The Life of a Construction Model: Design, Coordination, and the Field 

Coordination Blog

Construction projects have become increasingly complex over the last few years. Expectations are higher, more people are involved, and a staggering amount of data is being produced with every project. There's also the issue of risk. Research from KPMG indicated that 78% of engineering and construction firms agree that risk is increasing.    

As such, it's more important than ever for design, BIM, and field teams to stay in sync. Doing so improves efficiency and reduces issues that lead to rework.

Join our webinar: The Life of a Model: Design Coordination, and the Field

In fact, FMI and Autodesk found that poor data and communication caused 52% of rework – adding up to approximately $280 billion globally. The good news is we can reclaim billions of dollars with better communication and a single source of truth.  

Successful model coordination ensures information flows effortlessly from one team to the next. To deliver high-quality projects, design, BIM, and field teams need to have a common source of information and communication – the model. This enables design and BIM teams to collaborate to refine models and reduce errors. Field teams can then visualize what needs to be built, where, and with what materials, all on their mobile device.    

So why is it essential to create a continuous flow of information centered around an aggregated model? And more importantly, how is this accomplished? Let's explore.    

The major players in coordination  

Reducing rework must include contributions from three different types of teams: design, BIM, and field.  

Design teams. These folks work in the earlier stages of the project and strive to deliver high-quality designs to avoid changes in the future. One of the ways they can do this is through continuous collaboration and coordination.  

For example, the engineering consulting firm WSP Canada uses a check-as-you-go method in Revit Cloud Worksharing to identify issues as they design. This helps the firm's BIM manager reduce the amount of time spent finding and assigning issues by 20-30%.  

Similarly, Morgan Sindall utilizes automated clash detection to improve design management and model coordination—a move that has proven to improve team efficiency.     

"We've seen the design teams take on more ownership of the information that has been produced. Each member automatically clash detects the work before issue creation," shares Lee Ramsey, the firm's BIM Director.  

BIM teams. These teams build a virtual representation of the project and check for errors on the web before they're discovered at the site.    

Ideally, this model is created in a common data environment that brings architects, engineers, and BIM managers together in one place. Doing so makes it easier to identify, assign, and track design and constructability issues, so problems can be resolved early on, potentially saving thousands of dollars per conflict.  

Field teams. Superintendents, project engineers, and foremen in the field bring years of experience and deep construction knowledge to the building phase. To be effective, they need to leverage an accessible and easy-to-understand medium to communicate to their laborers and counterparts in the office. This includes their materials, elevations, part specifications, clearances, and more.  

With models on mobile, field teams can visualize the project using both sheets and the aggregated model. Models in the field enable teams to see coordinated models in visual and contextualized ways to understand installations, mark discrepancies, or create RFIs.  

Plus, models make it easy for field teams to collaborate with other stakeholders. Since everyone is working using the same model, changes, property data, and communications all exist in one place.   

Watch our webinar!

You'll learn things like faster coordination across the tools we all know and love (Revit, Navisworks, Model Coordination), how to design with construction in mind, and how to achieve better communication in the field with data-rich models on mobile. 



The ideal coordination workflow    

Now that we've covered who's involved in a project, let's look at how these teams can work together. Consider this coordination workflow example:   

Start with a shared coordination space. The process starts with having a common space to collaborate; this is known as a coordination space. It's a shared folder where project files are placed to be aggregated, clashed, and resolved of their issues. Coordination spaces can either be full projects or broken up into buildings, floors, or disciplines.    

Add files to the shared folder. The files that go into the folder are automatically clashed with other models, so a BIM manager or any extended team member can identify and assign issues.   

Check open issues. Once issues are assigned, the designers in Revit can use a free add-in to check open issues assigned to them. They can also check their model's clashes against other models in the coordination space without leaving the authoring tool.  

Clear clashes efficiently. At this stage, designers can check their work using this add-in to clear clashes before an issue is created.     

Review and filter clash results. With automatic clash made easy for everyone, a wider range of project members can filter the clash results based on the properties or tolerances to focus and review what's important to them.  

Access project files in Navisworks. A BIM manager can instantly access project files in Navisworks using a free coordination add-in that pulls in project files, views, and issues for further refinement.    

The BIM manager can then run a more detailed test or save the coordinated model as an NWD file with viewpoints in a field-enabled folder.  

Field teams walk the site. Superintendents and project engineers will always have the latest coordinated, multi-trade models to walk the site. These leaders in the field can navigate the aggregated model using a mobile device or tablet in first person or orbit mode. They can easily view different object properties, locations in 2D, associated sheets, and a list of issues.  

Communicate changes or work to be done. The project engineer, for example, can then snap a photo of an installation issue and send it to other teams for resolution.   

All these project stakeholders interact and collaborate using a common source—the coordinated 3D model.    

How Autodesk Construction Cloud facilitates smoother workflows for teams  

Autodesk Construction Cloud has the features teams need to share data and implement communication flows beyond what they've ever done before. Here are some of the platform's newest and most exciting capabilities:  

Clash and Issue Dashboards in the free Revit Issues Add-In. This add-in details and populates assigned issues from Autodesk BIM Collaborate or Navisworks to simplify collaboration between BIM and design teams.    


Opt-out of clash. Having the ability to opt-in and out of clash reduces noise and helps stakeholders focus on specific models.  

Clash tolerance filters. Users can set clash tolerances above, below, or between values to easily clear clashes, focus on critical model conflicts, and move through clash results one step at a time.   

Free Navisworks Coordination Issues Add-In. This enables BIM managers to run detailed tests from models in the cloud and save multi-trade (NWD) models and views for the field without lengthy file transfers.  


Better team collaboration leads to superior project outcomes  

Great things happen when project teams implement tightly-connected model workflows in a common space. Construction industry research shows that projects implementing collaborative approaches are completed 102% faster than those using traditional methods.     

This shouldn't come as a surprise. Better communication means issues are spotted early, which reduces risks, reworks, and costs. Meanwhile, teams benefit from increased trust and transparency, ultimately resulting in better performance, repeat work, and improved margins.     

Take a demo of Autodesk Construction Cloud and discover how our platform can take your team collaboration to the next level.  

Kyle Seyler

Kyle Seyler is the Senior Product Marketing Manager at Autodesk Construction Cloud. A seasoned product marketing leader with over a decade of experience in go-to-market strategy, Kyle harnesses the power of marketing to connect with diverse industries, from adventure travel and winemaking to manufacturing and construction. During his 5-year tenure at Autodesk, he has developed programs that equip educators with engaging curricula for the future of manufacturing. He currently leads a team of product marketing professionals committed to addressing the construction industry's challenges through intelligent yet simple technology.