4D BIM for Construction

Sue Dengenis

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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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Job Cams and the Power of 4D: That's Innovation!

Posted by Sue Dengenis on Feb 19, 2014 12:37:14 PM

In his article, “Construction Job Cams Become Common, Useful Tool”, (ENR January 6/13, 2014), Tom Sawyer outlines the uses and benefits of job site cameras.  The ENR article states that the growing use of job cams is being propelled by, among other things, the growing use of building information modelling (BIM).  Not only are specs requiring job site cameras, there is also a noticeable trend globally to require 3D models and 4D construction visualizations in project specifications- from tender bids to design/build and commissioning.  Innovative companies have found that when used in combination, job cams and 4D visualizations become a very powerful tool, as 4D provides a context against which job cams images can be viewed.

“Jobsite cameras take scheduled photos from static positions and stream them to private users or public websites, stringing together the images as movies of projects going up or to archive for later use. While the cameras are a hit with developers and marketers of high-end residential buildings and flagship projects, they are becoming a general construction staple, written into specs from the start, say users and vendors.”

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Limiting liability and improving performance

Posted by Sue Dengenis on Nov 14, 2013 1:17:00 AM

 “All parties involved in the construction process (i.e., owners, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers) have a vested interest in on-time performance and on-time payment… Delays in performance are, not surprisingly, among the most commonly litigated issues arising from construction projects. Construction projects involve expensive equipment, tremendous overhead, significant manpower and large payrolls for owners and contractors alike. The longer a job takes, the higher the costs and the greater the potential for litigation. Due to the high costs of untimely performance, contractors and owners usually require well planned and often complex schedules.

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Google X Spinoff Developing Confidential Construction “Genie”

Posted by Sue Dengenis on Oct 28, 2013 12:21:00 PM

Vannevar Technology Inc, a spinoff of Google X has taken over responsibility for a confidential construction technology product that was prototyped at Google X- the secret arm of Google tasked with creating revolutionary new technologies.

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