The review of models for clash and collision detection is a major consideration in the use of Building Information Modeling. There is a now a FREE product on the market which will perform conflict checking of your 3-Dimensional models. This product is from Tekla, Inc and is called Tekla BIMsight.
This is a basic clash detection software that allows you to bring several different 3-D models together for project collaboration and collision detection. It is not the robust software of Navisworks® Manage, but you shouldn’t expect that capability with a free product. You can load several different files in the program and then save that model as a “package” with a file extension of *.tbp so that the model can be reviewed again when updated files are received.
The software doesn’t accept very many different file formats, but the following file formats are the ones that can be loaded into BIMsight:
- IFC files (*.ifc, *.ifcXML, *.ifcZIP)
- AutoCAD-based drawing files (*.dwg)
- Microstation drawing files (*.dgn)
- Web viewer files (*.xml)
Since I utilize Autodesk® products, I tested BIMsight with files from Autodesk® Revit® Architecture and Autodesk® AutoCAD® Architecture. Revit® project files do not import directly into BIMsight, so I exported the Revit® project file as both IFC 2×3 format and as a DWG format. I was pleased with the results in BIMsight when using the IFC format as I could select an object and get property information for the object. When I exported my Revit® 3D model in DWG format and loaded it, I lost object information that was available with the IFC format. When I loaded a DWG file created in AutoCAD® Architecture, I just got very basic information. I received the best informational results when loading an IFC file into BIMsight.
The Conflict Checking ability gives you the option of creating various rules and then applying the desired rule for the conflict checking. The Conflict Checking allows you to specify an Overlap Tolerance and a Minimum Distance if desired. I found this feature to not be as powerful as I was hoping, but then I reminded myself of the price.
It is evident that the software is not a high-end clash software, but if you are on a limited budget and looking for some software that can do collision detection of your 3D model, this product is worth taking a look at. After all, it is free. Note that the software is a Beta version and I have no idea what the future holds for this software. It is possible that the product is only free during the Beta timeframe, but I would assume that it would never carry a very high price tag due to its limited capabilities.
I know this is a brief “review” of the BIMsight software, but it is meant to get you exposed to it. Check it out.
The free software can be downloaded from the following website:
Tekla BIMsight Download Site