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In an architectural context, a clash is the result of two elements in a design taking up the same space. This generally happens when components of a building are uncoordinated and conflict with one another. When working with Building Information Modeling (BIM), clash detection is the technique of identifying how two parts of a building are likely to interfere with one another. This could include features such as plumbing, walls, or air conditioning units. Aside from intersecting components, clashes can also occur due to a lack of buffer space around the equipment or a conflict between the equipment and workflow scheduling.

In each of these cases, tools like Navisworks and other BIM software become valuable resources for assessing clashes on 3D models. The ability to detect and resolve these clashes early on in a project can help to minimize the impact on the project cost and schedule. Read on for a closer look at the three types of clash detection you’ll encounter as an architecture student. 

Understanding Hard Clash 

A hard clash occurs when two components of a building are occupying the same space. This may include a duct running through a plumbing line or a pipe running through a beam. Graduates of an architecture training program should be able to coordinate with other professionals throughout the construction process. If a hard clash appears on-site in the construction phase, it can be a costly and time-consuming error to correct. For that reason, it’s important to take necessary precautions in the design stage to assess design decisions and coordinate each component. 

Hard clash detection is carried out using geometry-based or rule-based algorithms that are embedded into the BIM object. This can be done using tools such as Navisworks. Students in architectural design technology training will learn how to utilize advanced software for clash detection to ensure the accuracy and efficiency of a design project.  

Detecting Soft Clash in Architecture Training

Anyone seeking an architectural CAD technicians diploma should have an understanding of a soft clash – the term used when the buffer zone of an object is breached, or if the object isn’t given sufficient geometric tolerances in the design phase. Soft clashes are crucial to note as they may cause maintenance problems or safety issues if left unattended. For example, some air conditioning units may require sufficient space from a beam, in order for maintenance workers to be able to service the unit at a later date. Likewise, if a live wire passes too close to a plumbing line, it runs the risk of a short circuit. 

In order to detect a soft clash, sufficient object-related data like Navisworks should be applied to the BIM object to identify clashes based on the relevant building standards and regulations. This software is especially important when it comes to popular venues with high capacities like malls, airports, and healthcare facilities. In those instances, soft clash detection will work to facilitate operational maintenance.

Navisworks is used by students in architecture training to identify design clashes

Navisworks is used by students in architecture training to identify design clashes

Learn About Workflow or 4D Clash 

A workflow of 4D clash involves general time conflicts regarding the delivery of equipment and materials or the scheduling of contractors. For example, an HVAC maintenance project may not align with the scheduled delivery of the necessary materials. Unlike hard and soft clashes – that involve features of the building structure – 4D clashes arise from scheduling differences that eventually harm the efficiency of operations in a construction firm. One scheduling clash may have a domino effect on other activities, bringing work to a halt. 

In that case, Navisworks software can be used to develop a 4D construction timeline that identifies the start and end date of each activity. With a step-by-step system, contractors can schedule activities and allocate the right resources at the right time. By making use of clash detection software, professionals can ensure a more consistent, profitable, and reputable architectural design process.  

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