4D BIM for Construction

4D Planning: What it can do for you

Posted by Aneesa Mulla on Nov 19, 2013 3:00:00 PM

Traditionally construction projects relied on a single point of contact with very limited requirements for visualisation. Without a doubt this has led to an increase in very specialised professionals, however as a result there is little to no collaboration between these specialists at many stages of the project life cycle leading to a high level of fragmentation.

If you can’t see the full picture, how can you appreciate the task at hand? 

This is where 4D Construction Planning comes in - by providing a system or process together with the relevant technology that allows professionals to communicate, work together and visualise ideas, a digital model can be produced to represent the project life cycle that can then be distributed to all members of the project team, from the Design Team and Consultants, to the contractors. In terms of process, this form of digital collaboration ensures each party is able to input their specialised knowledge into this central model and ensure all members always have up-to-date information.

In terms of technology, when planning the construction project, the use of 4D technology to create construction simulations will not only aid in the process of collaborative working, but will also allow for 3D modelling techniques to be explored to create an accurate representation of a the planned construction process. This in turn provides a powerful visualisation tool for the project team to better understand key tasks and dates in the construction sequence.

Would it not be easier to analyse a 4D Construction Simulation of the construction phase, than being handed pages and pages of activities to interpret?  

As we all know, issues that arise on the jobsite can lead to delays and cost overruns. By developing a 4D construction model from the outset, it can allow conflicts to be identified in advance of starting on site when they could prove to be costly and timely to resolve. In addition to this, site logistics and coordination can be planned well in advance, to evaluate the locations of site facilities, particularly where construction and handover could be phased. This could involve both temporary and permanent structures or elements that help convey how the space can be utilised around the site. Various time-based clashes and opportunities for possible improvements could be highlighted using the 4D simulation in relation to construction methods and activity sequencing.

Ultimately, 4D planning and simulations allow Project Managers and their team to communicate more efficiently, and effectively plan in advance to ensure the best possible solution is analysed and presented to the client with minimal conflicts and/or problems. As Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘He who fails to plan, plans to fail’.

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