December 5, 2022



If engineers and construction planners had to literally draw their plans and building designs decades ago, today it’s all done on computers, using 3D or 3-dimensional models! Now, isn’t that so cool? Yes, in fact it’s even made cooler with the advent of 4 D Building Information Modeling! (BIM). Read on to learn more fast, and fun, facts about 4d BIM.


What’s 4D BIM?

According to engineering and technology experts, a 4D model is actually a computer simulation of construction activities and stages or phases. Many modern types and forms of the 4D model utilize specific 4D software, of which all the information related to time, site, logistics and design are combined.

On the other hand, a 4D Building Information Modeling (BIM) software refers to the process of using 3D models, combined with time schedule and time-related information, along with information on site surveys, programs and logistics models to effectively create a virtual construction sequence or phase. In simple terms, 4D BIM is 3D models + time information. 


How 4D BIM Can Add Value to Projects

So, how can 4d BIM add value to construction projects? In simple terms, BIM is the process of creating data sets or information models formed of graphical and non-graphical information or data in a shared digital space called a CDE, or Common Data Environment. 

This crucial information gathered and analyzed builds richness as the project stages progress, until a complete data set is handed over to the client or the end user upon completion. As an information model is created, one can add scheduling information to various components, generate accurate program information and get step-by-step visuals on your project’s progress or development.

In addition, 4d BIM also involves time-related data and information being associated to various components of an information model.  For a specific work area or element, this may include information on its lead time, curing and drying allowances, construction and installation period, sequencing and/or its interdependencies with other areas. 

With this data included in the 4d BIM system, construction managers and planners can easily develop accurate programs for projects that are based on one reliable source of information. The specific items and activities within those programs can also be clearly linked to their graphical representations.

The addition or inclusion of time-related data also enables 3D visuals of a project’s progress to be easily created. This shows just how the project goes through, as well as how both the structure and surrounding site will appear at each stage or phase. 

This is very beneficial to project planners and managers, especially in terms of planning work activities in a safe, sensible or logical way which maximizes efficiency at the project site. And, with program and visual information like this available readily, project managers and their teams can quickly prototype assets and other important aspects in a virtual environment first, and then provide quick feedback on methodology and design changes to their co-workers or colleagues.

4D BIM Helps to Reduce Las-Minute Onsite Design Coordination and Rework

Another truly amazing thing about 4d BIM is that it helps reduce or even eliminate last minute onsite design coordination and rework. Eventually, this should help eliminate waste, especially from the delivery process, and it will work to quicken the project’s pace.

This is crucial as construction sites are definitely complex places to work in, and they’re quite expensive to maintain and run as well. The efficiency generated can eventually streamline the pace of the project, as well as increase the capacity of the project team, while at the same time reduce overall delivery expenses for the clients.

And, 4d BIM is also a very powerful tool for communicating the impact or effect of built assets with local stakeholders during deliver, as well as during completion. This means that everyone can see, and gain a better understanding of how the completed project appears, rather than having to envision these through Gantt charts or from written design plans.

So, again what are the benefits of using the 4D Building Information Modeling software? Well, for starters it mitigates risks due to improved team coordination and communication. It also helps with conflict detection, improves delivery time and cost savings, as well as improves the overall quality of the project.

Ultimately, 4D enables project managers and their teams to effectively coordinate resource, improve communication and allow them to make informed decisions, especially during the project’s life cycle.

Although this software or system has already been used and recognized by the construction industry for over a decade already, it’s often misunderstood, or mistaken as a buzzword for a “too techy” concept. 

This has often lead to a lot of confusion, as well as a lot of missed opportunities. Thus, it is crucial that construction planners, managers and their teams adopt a more consistent approach to 4D Building Information Modeling, as well as share best practices to fully unlock the true value and potential of this software.

Some experts also advise that one effective way to optimize the benefits of 4D Building Information Modeling is for clients, planners and appointing bodies to set out a clear, structured and purpose-driven strategy at the outset of the project. 

This will not only help to drive major changes within the industry, but it will also pave the way or set the tone from the top. This should also help reassure and recognize project teams, as well as reassure clients that everyone understands and agrees with what they want.

In turn, this revitalized approach should also help instill confidence in stakeholders, as they will know that their project teams, suppliers and other providers are on board with their digital vision, and are putting  efficiency, planning and resourcing at the helm, or at the forefront, of the project (if only to manage or prevent delays).

Thus, with a standardized and consistent approach, the full potential and value of 4D Building Information Modeling is truly attained, and the success of the project is ensured.