4D BIM is intelligent linking of a 3D digital model with time or schedule related information

By connecting schedule of work and modeling, 4D BIM allows a company to present a holistic, accessible view of a project to everyone involved.

Everything You Need to Know about 4D Scheduling BIM

4D BIM, with its seamless integration of data that accountants love in a format they can understand, helps greatly with visual validation for payment approval. People who don’t have the technical know-how to interpret CAD designs or intuitively know how long components will take to build can easily see how the project will fit together when data is combined in building information modeling.

Gantt chart | Time management | Time location chart

Components of 4D

Once these CAD drawings have been mocked up, the second piece of 4D BIM comes into play–time data. There are several different types of milestones that can become important here. The first type is time data that is pertinent to the project, like resource leveling, fast track construction, and materials sourcing due dates. These are usually arranged on timelines, and CAD drawings can be split apart to show the end result of each phase. This time data is generally more of a bird’s eye view of the project and not representative of the details.

The other important type of time data in 4D BIM is data about the construction components themselves. This is where large due dates get broken down into smaller milestones and deadlines. For example, a wall constructed using drywall might have time data about how long it takes to source the materials, construct the wall, and let it dry. By plugging this baseline schedule into the equation, 4D BIM can create realistic schedules of how individual components fit into a contractors working schedule.

Visual Validation

One of the toughest parts about the construction industry is that it is so interdisciplinary. Financial planners, engineers, builders, and designers alike all have to collaborate and work towards a shared goal. Although it might be easy for a construction planner to visualize a project in its beginning stages, that might not always be true for people on the financial side. They do, however, need to have a good sense of where the project is heading before they commit their resources.

While this model of a physical space, specifically referred to as 3D BIM, is helpful on its own, different layers of functionality can be added to the BIM information to create an even more powerful model of the area. One such additional “dimension” of BIM is scheduling data. By linking a time component to each element in a CAD sketch, designers and developers can create a living timeline of the space and show how the design can come to life in phases. Once this time component has been added, the 3D BIM process becomes the 4D BIM process.


Projecting Constructability and price

BIM offers a more cost and time-sensitive solution: A BIM Model has the ability to be embedded with data, much like a database or spreadsheet. This data can be generated as you design, like the dimensions of your walls, or inputted by a user, like the price of a specific material. Now that these objects have this associated data, previously daunting tasks (like recalculating your project costs or how many beams you’re using) are now done automatically as updates to the design are being made. For example, as walls are drawn within the model you are able to extract all the associated information, like area, length and even cost.

Planning a construction project from beginning to end, because of the complexity mentioned previously, can be a daunting process. A workflow has to include a large number of overlapping timelines, particularly when it comes to hitting a set deadline with all types of professionals on board completing individual parts of the project. One of the goals in complex construction management is typically to avoid clashes, areas in which models overlap or one variable makes the others impossible. Through the singular model emphasized by BIM, finding these clashes is made exponentially easier.

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