4D BIM for Construction

How 4D scheduling creates synergies between BIM & Lean

Posted by Roar Fosse on Dec 2, 2015 4:03:14 PM

With new tools come new methods. There are numerous examples of this when it comes to Lean Construction and BIM, where new BIM tools require new processes that very often encompass several lean principles. I tend to say that Lean is the right leg and BIM is the left leg, and although you could stand on either one, in a fiercely competitive market that constantly shifts, it is easier for a construction company to maintain balance by standing on both. 

4D scheduling is one example of synergy where BIM can be used to achieve lean effects, either to support traditional planning methodology or to complement the Last Planner™ System. This blog post is meant to give an introduction to 4D scheduling and how some projects at Skanska achieves lean effects from using 4D in projects.

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Posted by Jacqueline Chen on Oct 29, 2015 3:00:00 PM

Several months ago, I was involved in a complicated heavy highway project which included the reconstruction of multiple State roads, the preservation of several bridges, the replacement of partial MSE retaining walls underneath ramps, the replacement of two sign structures and upgrades to existing traffic signal systems, not to mention traffic switches, closures and detours of ramps, intersections, overpasses and pedestrian walkways. I recalled that my morning started with a review of drawings (296 pages, half-size) with a construction manager who had over 25 years of experience. We were requested to provide a draft of the design schedule along with a PS&E submission by end of the following week. Seven revisions were done after, and a “what if” analysis was performed to estimate open to traffic time of one major ramp and predict project finish dates with different notice-to-proceed dates.

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4D is a Critical Tool for Reducing the Cost of Construction

Posted by Jon Berkoe on Jul 23, 2015 5:00:00 PM

If Contractors do not effectively implement 4D with BIM, the cost of construction for almost any substantial project – building, infrastructure, industrial – is higher than it needs to be.  Money is being wasted, time is being wasted, and sometimes safety is being compromised.  BIM enables increasingly more advanced, more intelligent designs.  Constructing that design is also increasingly more complex - the congestion of time, material, people, equipment, and space creates unforeseen problems - this is common and continuous.  It would seem obvious that many of these problems could be identified and averted if planning was effective.  And if these problems were averted then money and time would be saved.  But how can planning be effective if a schedule is done “1-dimensionally”, line by line, hundreds of activity connections spanning pages on top of pages?  How can a scope of work with say 20 (or more) activities in the same physical area occurring at the same time be well understood?  Or how can the safety risk of a crane operating overhead be adequately accounted for when it doesn’t even appear on the schedule?  Truth is, no matter how detailed and visually appealing the BIM model, if it doesn’t clearly show the “when” for every activity of construction then how do we know there are not going to be problems, potentially avoidable problems?

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Are We At A Fork In the Road?

Posted by Tom Dengenis on May 19, 2015 2:13:00 PM

Complexity in engineering, design and construction is now a constant. If we can point to one factor  driving complexity it is the new CAD capabilities that 3D modeling enables; the fantastic, the amazing and in some sectors like oil and gas, the monster projects.
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Clarifying Details and Scope Using the Power of a 4D Schedule

Posted by James Norris- Beck Group on Feb 18, 2015 4:00:00 PM

Often times when we create our initial construction schedules, we don’t know some of the specific details that will determine how the building can actually go together. We all have ideas on what we “want” to happen in order to meet our promised end date to the owner. But, do we ask all the right questions needed to build our buildings in the way we logistically formed our schedule for the project?


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Who Should Lead 4D?

Posted by Ken McBroom on Feb 10, 2015 4:00:00 PM

 With the ever increasing advancement of technology, there come new opportunities, along with creation of new roles and responsibilities to use this new technology. When I started in construction, MEP coordination (how the systems would physically need to be installed in the overhead space of a building) was done using light tables and overlays. 

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Can BIM Help You Sleep Better?

Posted by Jon Berkoe on Oct 14, 2014 1:30:00 PM

Is BIM a Project Manager's best friend?  Maybe, maybe not.  I think it depends on the project and depends on the manager.

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4D Construction Software: Some Metrics

Posted by Sue Dengenis on Aug 20, 2014 4:00:00 PM

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

Posted by Sue Dengenis on Feb 19, 2014 5:37:14 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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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.

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