Let’s say we’re in the design phase of a large supermarket.

We’re nearing the time to build. Todd, on our Electric Design Build team, boots up the latest version of Navisworks. He hits a button and the screen lights up with 3D frames and systems. Most elements of the soon-to-be supermarket—electrical, mechanical, structural and plumbing—are laid out in different colors and geometric shapes.

He starts by making a few adjustments in the settings,  switching rotations by a few degrees so everything is lined up and he can get to work. Within seconds, the first major clash detection is spotted: a water pipe is splicing directly through a structural beam. Todd makes a quick note, which is sent to the appropriate teams, and keeps moving through the Interference Check.

This kind of headache can be avoided by Clash Detection, and one aspect of what makes it so useful: enhancing the design process in such a way that save thousands of dollars, and hundreds of man hours before building time. Todd’s list, on a project of this size, will most likely have tens of thousands of errors, and will be worked through on a daily basis between various teams for the next few weeks.

3-D Modeling is nothing new in construction. It’s a monumental leap forward from the design processes of old, where tradesmen would gather around plans on a table and mark it up like FBI agents coordinating a stake-out. Sketches and 2-D CAD back then wasn’t perfect—it was the best we had at the time—but they could be a black hole in terms of resources.

This is no longer the case. One story comes to mind: the 90,000-sq.-ft. office building where a mechanical contractor won the bid by submitting a 3-D design that reduced costs by 25% and resulted in 150 fewer man hours.

The benefits go beyond the budget, though. Owners love Clash Detection and 3-D modeling because they can do a fly-through of the building, and get a feel for the space before it’s built. Architects are able to maximize interiors.

Mostly, Clash Detection allows coordination between trades. In Todd’s example, he had plans from several different disciplines. Each element has to fit in perfectly with the rest, and in spaces with especially tight dimensions. He was able to isolate overlaps and let each team know what needs to be fixed or redesigned. The problem is that, while many companies have Revit or Navisworks, it doesn’t mean they understand how to properly use it.

Clash Detection is a specialty at Prairie Electric, and a fundamental piece of our design process. We have teams in place that are experts in this software, and can save your construction project thousands of dollars by avoiding change orders and reducing man hours.

If you have a multi-faceted project, you need a company with deep design expertise. Our Electric Design Build team is the best in the business – let us know how we can help.