How do you think design coordination was done before we started using digital models?
I would have to assume that before digital modeling existed/was popularized, design coordination was done in person. I bet that the architectural team met with the structural engineering team and both groups would bring their proposed designs; then, they would have to bounce ideas back and forth on how to compromise between the clashes. Digital coordination has the advantage of being instant; with coordination features on software like Revit, you can instantly compare the differences between the architectural and structural models.
What strategies can design teams use to find and avoid clashes prior to the start of construction?
It is vital to find/avoid clashes before construction begins. One way to do this (other than digitally sharing models) would be to meet very early in the development process to discuss general plans. After meeting initially, it would be wise to then continue engaging in communication throughout the development process to stay on the same page.
At what point in the project development process should design coordination start?
I think design coordination should start after the architectural team has created a very rough idea of their design. The structural engineering process can’t begin until the general form of the model has been decided; once the engineers know the basic form, they can conceptualize a basic structural system for the building. This will then begin the collaboration process between the two groups, hopefully minimizing clashes and major design flaws.