Thursday, July 28, 2011

Automated (intelligent?) clash detection

The idea of ‘automated clash detection’ on construction projects is so delightful that it attracts a large following and refuses to go away.
Or allow for any type of meaningful challenge.
I’m not surprised that sellers of clash-detectors are enthusiastic about the concept.
More puzzling is to see hardy, experienced site-based contractors get all dewy-eyed about intelligent machines processing models of yet-to-be-built buildings and spitting out clash reports.

For some reason our ability to think rationally switches off when faced with what’s trumpeted as the latest technology.

The quintessential clash of the HVAC duct or plumbing pipe going through a massive beam gets promoted endlessly, yet my experience tells me that things are much more complex and convoluted in real life.
However and despite of the complexness of these systems, BIM tends to make its breakthrough not through automatic clash detection but little achievements, more-often-than-not delivered through a personal touch.

A case of a ‘clash’ we discovered a number of years ago and shown on the pictures I included here was minor and in the scheme of things, almost entirely forgettable.
Then again, us identifying it, documenting and presenting the way we did was the turning point in the relationship between the model- and the construction managers.
The trust, so desperately needed, was finally established.
Even though our report was at-first totally ignored by all.


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