Explainers

Five reasons why you should consider 4D BIM on your project

4 March 2018 | By Hiral Patel

2D to 3D modelling and maintaining efficiency for building construction projects is often talked about. But we also hear AEC industry professionals discussing their opinions that 4D BIM is not as significant. That is why it is more important that we talk about 3D BIM versus 4D BIM or even traditional project management versus 4D BIM project management, rather than 2D versus 3D BIM, says Hiral Patel.

Since 4D BIM is about construction sequencing with visualisation, it is an easy way to track and keep stakeholders updated on the project progression.

Below are five instances when construction sequencing and management with BIM is more efficient than traditional methods.

1. Planning and scheduling

With a 3D model, as in our typical Gantt chart processes or conventional project management processes, tracking activities is a bit cumbersome. However, with the digital 3D geometry of the as-built and proposed building design, the understanding and explanation become profound.

For traditional practices, there are innumerous charts, bars, and graphs which are often misleading or need intensive calculations. A 3D geometry not only eliminates the graphs but also ensures that there is no ambiguity.

2. Comparison and tracking

Tracking every activity on site is perhaps the most challenging task, especially for mega-construction projects like commercial buildings or infrastructure development projects such as airport lounges or underground tunnels.

In such cases, tracking with orthodox styles of a report consisting of several pages is time-consuming and tedious to understand. With a tracked Timeliner video as in Navisworks, there is a sequential animation of all the activities happening on site with material tracking option as well.

Construction sequencing videos prepared in such a manner make it easy to track every building element and construction progression. It is actually a visual comparison of what was planned in documents against what is done onsite. 

The site contractors can export the model to electronic devices and can then update the 4D BIM model once back in the office. In fact, 4D timeline videos help in preplanning and making provisions for efficient planning activity, if reviewed before construction breaks ground.

3. Progression and coordination meetings

It is a challenge for every project stakeholder to explain their concerns to others involved in the trade in the meeting room. Also this is the routine for as many times as there are design revisions.

But with 4D BIM meeting in place, not only the design intents become clear but stakeholders can also keep a track of all the changes made, and owner of each change, to minimise conflicts between the teams.

4. Minimised disputes

As each change is tracked and the designer – be it, architect, structural engineer or an MEP engineer – is the respective owner of the changes made, blame games are no longer the part of meeting rooms and disputes over design, or clashes among building elements, are addressed and resolved efficiently and conveniently.

Workflow clashes for simultaneous inter-disciplinary activities can be easily identified, and an alternate schedule for construction can be proposed.

5. Minimised risks and increased safety

Just one video for all the construction management activities exists, while piles of papers are eliminated which removes the risk of data breach or misplacement of papers. Also, any probable risks can be anticipated well in advance and eliminated by planning accordingly with safety measures.

Location of any heavy machinery, cranes, loaders, trucks, etc. can be known at any point on site and hazards can be avoided by scheduling minimum human activity in that area on site.

Final word

These five aspects demonstrate how efficient BIM can be for a building construction project. But contractors and project managers should evaluate factors such as preparation phase, the linkage between primary design phase and maturity of BIM before implementing. 

Hiral Patel is a news editor at Hi-Tech CADD Services

As each change is tracked and the designer is the respective owner of the changes made, blame games are no longer the part of meeting rooms and disputes over design, or clashes among building elements, are addressed and resolved efficiently and conveniently.– Hiral Patel