes are identified with BIM software. 3D BIM models create a digital representation of the building, incorporating information about its geometry, materials, and other relevant data. Different disciplines may work with the architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) team to create a master model.

During the design stage, the project team may periodically run BIM clash detection reports as the different trades draw their systems. Clash detection reports identify clashes or conflicts between different building components. Clash reports may be generated on a repetitive basis (e.g., weekly) or after a project milestone, such as the initial design of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) systems on a floor.

By detecting these clashes early on, teams can minimize rework, save time, and optimize project schedules. It’s much easier to correct clashes early on in the building design process, directly in the project model, than it is to correct them on site.

Design software is also advantageous because it can account for potential soft clashes. For instance, a mechanical designer can put an access zone around an air conditioning unit to ensure that proper clearances are maintained on site.

Construction Phase

The clash detection process still needs to occur while in the construction phase. There are workflow clashes that may arise and need to be addressed. Additionally, human error can happen during the installation process. 

Even if the BIM coordination process goes smoothly, systems may be installed incorrectly or out of place on site. Clash detection will move from a purely model-to-model comparison or clash to needing to compare the models to the as-built jobsite. Using clash detection software can help identify these deviations early so that they can be remedied before they create more significant issues but the current process for field as-builting and then updating models is time-consuming and resource-heavy.

The Power of Future Clash Detection Analysis

The rise of construction technology has given way to new clash detection opportunities, especially once on site. Avvir's Predictive Clash Detection Analysis takes this a step further.

Traditional clash detection focuses on the modeled elements and trades to coordinate work prior to installation, but Avvir's solution extends to predict clashes that might occur as the project progresses analyzing the model against the current state of the project as captured with reality capture processes. This analysis and foresight allows project teams to address issues before they materialize, ensuring a smoother installation on the construction site.

Project executives and field teams benefit from this feature by gaining a proactive approach to quality control. Instead of reacting to clashes during or after construction, they can prevent potential conflicts, reducing costly revisions and disruptions. This forward-looking clash detection improves collaboration and communication among different stakeholders, fostering a more efficient work environment.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the ways in which Avvir’s solutions streamline clash detection efforts.

Predictive Clash Detection

Avvir Inspect identifies discrepancies between the design intent and the installed reality through a direct comparison of the Building Information Model and the reality capture in the form of LIDAR point clouds. We then highlight key issues that will clash with future elements that are not yet built. This is achieved by essentially running a clash detection of deviated elements versus elements not yet installed. 

As-Built Conditions

As construction progresses, capturing accurate as-built data ensures that the digital BIM model reflects the actual state of the building. Avvir's platform uses reality capture techniques like laser scanning to create a dynamic representation of the project's current status.

For project executives and field teams, up-to-date as-built conditions provide a high level of control. They can compare the current state of the project against the intended design, quickly identifying deviations. This data-driven approach empowers construction professionals to make informed decisions promptly, leading to improved quality, reduced errors, and enhanced project management.

Reports and Integrations

Avvir's Future Clash Detection Analysis and as-built integration culminate in detailed PDF reports. These reports highlight clashes and discrepancies, presenting them in a clear and actionable format. Project executives and field teams can easily understand the issues, their locations, and potential impacts on the project.

These collaborative reports streamline issue management by providing a comprehensive overview of clashes and their potential consequences. This information enables faster decision-making and efficient team communication, reducing downtime and improving overall project efficiency.

In addition, if teams already have an issue management platform in place, Avvir users can push issues out of Avvir through our direct integrations and shareable viewpoint links.

Clash Detection Can Improve the Project Lifecycle

Clash detection: architect using a computer

In the construction industry, quality control and timely project completion are essential for success. Focusing on clash detection both during the design and construction stages can help put project executives and field teams in a better position for success.

Avvir's Predictive Clash Detection Analysis, coupled with its as-built integration and Progress tracking offerings, equips project executives and field teams with powerful tools to achieve these goals. By anticipating clashes, leveraging accurate as-built data, and providing comprehensive reports, Avvir enhances construction quality, reduces rework, and fosters efficient collaboration.

From quality control to cost management, Avvir's innovations embody the future of construction excellence. Contact Avvir today to learn more about how you can improve your construction processes.

Men showing construction tool to group
3 Tips for using BIM as a Database throughout the Project Lifecycle

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat.