Clash detection or clash avoidance? An investigation into coordination problems in 3D BIM

2017-09-08T13:08:51Z (GMT) by Anderson O. Akponeware Zulfikar Adamu
Early collaboration is crucial if the final design is to be clash-free, and automation processes through Building Information Modelling (BIM) have the capacity to reduce clashes through 3D design coordination. Yet, current design practices are still dependent on clash detection and contemporary literature presents several reasons for this. This paper investigates the root causes of clashes with respect to achieving “clash avoidance” as proposed in PAS 1192-2 design phase specifications for BIM in the UK. Empirical data from BIM coordinators around the world was collected and analyzed using explanatory sequential mixed-methods. It was found that: (i) isolated working was the prime cause of high occurrences of clashes linked to mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) 3D BIM systems; (ii) there is a link between non-BIM specific training (or the professional qualifications) of design practitioners with the high incidence of clashes; and (iii) the current structure of cloud-based common data environments (CDEs) does not facilitate clash avoidance and in fact, encourages isolated working in the early design stage by creating “digital information silos”. A conceptual framework for an open work in progress (OWIP) has been proposed to address this problem. These findings point to the need for more transparency during collaboration through CDE where designers from multidisciplinary backgrounds can engage in concurrent co-creation. This transparent and inclusive process could have consequences on how future architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) professionals are trained.