By Brett Young
May 1, 2017
I ran into a college friend this past weekend who I hadn't seen in several years. He works in the analysis of large datasets for a leading financial software company, so he understands the latest tech trends, like machine learning and big data. But he admitted that it wasn't clear to him what ClashMEP actually does. I thought I'd write about it here to explain how our product solves a major industry pain for those in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry.
ClashMEP does real-time clash detection for building design and planning. Clash detection is a type of analysis where a building design is analyzed for a type of design defect. This defect is when two objects are modeled in 3D in the same location so the physical parts of the building don't fit in the given space. Each of these occurrences is a "clash," and during building design there are tens of thousands of these clashes. Clash detection, in general, is focused on the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) trades. It's important to resolve MEP clashes as soon as possible, because doing it in a virtual space when everything is still digital is much, much cheaper than figuring it out when you try and install it on the jobsite. Electricians, plumbers, and sheet metal workers are highly skilled individuals with a very high hourly wage. Making them more productive and reducing their jobsite troubleshooting is a valuable cost-saving pursuit.
ClashMEP does clash detection in real time as the parts of the building are being modeled. There are no other clash detection platforms that operate in real time. ClashMEP is kind of like spell check on a word processor: As you make errors, the errors are identified. The user exports or uploads a file from their modeling software and does the analysis using another program, which is often expensive and specialized. ClashMEP is a fraction of the cost of existing clash detection programs. It's also easier to use and works on a continuous basis, rather than doing clash detection once a day or once a week. The overall software architecture also enables all kinds of benefits. For example, we know which users modeled which clashes and the exact time they did it. This metadata allows us to make new, collaborative management tools that are similar to collaboration methods used in manufacturing and software development, and which have been proven very effective.
To recap our explanation of ClashMEP so far:
- Clash detection is an analysis of design defects for buildings.
- Clash detection is valuable because it saves time on the jobsite.
- ClashMEP improves clash detection by making it faster, cheaper, and better.
How has ClashMEP been received by the industry? We can point to three examples of enthusiasm we're getting from the global building community.
First, people have recognized our work as an elegant, innovative process improvement; just see this discussion on the weekly podcast ConTechTrio. The guys at ConTechTrio are practicing industry professionals with a passion for tech. You can hear the whole conversation in the video below, but here's my favorite quote from Josh Bone, the BIM expert at ConTechTrio:
"It can change our workflows and save us massive amounts of time."
These sentiments are echoed by the many people we've talk with as we've traveled to meet with customers and attend conferences.
Check out the whole ConTechTrio podcast about BSP's ClashMEP here. (Source: YouTube)
Second, our customers are both global and diverse. We have customers who work at mechanical design firms as part of a two-person BIM team. We also have customers who work at some of the largest engineering firms in the world, building some of the most complex project types in the world. Our customers include all of the BIM stakeholders on projects – owners, architects, design engineers, general contractors, and subcontractors. They are also located across the globe. This all reinforces our belief that ClashMEP should be used by any firm that does MEP modeling of any type.
Third, our customers are believers in our roadmap for ClashMEP. ClashMEP enables all kinds of collaboration and advanced management techniques, which we're building and testing with our customers. This includes the first machine learning product in the AEC industry and the use of Agile software development methods for project coordination. We're really excited that our product provides great value today, but we're even more excited to bring new, revolutionary capabilities to our global customer base.
I hope this post has been a clear, largely non-technical explanation of ClashMEP and how it solves a big industry pain. If you think we achieved that goal, please "like" this post so we can get some feedback on what we're trying to achieve. And if you have any questions, please put them in the comments section and we'll be sure to answer them.
There's more information available on LinkedIn.