When it comes to implementing 4D project management, the topic of LOD (level of detail or level of development) comes up a lot. Because 4D Project management integrates the construction schedule with the BIM models, implementation strategists need to think about the best ways to link these two traditionally separated construction tools. The main concerns regarding these issues are usually represented by the following questions:
- Are the project BIM models developed enough to match the level of detail of the schedule?
- Are the project BIM models way more detailed than is required for 4D PM purposes?
- What is the level detail for which the 4D model will yield the highest ROI?
Why do these questions cause a lot of confusion? One reason is that they implicitly assume that 4D modelling is a one-off effort that is carried out at some stage of the project lifecycle to validate the schedule or solve a problem. Therefore figuring out the right stage or LOD to carry it out will (presumably) ensure its success.
In reality, after having supported multiple implementation efforts of 4D using Synchro on complex projects over the past two years, I can promise you that this is not the case.
In my opinion, 4D Project management should be considered as an improved version of project management. This means that it can be carried out in parallel, by different teams, and in different ways to serve different purposes that contribute to a more effective project delivery to the customer. Each 4D PM effort should be carried out at the LOD that reflects the type of PM decisions resulting from that effort. This is really important.
Here are some of the most common applications of the tool along with the suggested model/schedule LOD for each application.
In conclusion, I believe that regardless of the LOD of your models/schedule, implementing 4D will improve the performance of your project. However, this isn’t the most widely held belief in the construction industry as construction teams are not always exposed to the newest tools and workflows that enable them to succeed.
What are your thoughts? Feel free to share your opinions and comments regarding this issue.