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4D BIM: Frequently asked questions and answers

4D BIM: Frequently asked questions and answers

4D BIM Q&As: the dimensions of BIM, adopting 4D BIM and its benefits

As we progress with BIM, data becomes a crucial and important element for the successful delivery of a construction project. A BIM model is much more than a 3D model; it is a multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary model.

Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions and answers with regard to what the “Dimensions of BIM” are and in particular, a quick focus on 4D BIM.

What are the dimensions of BIM ?

BIM doesn’t simply mean the creation of the 3D model of a building. It also implies adding information relating to its design, construction and maintenance phases.

BIM dimensions – 3D, 4D, 5D and 6D and even 7D, enhance the data associated with the model to share a greater level of understanding of the construction project. Adding extra information to data, in fact, enables you to find out how the project will be delivered, what it will cost and how it should be maintained.

The BIM dimensions, which refer to the levels of information in a given BIM data, are:

  • 3D modelling | geometrical, graphical information
  • 4D time-related info | construction sequencing by means of Gantt charts and timelines
  • 5D cost analysis| cost management, construction cost estimating, etc.
  • 6D sustainability| environmental, economic and social sustainability impact studies
  • 7D life cycle and maintenance | Facility Management: planning and management of maintenance operations throughout the building’s lifecycle

But what is 4D BIM?

4D BIM adds an additional dimension to a project. It includes information in the form of activity scheduling and task-related data.

Time-based data attributes also drives the 3D visuals of the project during development showing how it will be built and how both the structure and the surrounding site will appear during each phase. This is hugely beneficial in terms of planning work in a safe and logical way maximizing site efficiency.

How is 4D modelling applied to a construction project?

Thanks to BIM technology, you can now easily set up a three-dimensional model containing objects to which a duration start-end range can be assigned. This leads to being able to plan and simulate work activities and tasks in advance and to also check out how development progresses from one stage to another.

What are the advantages of 4D BIM modelling?

4D BIM adoption brings a number of benefits in terms of:

  • conflicts identification
  • major influence on both-productivity and efficiency
  • reduction of risks by means of improved team coordination and communication
  • better use of resources
  • improved delivery times and cost savings
  • total control over project scheduling.

Furthermore, the integration of BIM with a 4D simulation also brings various types of advantages to the project development team members in terms of optimising planning and coordination of the construction activities.

Which software solutions should I look out for when needing to deal with 4D BIM?

There are a growing number of 4D solutions available. Some are offered as part of a wider suite of BIM solutions, whereas others, are stand-alone dedicated 4D BIM tools.

Here are some of the most known and popular 4D BIM software on the market:

  • Edificius by ACCA software – a BIM modeling software offering an integrated all-in-one solution to build and manage the BIM modeling process through architectural and interior design, MEP system modeling, time-planning and works scheduling (4D BIM), dynamic BIM model cost estimating (5D BIM)
  • Synchro Pro by Bentley Systems – 4D construction modelling application that enables model-based planning and simulations, providing a means to create, analyse, edit, report and manage projects through a single visual interface
  • Navisworks by Autodesk – 3D model review software designed to allow AEC professionals to review integrated models and data with stakeholders to better control project outcomes.

Can I manage 4D BIM modelling with Edificius?

Thanks to the integrated 4D BIM GANTT environment, Edificius allows you to deal  with your construction project’s “time-variable” without any external applications.

In practice, with Edificius you can associate the “time property” to each individual BIM model object and view the entire construction process, thereby optimising time resources.

Can I manage work schedules (4D BIM) with Edificius?

In a simple and intuitive way, you can create a Gantt structure in Edificius by adding a task, define a title and start date or duration.

The Gantt chart is created using a WBS (Work Breakdown Structure), thanks to which you can also sub-divide and organize the project into elementary parts (periods). Simply drag & drops allow the user to link the model objects to a time-line. This can be achieved in a very straight-forward manner from the 3D model view too.

Once the links between time data and model objects are correctly completed, a simple click on the Play button allows you to see how to entire project construction phase evolves over time even in the Real-Time rendering view.

Can I share project advancements or changes with my team colleagues, companies and customers?

Many professionals think that BIM is a complex and difficult to implement set of rules and methodologies but with Edificius, these processes are designed with simplicity in mind so there’s nothing difficult to learn and really makes communication and managing changes to the project very intuitive.

Edificius then allows you to compare alternatives in your construction strategy, even during the early planning and tendering stages and to assess the feasibility and efficiency of different scenarios, gaining insight into the best possible construction outcomes.