4D BIM for Construction

Sue Dengenis

Recent Posts

Becoming Bulletproof!

Posted by Sue Dengenis on Mar 30, 2016 4:23:42 PM

When you find something really good you just have to share it. This article has nothing to do with construction but everything to do with reaching peak performance as a person- we aren’t talking about professional athletes this is maximizing YOUR brain and YOUR body to perform at peak. It’s science, it’s hacking, it’s technology and it’s really interesting stuff.   

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Construction Project Owners- Are You Leading High Performance Construction?

Posted by Sue Dengenis on Feb 9, 2016 6:39:46 PM

Owners- you have the power to improve your construction project performance and to support your contractors’ success by requiring new performance standards.   Improvement and innovation is win- win.  Yes, projects are increasingly complex; yes, supply chains are global; yes, the design world has advanced technologically. This is reality; the only certainty is that change will continue and the pace will increase.    Recognize that owners’ specifications drive innovation and progress.   Technology for design has improved significantly, primarily due to Owner’s specifying new BIM standards of practice from their design teams.  It is time to expect contractors’ project management tools to also significantly improve in order to keep pace with industry needs. Construction teams need tools that provide insight and digital integration from design through construction and into facility operations.

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Improving Construction The Synchro Way: Real Results

Posted by Sue Dengenis on Jan 13, 2016 12:03:40 PM

It's January, kick off the year with a commitment to continuous and measurable improvement!

In 2015 the use of 4D planning and scheduling increased significantly- numerous presentations were made at conferences demonstrating the implementation workflows and the powerful results: improved safety, increased productivity, lower cost and greater reliability.  The results come from the transparency and cooperation that true 4D visual scheduling enables. 

 Why the big interest in 4D BIM for construction?  The industry is at a point were complexity continues to grow and profit margins are slim- something has to change or the risks inherent in construction will outweigh the benefit.  Traditional CPM and Gantt charts tools have been the standard for decades but the results have left the industry in a place where on-budget and on-time are not the norm and only sometimes achieved-last year in the UK only 40% of projects were delivered on time.   Thankfully, however, the future is bright. Industry leaders who have chosen to challenge the status quo are reaping the rewards from purpose built 21st century digital technology.  Synchro PRO is leading Improvement, Innovation and Cooperation- the results are significant.

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Five Things To Know When Evaluating 4D Construction Software

Posted by Sue Dengenis on Oct 16, 2015 7:00:00 AM

The number of new technologies entering the construction market is radily expanding.  Some of these new products (and old ones for that matter) work fairly well, some make big promises but little impact, some actually make matters worse and some…… will revolutionize the industry.  4D scheduling and planning is one technology that has been around for a few years and its impact is growing dramatically. 4D is being used on all types of construction around the world and its value is driven by transparency and cooperation. If you haven’t dug into the details yet, you should, and soon.  Here are some things you should consider when evaluating 4D products.

Not ALL 4D is created equal.

Top Five things to know:

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10 Point Checklist: Is 4D Construction Software Right For You?

Posted by Sue Dengenis on Oct 1, 2015 2:53:48 PM

Wake Up and Smell the Sawdust!!

According to the CIOB (Chartered Institute of Building), the construction industry’s ability to deliver projects on time fell from 45% in 2014 to 40% this year. That’s dismal.  We hear these disappointing stats regularly and yet little seems to change, year after year.  Is the problem a lack of leadership, poor technology or a faulty process?  My opinion, some of all of these, but I will save that discussion for another time.  I am more interested in how to create change.   How do we move the industry to a position of leadership in both innovation and performance?  The good news is, the change has already begun- if you haven’t noticed you need to wake up and seize the opportunity- the future is bright and truly exciting!     

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Synchro Unveils Mobile 4D Construction App at Conference

Posted by Sue Dengenis on Jan 22, 2015 1:35:00 PM

Synchro Software Ltd. (synchroltd.com) held its fourth annual 4D Construction conference last week at the San Diego Marriott Marquis Marina.   Over 120 people were present to see the unveiling of the new mobile app the company is developing to bring their 4D technology to construction sites.  “At Synchro, it is our tradition to provide continuous software improvements to keep pace with the user communities’ demand for increased capabilities within 4D Construction Project Management.” Said Tom Dengenis, CEO.

In addition to the mobile app, the company released an update to its' award winning Synchro PRO software.  The new release, PRO 5, has a long list of new features such as a direct integration with Navisworks and Bentley iModel, improved workflow enhancements and a new Risk Analysis tool.  A complete description of the new features is available at https://synchroltd.com/synchro-pro-5-release-notes/.

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4D Construction Software: Some Metrics

Posted by Sue Dengenis on Aug 20, 2014 10:00:00 AM

Let’s face it, 4D construction animations have become the norm among leaders in the construction industry- pretty much everyone uses them to some degree- high-rise towers, industrial plants, oil & gas refineries, roads, bridges, global companies and small consultants.  Not so long ago animations differentiated companies from the competition, not so much anymore.  Today, competitive advantage is being gained by embracing 4D as a strategy for process improvement and as a means to lean construction.  Why?  Because it works.  In fact, it works incredibly well.  People who dig in and invest the time to understand 4D and, who are open to a transparent process, immediately recognize that animations are quick and easy but they are not the end goal.  When 4D is used day in and day out to manage projects, the real value emerges.   

Making an animation is fairly simple, link your schedule to the 3D model and produce an avi.  4D can then be put to work for the entire delivery team.  The computer becomes a practice field where entire teams review, discuss and edit the plan, in real time.  True 4D scheduling technology allows the impacts to be seen immediately as they ripple through the plan, there is no need to re-enter data for each scenario.  Scenarios can be run over and over until the schedule is synchronized and optimized. The process is quick, effective and engaging. It begins before you ever reach the site and continues until the project is complete.  Imagine watching a short 2 minute simulation of a project phase where logistics, space and resources can all be identified for each moment in time, in as much detail as required.  Try that with a Gantt chart and a stack of plans-very inefficient and ineffective.  (Itis also innfective using 4D that doesn’t provide scheduling capabilities.) 

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BIM: Where is it headed?

Posted by Sue Dengenis on Jun 18, 2014 9:24:30 AM

Building information modeling (BIM) is firmly established as the “go-to” technology globally for the design and construction of buildings. It is transforming architecture, engineering and construction by providing accurate, timely and relevant information.  So what is the future for BIM?   Last week at CIFE’s  (Center for Integrated Facility Engineering, Stanford University) Summer Program, one hot topic was extending the data rich elements of 3D models further into the lifecycle of buildings for the benefit of operations and facilities management where the majority of the cost of a building resides. The potential for BIM to dramatically improve the effectiveness of building life cycle management is clear.

The challenge faced by the facility and operations management profession is the divide between the information used for building design and construction and the information needed for effective facility management.  Yes, we have a way to go before there is seamless integration from design to construction to operations management but companies and organizations are talking about the possibilities and how to establish best practices.

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Reconstructing Christchurch New Zealand

Posted by Sue Dengenis on Apr 14, 2014 10:00:00 AM

In 2010 and 2011, a series of earthquakes struck Christchurch New Zealand's south island.  The February 2011, magnitude 6.3 quake, destroyed vast areas of Christchurch and took over 180 lives. Approximately 80% of the CBD and its infrastructure was demolished, 100,000 houses were damaged and 10,000 homes were designated for demolition. An area more than four times the size of London’s Hyde Park was deemed uninhabitable. The Christchurch rebuild requires tens of thousands of workers, is estimated to cost over $40 billion NZ and will take over 15 years to complete.  As a result, Christchurch is in the midst of an unprecedented opportunity to reconstruct an international city, to combine rich natural and cultural heritage, a deep economic base and best-practice 21st century urban design. To see an overview of the project visit: http://progressmap.ccdu.govt.nz/.

As one of New Zealand’s oldest cities and the South Island’s largest, Christchurch is known as “the Garden City”, and it is currently home to around 377,000 people from a variety of different cultures. “Many locals cannot remember what the central city used to look like. Gravel quadrants have replaced multi-storey buildings, creating lines of sight through the city that never existed before. Many of the buildings that still stand are boarded up, with steel fencing around them as they wait to be sold or demolished. The main strip of bars and restaurants that lined the river, and was the site of the city's main entertainment hub, is now an empty lot.

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4D BIM- Setting New Standards

Posted by Sue Dengenis on Mar 4, 2014 5:03:31 PM

4D BIM is the next generation project management, including project planning and scheduling, data analytics and management.  4D is here to stay and growing quickly.  Henry Gantt put the “To Do” list on the calendar and added duration to his chart. CPM added dependencies, creating the power of the network diagram.  4D literally adds vision, for those who want or need to understand project planning and scheduling data.  The ability to visualize your project and analyze the dynamic spatial data on your computer, before you break ground, creates a practice field for the delivery team that is highly engaging and efficient, where team members share the same vision.  In an industry where processes haven’t changed for decades, this is revolutionary and, long overdue! 

Gantt charts date back to 1911 or earlier, CPM dates back to WWII when the Manhattan Project perfected Henry Gantt’s work by adding logical dependencies.  By the mid 1950’s, we started seeing  broader use of CPM by industry and we saw its’ introduction to construction by the early 1960s.  Since then, no major innovations have occurred and construction productivity has continued to steadily decline, until NOW.  Today, there is agreement that 4D BIM is the new standard and it is bringing measurable improvement to the industry.  According to a McGraw-Hill Construction SmartMarket Report released in 2012, 74 percent of North American construction firms in the $4 trillion global building industry have adopted BIM in some capacity, supporting the premise that BIM is here to stay.   Consider the difference between reviewing stacks of 2D drawings and design plans and separately stacks of 2D Gantt charts or even the more detailed network diagram and discussing between the two with the delivery team; with 4D BIM, teams are sitting together to review a real time simulation of the project- everyone shares the same vision quickly and efficiently, ideas are discussed and knowledge and experience is shared.  Changes can be made instantly, different approaches can be tested for impacts and clashes can be discovered early in the process.  4D visualization is transforming the entire delivery process.  But software alone doesn’t transform an organization, people and processes must be at the center of this effort.  Commercial construction is complex and rarely a repeatable process, there is no black box technology tool that can simplify and manage the improvement process.  Smart people with innovative tools improve the construction process.  In construction, Planners and Schedulers are at the center of the process, they are a key success factor of the delivery team and should play a key role in technology decision making.

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