January 25, 2017

The Future for ClashMEP and MEP Coordination Workflows

This article was written by Brett Young, CEO at BuildingSP, an Ideate, Inc. partner.

BuildingSP is working on very exciting process improvements in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) space for building information modeling (BIM). I want to give you a view of what we’re working on and how we intend to change construction.  

In the last several months, we’ve developed and released ClashMEP, a dynamic clash detection tool for the Autodesk Revit platform. ClashMEP differentiates itself from other clash detection tools in the following ways:
  • Real-time. ClashMEP works as the user models, so feedback on clashes is real-time.  
  • Meta-data. Integration of clash detection at the modeling level increases available meta-data associated with a clash instance.  
  • Connected. Various types of Revit file sharing, like Collaboration for Revit (C4R), allow for immediate model updates and clash collaboration.
ClashMEP is a break-out tool for clash detection because it removes a separate workflow from the BIM coordination process. It changes the milestone-like “batch” and file-based mentality of clash detection and creates a continuous process within the modeling platform. On its own merits, ClashMEP is a revolutionary product for the AEC industry.

We are not done yet with our work on real-time clash detection. The greater opportunity is to leverage ClashMEP’s differentiators and create a new platform for clash detection that aggregates clashes across the whole project, in real-time. 

Here are what we see as the unique capabilities of this new platform:
  • Automatically Generate Clash Tracking. As soon as a clash is created, the clash can be tracked in the system. This changes clash management from a milestone-based system to one of a “clash ledger.”  Clashes are continuously tracked and managed rather than reported in batches.  
  • Enhanced Accountability. Using meta-data from the modeling environment, we can more actively manage the clash process. The following information would be known for each clash:
    • The date and time the clash was created.  
    • The name of the modeler who generated the clash. 
    • The name of the modeler responsible for the other system.
    • The systems involved in the clash. 
    • The files that were in use when the clash was generated.
  • Deeper Metrics. Measuring progress and open issues gives a high-level view of current conditions.  Many management methodologies (lean, agile, scrum) rely on metrics to determine progress along complex tasks. A ClashMEP-enabled clash tracker would provide metrics that are deeper, richer, and at a higher granularity than a tracker based on a milestone / batch paradigm. 
  • Automatically Close a Clash Issue. Just like a clash can be opened as an issue when it is generated, a clash can be flagged as resolved when it is no longer a clash. Current clash management solutions rely on manual closing of issues, which creates an additional lag in the metrics as well as additional time. A ClashMEP-enabled clash tracker eliminates the manual input of closure and provides better metrics.
The analogy we’re using when talking with customers is of a “clash ledger.” This clash ledger would have an up-to-date, real time list of how many clashes are currently in the model. Management of these clashes can be filtered, sorted, triaged, and prioritized. For example, clashes over 2-weeks old represent a larger risk than clashes created in the last hour or day. A clash created without then-current models or incomplete model sets represents poor model discipline and can be rejected as a false positive for the originator to fix. Each clash would have meaningful data automatically attached to it. The amount of manual input would be very low, relying instead on automation.  

We’re very excited about moving ClashMEP from where it is today and really changing the workflow. In AEC, we need a continuous process for management of our models, not the old paradigm of meeting-based clash coordination. All current users of ClashMEP get access to our new platform and we’re very near to announcing a release date. Get in contact with us so we can talk about your projects and how we change your BIM workflow.