Clash Detection in BIM – What Is It and Why Does It Matter?

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a means of creating and managing information on a construction project. This results in the creation of a Building Information Model that brings together digitally details of every aspect of the building.

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Adopting BIM adds value to a project throughout its life. It ensures that more informed decisions can be made throughout not just the design and construction of a building but also in its later use.

What Are Clashes?

One of the things that is important in any building project is avoiding clashes. These can come in three different types. A hard clash is where two or more objects occupy the same space – for example, a pillar running through a doorway. These can be costly to resolve if not spotted early.

A soft clash is where objects don’t conflict directly but where, for example, they are too close together, affecting access or safety. Finally, a 4D or workflow clash involves scheduling or delivery issues that may hold up the completion of the project.

Avoiding Clashes

One of the key features of BIM technology from suppliers such as is that it includes clash detection features. So what is clash detection? It helps to reduce problems by recognising and highlighting problems before the construction process starts. An automated process of clash detection reduces the amount of time that needs to be spent manually checking BIM models.

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Good clash detection ensures that clashes are found at the design stage rather than during construction. This can lead to big savings and avoid delays in the delivery of the project. With older manual systems this checking would have involved checking by overlaying plans on a light box, with consequent potential for human error.

BIM software will spot clashes early in the design process and allow them to be corrected. For this to work effectively, it is, however, important that different teams such as structural engineers and architects are using the same platform. If they are not, then the benefits that BIM can deliver could be lost. There are tools available that allow clash detection to operate across different types of software so they can be analysed at the same time. Problems can then be reported back and revisions made to resolve the clash before proceeding.

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