Cloud Collaboration Drives Efficiency for BIM Coordination

Cassie Bustos

The purpose of BIM coordination is to reduce rework by combining models and conducting clash detection prior to construction. While entirely eliminating rework may not be realistic, and many firms have their coordination  process down to a science, according to Navigant Construction Forum rework can still be as high as 9% of the total project costs. 

In fact, in a recent study by PlanGrid and FMI, research identified that rework costs the construction industry over $15 billion a year. The primary cause is unclear communication. 

Despite the evolution of technology for data and information management in construction, lines of communication are still inadequate to support growing complexity in projects.

For an industry facing an incredible 85% growth in volume over the next decade, with increasingly high expectations for quality, budget, and schedule, the margin for error is growing ever thinner.

This places significant pressure on teams  to speed up the coordination process without sacrificing quality. This means BIM/VDC managers are ever more on the hook to spend time chasing down bottlenecks and administering information sharing.

we are asking the question: could we optimize the Coordination process by eliminating time spent on low-value tasks - like managing and aggregating models and pushing reports - and empower all stakeholders to participate for a faster, more collaborative coordination?


Information Silos Are Impairing Today’s BIM Coordination


Fifty-five percent of rework today is caused by field data that is inaccurate.


Fifty-five percent of rework today is caused by field data that is inaccurate. Many stakeholders in the coordination process have experienced posting data to your FTP or shared site only to realize that it has all changed 3 hours later. Maybe the architect changes his or her mind, or there’s a new discovery in the field, or a change has been issued inside a sub-trade model. The reason list goes on.

In short, there are a lot of moving parts to manage and information sharing isn’t always fast enough to keep pace. This is why a specialized MEP coordinator is required to keep administering the coordination process, chasing down bottlenecks to bring the process to completion. 

In reality, today’s coordination process for more teams  probably looks something like this: Various designers, subcontractors, fabricators, consultants each submit their models to the coordinator - usually the General Contractor - via a shared site. A BIM/VDC manager then downloads each model onto a super high powered workstation to combine them using a product like Navisworks. 

Then, he or she conducts analysis, identifying thousands of potential clashes. Next, generates a clash report, distributes it to all stakeholders and schedules a coordination meeting for joint stakeholder review. Afterwards your subcontractors, designers, consultants, etc. return to their silos to resolve clashes assigned them, then resubmit their models. Now, the process cycles over as many times as needed until all major clashes are corrected. 

This linear process means that often one stakeholder has to wait for another to finish his/her part. Thus the BIM/VDC manager tracks progress, noting when the process has stalled and chasing down stakeholders as necessary.

The time it takes to combine models, push out reports, keep track of issue resolution and bottlenecks adds up and doesn’t use the highest-value expertise of the BIM manager. In fact, these non-optimal tasks in coordination were also quantified in the study by PlanGrid and FMI. On average, across all US firms, 14+ hours per week are spent by BIM/VDC managers on these low-value administrative tasks.


Reducing Low-Value Tasks and Improving Efficiency for Coordination


Autodesk BIM 360 enables fewer errors and shortened timelines without heavy investment in training or powerful hardware 


What would be the impact be on the length of the coordination process if coordination was a shared responsibility across the whole team? Meaning, what if clashes could be identified, resolved, and tracked automatically with the ability for all stakeholders to review reports immediately, at the same time, AND make changes simultaneously?

For one thing, coordination would move a lot faster. Decision-making would also improve as the whole team would be empowered to review clashes and make resolutions in a shared, live environment where analysis and information updates are immediate.

This would, in turn, increase the value of BIM, as speed and improved communication lead to fewer errors and shortened timelines.

Is this a realistic shift? In short, yes. Autodesk BIM 360 enables this exact reality without heavy investment in training or powerful hardware and software. 


Watch the BIM Coordination On-Demand Webinar



With BIM 360, there is one location for all stakeholders to upload their models. Files are version controlled and time stamped. As models are uploaded clash detection runs automatically  and clashes are presented in a clash matrix ready for review y. As clashes are reviewed, reviewers can assign issues to themselves to take responsibility for assign clashes to project members to initiate conversation and track issues through to resolution.

BIM 360 enables a re-imagined process. It empowers all stakeholders to work together and to simultaneously resolve clashes without risk of missing information updates. 

It also takes the administrative onus off of the BIM/VDC manager.

What are the key benefits of this cloud supported coordination process?

  • It lowers the barrier of entry, giving all stakeholders access to federated models in an all-user-friendly view.
  • Improves efficiency by removing information silos. Information is no longer buried in reports or stored on one power-users machine.
  • Automates clash detection, cutting down what used to be a lengthy process into a matter of minutes.
  • Removes noise  - when a clash isn’t a clash. Users can group large numbers of clashes using BIM data to speed up review, and if further attention is not required, they can classify the group as ‘Not an Issue.’
  • Creates transparency in the clash resolution process. With automatic clash detection and clash grouping via BIM data, efficiency increases and workload minimizes by being able to treat multiple clashes as a single issue, visible to all.


BIM 360 enables a re-imagined process - empowering stakeholders to simultaneously resolve clashes without risk of missing information updates


The ROI is obvious: reduced time and reduced errors. Users of BIM 360 for cloud coordination report reducing coordination timelines from 6 weeks to 24 hours and for some users, they’ve reduced rework down to less than 1% of total budget. 

With so much efficiency to gain - without investing in multiple user licenses or fancy hardware and software - BIM coordination through cloud collaboration can be a no-brainer. 

All it requires is a will to re-imagine the process to empower all stakeholders and free-up BIM/VDC managers to focus work on high-value work.

Learn more about BIM 360 technology and its benefits, plus the practical steps for transforming BIM coordination process to a faster, more collaborative coordination. 

Previous Article
PeerAssist: Powerful Decision-Making Backed by Data
PeerAssist: Powerful Decision-Making Backed by Data

Contractors are no strangers to challenges and risk involved with construction projects. Often, the general...

Next Article
A Path to Scalability by Embracing Construction Technology
A Path to Scalability by Embracing Construction Technology

The design, manufacture and construction industry is at a crossroad. Ok, it’s not breaking news – it’s a to...