Opinion

Tapping the Potential of 4D BIM Construction Simulation for more opportunities

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Construction sequencing method is an indispensable tool for site engineers and contractors to map out the construction phase especially with rising design complexity. By linking building elements with the model based sequencing, BIM experts develop comprehensive simulations to take logical decisions for scheduling and meet the requirements.

Increased opportunities with 4D BIM modeling

While 4D BIM modeling serves as an excellent medium of communication, it also extends its span over the tender stage, presentation to the client, and helps explain contractor’s plan. But that is not just it.

4D BIM connects building designs and construction sequence planning with the next level of opportunity to connect seamlessly. Traditional practices of 2D designing caused obstructions in easy availability of design data at every stage for scheduling and lack of visibility of design intent to everyone onboard.

But BIM, conceptualization and modeling of designs can be done easily, because when you model something first and then construct, majority of the bugs in designs can be fixed through proper visualization. And when the project is headed to construction, time and costs can be saves significantly. As the Autodesk Navisworks cites on its official website, one of the users, Van Wijnen, could cut down the time to almost half and lower the costs by 15% to build a typical building.  

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Clearly, 4D BIM gives a liberty to the users to communicate with the site inspectors, project stakeholders, visit the site virtually and generate interactive timeline with visuals of how the work progresses.

Raising the bar by asking “What if”

Furthermore, when timelines are known, efforts are made to optimize the timelines by evaluating the “What if” scenarios at each stage during the construction planning phase. All the critical stages and information can be tweaked and the impact on rest of the plan can be well analyzed to make the construction stage leaner.  

Owners always ask if there is any scope for finishing the construction project earlier once the construction sequencing is shared with them. Similarly, the project manager and site engineers are keen to find increased opportunities to maximize onsite productivity by ensuring timely delivery and accurate logistics to keep the project advancement on schedules.

All of these demands from each stakeholder are imitated once a timeline is shared and BIM simulations allow manipulating the conditions and re-simulate to know the effect. 4D BIM modeling or a construction sequencing timeline video made with platforms such as Navisworks allows generating timelines and alter them until CPM [Critical Path Method] is followed for construction.

Faster ways of working

For large construction projects analyzing the timeline is critical as they have multiple onsite activities being carried at any cross-section of the timeline. If not evaluated carefully, some of these activities may lead to exhausting project budgets and timeline but 4D BIM avoids exactly this.

With 4D BIM sequencing, when IFC data is exported information for fabricators of building products is shared at the correct stage of development. It is done so because, if there are discrepancies in instructions, site engineers might unnecessarily end up burning the potential of project expenses in reworks and materials waste.

BIM simulations necessarily focus on illustrating spatial complexities, workflow clashes, lets stakeholder understand what alternatives are possible, clearly sets timelines for phased project schedules and identifies productivity rates, risks and hazards, and possible delays in following CPM.

From 3D BIM model to 4D construction sequencing video

Considering all these takeaways of 4D construction sequencing it just cannot be overlooked, and as such, generating 4D is just a step after typical 3D as-built BIM models. Once the designs are finalized, and final model is ready in Revit or any other BIM platform, simulation with the using a Timeliner tool or Excel entities with Primavera in Navisworks generates effective animation for sequencing.

Ideally, 4D occurs just after 3D BIM and Virtual Design and Construction in BIM, and simultaneously with 5D-model based cost estimation. We at Hitech BIM Services develop efficient construction simulation in a model based environment of 4D BIM.

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