How 4D BIM Modeling Has a Highly Positive Effect on Construction Projects

Building Information Modeling (BIM) generally offers the wider construction industry a wide number of productivity benefits including increased coordination, analysis, quantification, safety, sustainability and accuracy.

In 1910 Henry Laurence Gantt, an American mechanical engineer created, what is now known as the Gantt chart, to monitor construction progress over time. It was a popular technique for project scheduling but lacked the ability for users to visualize the steps and permutations of a construction timeline.

With ever-increasing amount of global infrastructure, residential and commercial development projects, coupled with the growing complexity of construction projects and the increasing shortage of resources there is an expanding need for more sophisticated and sustainable tools and processes for construction management.

4D Building Information Modeling (4D BIM) is one such process. 4D BIM refers to the intelligent linking of a 3D digital model with time or schedule related information. It provides precise and useful construction project information for teams. It’s gaining momentum in the industry by providing both tangible and intangible benefits for it which are set out here.

The tangible benefits of 4D BIM modelling giving enhanced productivity are :

- Conflict detection

- Improved delivery time and cost savings

- Improved quality

The intangible benefit of 4D BIM modelling

An intangible benefit is the use of 4D digital models for visualization and communication of project parameters, such as the project schedule, visually to construction clients and other stakeholders, including to the less technically minded.

4D Visualization 4D BIM modelling visualization incorporates start and finish date data for the supply and installation of construction components and reveals the importance of them in relation to the overall project. It has removed the challenge associated with traditional scheduling of construction sequences of misunderstanding brought about by the lack of visualization.

Through 4D BIM visualization, it has become easy to view schedule a variety of information. This includes construction progress information which can be shown through project viewing, review and simulation tools.

4D BIM visualization also assists in resolving any conflicts between subcontractors or areas of site congestion which could disrupt workflow prior to construction. It can also include access routes and temporary equipment, be used to plan material deliveries, coordinate material handling equipment and ensure their availability.

Objects in a digital model are linked to a CPM schedule in order to do this. This helps stakeholders understand:

- Firstly, the nature of the construction process.

- Secondly, the project at any construction stage

- Thirdly, the appearance of a completed construction project

Visualization of the construction process

Effective visualization of the construction process can therefore be provided for view activities in relation to their cost on a daily or weekly basis as needed.

Visualization of the project at any construction stage

By adding schedule dates to model components, a project team can improve the overall schedule and communicate this to all team members as needed at any point during a project. Over time, a schedule can be linked to a digital model to evaluate construction options.

Visualization of a completed construction project

Visualization of a completed construction project can be useful at any stage but particularly prior to construction to mitigate risk, whether from a health and safety perspective or from a time or cost perspective.

Following the success of BIM in the design arena, contractors are now turning to BIM applications for their own uses, this includes the use of 4D BIM. Many have started using 4D BIM modeling to improve project project planning throughout a project lifecycle. It is anticipated that owner-operators will follow suit.

This article originally appeared in The BIM Hub

This post was written by Ashley Smith