Top 7 Benefits of Cloud-Based Model Coordination

For decades, digital designs and models lived locally on individual desktop computers or servers by necessity. This made sharing models with anyone beyond the office a challenge. It also meant that BIM/VDC managers were solely responsible for running through every minor clash during coordination meetings – a manual and time-consuming process for the entire project team.

With the growing complexity of construction projects, cloud-based solutions are becoming necessary to streamline workflows and keep projects on schedule and budget. With access to real-time data, project teams can make more informed decisions that impact project viability. 

Model coordination is an essential preconstruction workflow that ensures design intent meets constructability. Aligning multi-disciplinary teams for coordination during preconstruction reduces the risk of schedule setbacks and cost overruns downstream. And according to a report by JBKnowledge, 63.5% of general contractors identify model coordination as one of the top benefits of BIM. 

Improving the coordination process ensures that project teams deliver quality construction documents for their customers, while staying on schedule and budget. We (Autodesk) asked Tim Schubert, Integrated Construction Manager at Mortenson, to open up his toolbox and share how his team uses model coordination to streamline the clash detection process. Here is Tim’s countdown of the top seven benefits of cloud-based model coordination: 

7: Cloud-based

Anytime, anywhere access streamlines design collaboration and coordination for the entire project team and ensures stakeholders view the latest design changes and the project’s current status.

“Having real-time access to information solves one of the major challenges in construction,” says Schubert. “With data updated instantly, we have the assurance that we’re working off the latest model to review, detect, and address clashes. If you can navigate the internet, you can navigate this platform.”

6: Simple User Interface

“The best thing about the user interface is it’s easy to navigate, it’s very intuitive, and it’s easy to teach our team members how to move around the platform,” says Schubert. “When most of our trade partners or team members access the platform for the first time, they can navigate the different modules with ease.”

With an intuitive and clean user interface, project teams can easily navigate the solution without needing specialized training. This saves time and empowers the user while facilitating more impactful interactions and better decision-making between teams.

5: Fast Loading Times

With cloud-based coordination, teams can quickly access and load models to streamline coordination across the entire team. 

“We’re all working at home and in a virtual environment,” says Schubert. “Being able to access these models, especially for team members that don’t have access to high-powered computers to run the software, is essential.”

4: Dashboards

“The automated dashboard feature in model coordination gives us insight into how many clashes are remaining in real-time,” says Schubert. “Anytime one of our team members updates data or syncs to the platform, the clash detection module automatically updates our dashboard, giving our project teams visibility into how many clashes are remaining in a given area that we’re coordinating.”

Previously, teams would have to manually create dashboards to see which clashes were left to coordinate. With automatic dashboards, teams have greater visibility into what clashes remain, where the pain points are in the design, and where teams need to concentrate.

3: Single Source of Truth

A common data environment eliminates the risk of working off an outdated model. With documentation centralized in one location, project teams can feel confident that they are working off the most up-to-date model. 

“We’re starting to see the benefits of a unified platform as that single source of truth for project information,” says Schubert. “Having that assurance that anytime someone saves to the platform, the most up-to-date information is there for us to access and utilize for coordination.” 

2: Automated Clash Detection

Automated clash detection reduces manual clash set up, saves time, and empowers designers and trade partners to self-check their models. With clashes automatically grouped, teams can have more value-added conversations around design issues instead of manually grouping clashes. 

“Automating the clash detection process increases visibility of potential problems, thereby shortening coordination cycles and allowing our teams to address potential problems more quickly,” says Schubert. “This makes our meetings more actionable and allows our teams to get to the root of an issue faster.”

1: Connecting Design Teams to Project Teams

Empowering the entire project team to coordinate their own models eliminates bottlenecks during the clash detection process that can cause headaches downstream.

“One of the biggest benefits of model coordination is using the platform to connect design teams to the construction teams,” says Schubert. “Bringing our trade partners into the process provides more clarity into the design intent, which improves the coordination process and drives the success of the overall project.”

Original blog provided by Autodesk and can be found here.

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