4D BIM and scheduling: activities planning during construction processes
If you need to understand more about how to improve project execution management, reducing risks and management costs, well this post covers the most important aspects that you need to keep your eyes on. Get a quick overview of 4D BIM management and the advantages it can bring to your organisation and the construction process.
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First of all, what’s 4D BIM?
4D BIM consists in the organization, execution and management of the building phase of a project. But it does it by monitoring the time variable.
In practical terms, it means that the entire BIM model is divided into basic activities (or work phases), each of which is assigned with a starting date and an ending date. This obviously leads to having various types of helpful info but we’ll talk more about that after. From a graphical point of view, the software arranges each activity in a neat, easy to read colour-mapped timeline. The amount of data relating to a building project managed within a BIM compliant process can get incredibly complex so it’s quite obvious that organising and managing data, apart from minimising errors, is also a great advantage for everyone involved; especially site managers, supervisors and why not, even the client.
So, what kind of info can we deal with:
- activity starting and ending dates and consequently, their duration;
- whether any activities overlap in a given period – risk analysis;
- dependencies between different activities;
- project progress identifying which activities have already been carried out, which ones are scheduled and which ones have been postponed.
The advantages of 4D BIM
And what about the advantages of 4D BIM management and work-phases management:
- improved planning – better works execution performance;
- possible critical overlapping work-phases are identified visually allowing timely evaluation of different alternative scenarios;
- animated simulations of project development;
- improved communication between the various professionals involved in a given project.
Optimized work scheduling, execution and management
At this point, you can understand that 4D BIM can optimize the construction phase execution times with efficient planning and analysis tools. Earlier on, we mentioned “visually identifying” overlapping work phases, which may seem complicated, but easily achieved with object-related timing and sequencing info directly linked to the BIM model objects.
Of course, you’ll always need to produce a GANTT chart which comes in handy when your project requires careful planning but also to communicate with collaborators and partners, to compare different scenarios which we’ll see more about next.
Critical issues, assessing different scenarios
So, your project is moving forward, and no matter what, there’s going to be some sort of delay somewhere along the line. Whether related events that stop certain activities, delays in material arrivals, overlapping and interferences between activities, all of these can happen in any project and always require re-organising and re-planning. Without 4D BIM processes management, things can get out of control and mean extra daily costs, and none likes that, especially the client. So, this is where 4D BIM becomes fundamental to manage these problems right from the early stages of works in order to reorganise tasks and resources in the most efficient manner and in relation to the different issues that arise. We all know that time = money and, especially in the construction industry, it’s a fundamental value for the success of a project that requires constant monitoring and evaluation.
Project progress simulations
This is where using a software can get interesting. Thanks to Edificius and its seamless connecting with the 4D BIM environment, you can even produce an animated simulation of how the construction process evolves overtime. Once the various time-based tasks are linked up to the 3D BIM model objects, the software will show when each building element will be put in place in an amazingly clear manner even for project presentation purposes to pinpoint how efficient your organization skills are but also to highlight risks and solutions; and your client loves being informed in time to avoid losing money.
Better communication for everyone
4D BIM together with the visual material you can get out of it, also becomes a powerful support tool to improve communication and collaboration between everyone involved. In fact, information is a wonderful resource in any type of industry and especially in the building and construction sectors because there’s no second chance to do things better. You can’t build a prototype, find out all the flaws and then move to the construction site with a better version of the project. It all needs to be done in the most efficient manner possible and with a collaborative mind-set.
In fact, collaboration is the essence of BIM, in any phase, whether it during design, choosing materials, managing works, dealing with suppliers, etc. These all require coordination and collaboration and luckily enough, recent software tools make meeting these requirements a lot easier. BIM software integration with collaborative platforms, such as usBIM.platform, or Cloud based eco-systems with all the collaboration tools you could possibly imagine, really bring peace of mind to the chaotic scenario of confusion that’s grown across the past few years. With these new secure and high-performance collaboration tools, anyone involved in a construction project can finally:
- get in an online meeting and view the digital twin with full access to 4D BIM related data;
- discover concurrent safety risk;
- assess the impact of different work-phase alternatives;
- get hold of much more reliable data concerning completion of works, etc.
In return, you’ll see that the risk of increased management costs can be highly avoided, safety issues are under better control and the effectiveness of communication is guaranteed between all project team members.