By Susanne Dengenis, Director of Global Marketing, Synchro Software Ltd.
4D BIM is the next generation of project management, including project planning and scheduling, data analytics, and management. 4D literally adds vision. It integrates detailed spatial data from the BIM model. The ability to visualize your project and analyze dynamic spatial data on your computer before you break ground creates a practice field for the delivery team that is highly engaging and efficient. In an industry where processes haven’t changed for decades, this is revolutionary!
According to a McGraw-Hill Construction SmartMarket Report, 74 percent of North American construction firms have adopted BIM in some capacity. When compared to separately reviewing stacks of 2D drawings and design plans with stacks of 2D Gantt charts, or even the more detailed network diagram, and then having to discuss all of that information with the delivery team, the benefits of BIM are huge. 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 are 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 helping transform the entire delivery process, but software alone doesn’t transform an organization; people and processes must be at the center of this effort. 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. Great results come from cooperation between all team members, from the executives to the laborers.
There are a number of different technologies on the market that provide varying levels of true 4D integration. Designers should look for a tool that maintains the integrity of their project plans, where efficiency and time savings are maximized by simulating projects in real time, and changes can be made without the need to re-input data to analyze different approaches. Many systems are little more than movies that help tell the story of the project through the 4D process, but these methods have little value as a management tools because they don’t create or maintain the integrity of the project plans and schedules.
What are the benefits? A study by the Stanford University Center for Integrated Facilities Engineering (CIFE) on 32 major projects using BIM indicates that it eliminates up to 40 percent of the unbudgeted design changes, provides savings of up to ten percent of the contract value through static clash detections, and provides up to a seven percent reduction in project time.
Learn more about our 4D scheduling and construction project management software and our partnership with Nemetschek Vectorworks on the Industry Partners page of their website.