Goal: 3D Design Coordination (Construction)
Example 3D Coordination Model

Status of Use Document: Draft
Alternate Names/Similar Uses: Clash Detection, 3D MEP Coordination, Conflict Identification, Interference Check, etc.

Phase(s): Construction / Design


To coordinate the design and installation of building systems with each other and the rest of the the trades such as MEP, structural steel, concrete, drywall and all the trades inside the building. A few results of 3D coordination are: less conflicts, less delays in construction, less rework, less site supervision, less administrative burden, less
Example of Clash Detction in Navisworks
conflict between contractors. (Khanzode, 2008)


A process in which Clash Detection software is utilized during the coordination process to determine field conflicts by comparing 3D models of building systems. The goal of clash detection is to eliminate the major system conflicts prior to installation.

"use of automated clash detection programs that allow project teams to superimpose the models and check for conflicts in three-dimensional space to improve the MEP [design coordination] coordination process. "(Khanzode, 2008)

Note: This is not strictly 3D MEP coordination. The coordination process involves the entire design.

Potential Benefits:

  • Better coordinated model
  • Reduces/Eliminates field conflicts; which reduces RFI's significantly compared to other methods (Khanzode, 2008)
  • Visualization - Foreman can see an area before it is placed in the field
  • Less rework (Staub-French, 2007)
  • Increased productivity (Staub-French, 2007))
  • Reduced construction cost; less cost growth due to design coordination (Staub-French, 2007)) i.e. change orders
  • Decrease in construction time (Staub-French, 2007))
  • Increased productivity on site (Staub-French, 2007))
  • Ability to build the system with a less skilled labor force (Staub-French, 2007))
  • Ability to prefabricate off-site leading to a safer and cleaner site (Khanzode, 2008)
  • More accurate as built drawings (Khanzode, 2008)
  • Increase marketability

Levels of Detail Considerations:

  • Extent of the existing facility and environment that you wish to model, e.g., modeling the exterior enclosure of the buildings, modeling all the interior spaces, modeling the detailed MEP systems
  • Extent to which the model will represent the final space (are shapes and size important or are actual building systems required)
  • Extent that the model will be develop by the architect, structural, and MEP engineer.
  • Level of detail needs to be determined by entire team. All contractors need to model the same level of detail in order for coordination to be most successful.
  • To model underground utilities or above-ceiling or both.
  • Minimum level of detail required for MEP coordination from Khanzode et al (Khanzode, 2008).
    • Architectural elements like interior walls and ceiling
    • Structural elements like the main structural framing, slabs, and foundations
    • Mechanical systems like duct work, etc.
    • Plumbing systems like the gravity lines and hot and cold water piping
    • Electrical systems like the major conduits and cable trays
    • Fire protection systems with the mains and branches
    • Other specialty systems like medical gases depending on the project

Point in Construction Process when Coordination Should be Implemented:

  • While the benefits of 3D coordination can be great when implemented during the construction phase of a building.
  • The coordination process will be simplified if coordination begins during the design phase.
  • It is recommended that the coordination process begins as soon as all the parties are selected. The selection of parties/contractors should occur during the design process.
  • Planning needs to take place early
  • Be prepared to spend more time during early coordination process than typical 2D coordination

Team Competencies Required:

  • Ability to deal with people and project challenges
  • Technical Knowledge of software
  • Ablity to learn software without formal instruction is helpful
  • 3D Model manipulation
  • BIM model application knowledge for facility updates
  • Knowledge of building systems.

Characteristics in order to substantiate BIM use:

Suggested based on interviews and research that 3D Clash Detection show be completed new building projects. So would suggest that the subcontractor construct a model even if one is not supplied by architect/designer

Project -
  • Based on interviews all project projects should be coordinated.
  • It is more critical to coordinate heavy mechanical project with especailly heavily congested areas like mechanical rooms.
  • However it may be simpler to have establish standards for 3D design coordination a simpler mechanical project.

Organization - Any type of organization

Environment - All environments

Contract - Integrated Project Delivery and Design-Build project type make the process easier however it can be delievered with any contract type.

Process -
  • Coordinate drawing on a weekly basis to ensure that coordination meetings do not take too long. (possibly tuesday or wednesday)
  • Use Thursday thru Monday morning to update models.
  • The models should be brought together the day before the coordination meeting.

The Seems like complexity, size, limited plenum area, etc. would be important characteristics which impact whether you will use BIM for coordination with all trades.

Potential Modeling Methods:

  • Design Model

  1. Recieved from Design Team
  2. Modeled by subcontractors responsible - convert from 3D Shop Drawings
  3. Modeled by 3rd Party
  • Trade Models

  1. Modeled by subcontractors responsible - convert from 3D Shop Drawings
  2. Modeled by 3rd Party

Note: it will most likely be a combination of all the above. It will be come necessary to determine to what level each party is responsible for modeling the project.

Potential Outputs:

  • 3D coordination model (define file format)
  • 2D drawings for signature
  • Drawing for digital fabrication
  • Prelimentary 3D as-builts

Legal / Commitment Considerations:

  • Guarantee of accuracy may be a significant concern, particularly if there are small tolerances for future object installations

Additional Resources:

General Description:

  • Below are additional resources for resources

Quantitative Studies:

  • None at present time

Case Study Examples:

  • Hershey Medical Center - Cancer Institute
  • Lewis Katz Building - Dickinson School of Law
  • Central Campus at TA-5 - Fort Lee, VA
  • Fort Belfour, VA

Software Applications (AECBytes.com)(Khanzode, 2008):

  • 3D Modeling: Autodesk® Revit® Architecture, MEP, Structural; Bentley Achitecture; Autodesk Architectural Desktop; QucikPen 3D Pipe Designer; CAD Duct; Fab Pro Mechanical Detailing; SprinkCAD Sprinkler Modeling;
  • Clash Detection: Autodesk® NavisWorks; Solibri Model Checker; Autodesk® Revit®
  • Navigation: Autodesk® NavisWorks; Autodesk® Revit®;


  1. Staub-French S and Khanzode A (2007) **3D and 4D modeling for design and construction coordination: issues and lessons learned**, ITcon Vol. 12, pg. 381-407, http://www.itcon.org/2007/26
  2. Khanzode A, Fischer M, Reed D (2008) **Benefits and lessons learned of implementing building virtual design and construction (VDC) technologies for coordination of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) systems on a large healthcare project**, ITcon Vol. 13, Special Issue Case studies of BIM use , pg. 324-342, http://www.itcon.org/2008/22
  3. AECbytes.com - venderhub