Not an Issue, Case Closed: BIM 360 Coordinate Q&A

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October 9, 2019 | All, BIM 360

Autodesk acquired building information modeling technology around the end of the last millennium in the form of Revit. So happy 21st birthday BIM! You are a mature adult now and able to take on bigger challenges. BIM model coordination, interference checking and clash detection technologies are some of those challenges, and they have come a long way since the early days of BIM over two decades ago.

Why is this important?

Well it turns out that both design and construction professionals are vested in building performance and in making sure BIM models are clash-free with minimal impact on schedule delays and cost overruns. This exemplifies itself in clearances around equipment, code compliance, ADA guidelines, and overall functional requirements. It is not enough to know information about the physical building model; we need to find out more about what is not modeled – the physical vs. the non-physical.

One VDC manager once told us that he was working on a design-build project for a parking garage. The required floor-to-floor clearances were very stringent. Exposed plumbing pipework and electrical conduits were not allowed within 6 feet 8 inches required vertical clearance. When running the clash detection in Autodesk Navisworks, it was not possible to detect an interference between MEP components and required clearances without modeling the non-physical space as a mass. He gave it the nickname “no-fly-zone.”

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With cloud-based BIM 360 Coordinate, also known as “Next Gen Model Coordination,” the BIM game is changing. Instead of waiting a week or two until the BIM manager finds the time to export NWC (Navisworks Cache) files from Revit, create the aggregated BIM models, run clash detection, and create a static report on the findings, the process has evolved to the next level by making it cloud-based.

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With BIM 360 Design, cloud collaboration is made easy. It’s like cooking a meal in the kitchen: you can wait until after eating the meal to clean the kitchen . . . or clean it as you go!

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Following are answers to typical questions about BIM 360 Next Gen cloud-based model coordination:

1. What is “Not an Issue” after all?  

Listing clashes with equal levels of importance in a report that contains thousands of clashes is not the solution to deal with this challenge. We need a way to identify and prioritize clashes in terms of their level of importance.

2. How are clashes sorted in BIM 360 Coordinate?

By object, by system or by type.

3. Can you identify which clashes are not valid, ignored or “Not an Issue”?

Absolutely, validity is everything when it comes to clashes. A clash can be ignored for these reasons:

Valid interface

Valid penetration

Minimal overlap

Model inaccuracy

Item can flex

Field fix


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4. What if there is an issue? How is an issue identified, documented and fixed?

An issue is identified as valid if it fails to meet the criteria in #3. Every issue has a title, date, description, and person it is assigned to. Issues also must be assigned a location, and a “PUSH PIN” is placed near the problem area by the person who found it.

5. How are issues resolved?

When an issue is created and a location is identified, it moves to the “Assigned” tab of BIM 360 Model Coordination. An email is then generated informing the end user with a prompt to fix it. By selecting the hyperlink embedded in the email, the end user will be transferred back to the model location of the issue in order to verify and take action.

6. How are clashes or issues classified?

Clashes can be “active,” “assigned to” or “closed.”

7. What are examples of clashes that are “Not an Issue”?

  • Cable trays penetrating a series of non-load bearing walls
  • Plumbing fixtures attached to walls
  • Vertical piping passing through floor slabs
  • Light fixtures interfering with ceilings

8. What are examples of clashes that are “Issues”?

  • Ductwork clashing with structural framing
  • Mechanical equipment interfering with structural
  • Structural bracing crossing doors or windows
  • Structural columns with stairs and elevators
  • Architectural openings in a structural shear wall or load-bearing wall
  • Underground utilities interfering with structural foundations
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Through the years of working with firms on model coordination, we’ve accumulated some best practices we always recommend:

  • Keep it simple when it comes to modeling: if you cannot model it, they cannot build it.
  • Invest in a project BIM execution plan (PxP) that clearly identifies project milestones such as clash detection frequency.
  • Frequent visits to the job site will go a long way to bridging the gap between design and construction professionals.
  • Understand the monetary value of your design decisions: Yeah you can do it, but are you willing to pay for it?
  • Work with the end in mind: reverse engineer your ideas backward from the goal to the design process.
  • Plan ahead and have regular coordination meetings.
  • Time is money: Don’t waste your time or other people’s time; someone will have to pay the price.

If your firm is ready to move into mature BIM processes that are more about information than visualization, check out BIM 360 Coordinate (formerly called Glue). Going beyond information about the physical building model to the non-physical will step up your efficiency and increase job profits. Need a partner to help you get started? Contact Applied Software today for a discovery call with an industry-trained expert to explore a process and transition that best suits your company. Applied experts transform industries by being champions of innovation.

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