It is a ‘cop out’ by the AEC consultants-sector from doing what they supposed to, as per the definition of their profession.
It is a way of legitimising half-baked designs, badly documented in unnecessarily inflated mounds of documents.
It is a smokescreen to not doing the job right in the first place.
There are of course, mitigating factors that could possibly discharge some of the responsibility from the design consultants for this state of affairs on their projects.
Clients demanding cheaper and cheaper services, contractors getting more and more contractual and armies of PI insurers’ agents breathing down their necks enforcing limitations to liabilities.
Yet, there is certainly a threshold where an engineer (or architect for that matter) should not be allowed to use such label.
For me, this is when they become walking/talking ‘post boxes’ – moving documents from one party to another, adding ‘engineering’ looking things to them, but ultimately never fully achieving a working product, until a tedious (and expensive) process of ‘design development’ (often using real building elements) by the building contractors and their subbies.
So, forgive me if I find the practice of these same consultants paddling ‘cash detection’ as the magic bullet for their clients – a bit rich, if not outward hypocritical.
Clash detection has its place – as an auditing system, a safety net, a value-engineering tool, a refining instrument.
(picture borrowed from http://theconacademy.wikispaces.com/)