Ten ways 4D BIM can transform construction

Building Information Modelling gives reference to a sophisticated and intelligent model collecting graphical and non-graphical data in order to construct 3D models, sharing information on a common platform. By linking extra layers of data to existing models, stakeholders can gain a better understanding of the project.


What is 4D modelling?

In simple terms, 4D modelling places focus on how a 3D model is coming from the design phase but also adding in the dimension of time, according to Rich Humphrey who is Vice President for Construction at Bentley Systems.

Time-related information in the shared model gives entities the ability to plan and carry out an accurate programme as well as prototyping how structures are to appear at every stage of the process, avoiding reworks that can be expensive.

Angitha Pradeep from ME Construction News offers insight into ten ways in which 4D BIM has the ability to transform projects.

1. Early-stage planning

The value begins in the pre-construction phase, in some cases even the bidding phase, enabling the customer to obtain and understand the information received. They are then able to visualise plans and carry out analysis of the construction path, optimising costs and resource. Making mistakes in the 4D environment is much better than seeing them during construction. Ambiguity is also removed from the project as drawings can be very detailed from early on in the process.

 2. Monitoring

Commonly, large-scale projects are difficult to monitor when on-site as there are many areas that need to be accounted for before reports can be prepared by project managers. Deviations can be found by comparing the structures captured by 3D and 4D models. This helps to reduce any risk associated and empowers the project manager to lead the workforce on a daily basis. Additionally, stakeholders can geo-locate themselves within the 4D model aiding them in finding data based upon the information around them, providing a better context for employees to carry out their work.

3. Integration at all levels

4D BIM is approaching a tipping point, according to Rich Humphrey. It is not everyday practice but slowly that is starting to change, many of the major construction companies deploy a virtual design department where BIM is started in the office. Companies are beginning to not only use 4D BIM in the planning stage but also through to the construction and execution phase.

4. Conflict resolution

4D modelling enables the user to track alterations that are made in the design and construction phases, meaning there is always accountability for decisions made.

5. Security: data and personnel

4D BIM allows for two-fold security. It offers safety to combat data-breaches and also the site can be monitored 24/7. Hazards can be avoided by offering information about situations that are likely to be considered accidents. Artificial intelligence and cloud computing let the information be tracked via sensors and input into the model.

6. Supply chain management

Construction supply chains involve tracking material logistics and activities alongside coordinating mechanisms with involved parties. The assistance from 4D BIM and geographical information system for coordination between supply chains helps solve any issues.

7. Retrofit for existing buildings

As the majority of existing buildings are not maintained using BIM technologies, operators are seeing the benefits of efficient resource management in these new projects that are taking place. Different elements of the project can be remodelled, and realty capture can be used to see the existing conditions as well as optimising the design and construction process.

8. Civil infrastructure

Mark Hattersley, Senior Director for Construction Operations at Bentley Systems believes that a model-based approach is used where construction objects are created rather than design object. This scenario means that methods, quantity calculations and cost codes are linked to model objects meaning the cost is integrated into the overall plan, allowing companies to offer accurate tenders.

9. Simulation

Planners have the ability to visualise the construction sequencing by using a 4D model. Things such as P6 schedule tasks, logic, durations and timeframes can help provide an accurate representation of what is outlined in the schedule.

10. Project planning

4D BIM helps ensure that the planning stages offer more precision. The adding of sequencing information allows for the feasibility of schemes to be assessed from the initial stage. Digital workflow planners are able to influence and share proposals to add value from early on in the development phase.

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