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5 Tips for Implementing 4D BIM for Construction Scheduling

5 Tips for Implementing 4D BIM for Construction Scheduling
4D BIM has radically transformed the way we design, manage and develop construction projects. In an effort to add more clarity on how 4D BIM can be beneficial for your project, we present 5 tips on implementing 4D BIM for construction scheduling.

Proper allocation of resources and material is crucial to ensuring project efficiencies while taking into account potential disruptions like inaccurate count of materials or delays in delivery. Inaccurate sequencing and scheduling results in reworks, material wastage, logistic errors and project delays.

4D BIM modeling helps project teams, contractors and owners prepare precise phasing charts and construction schedule, through proper sequencing and scheduling of materials. 4D BIM provides building material logistics, site progress tracking, resource allocation and supply chain visibility to ease risks.

In this blog, we offer five tips, which when implemented correctly, will ensure accurate creation of 4D BIM models.

Challenges faced while creating 4D BIM models

Creating 4D BIM models poses challenges related to accurate data and geometry and how they are linked to the schedule. Any discrepancies in the above can lead to serious inaccuracies.

Here are some of the challenges faced while creating 4D BIM models:

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4D BIM scheduling and why it is important

4D BIM includes “time” as the fourth dimension to be modeled. 4D simulation provides construction sequences, so that project stakeholders can visualize and create a detailed, streamlined construction schedule with minimum issues.

4D construction scheduling enables stakeholders to:

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5 Tips for implementing 4D BIM for construction scheduling

4D BIM enables teams to build and analyze project schedules. Here are five crucial tips to implement 4D BIM to get better construction schedules.

1. Collect all baseline information for a 3D model

Implementing 4D scheduling requires an accurate and information-packed 3D model. A kickoff meeting followed by an accurate and complete data checklist is the foremost requirement.

It is crucial to lay the foundation of model usability, information coordination and stakeholder responsibilities.

2. Check accuracy of 3D models for required parameters

Once the exact information is derived, a detailed data checklist helps modelers establish the availability of deliverables to build the 4D model. These include 2D drawings, renders, schedules, operations, and other activities during onsite construction.

As the project progresses, modelers must review the 3D model and incorporate the necessary changes. Frequent reviews and updates to a 4D model help create better 4D prototypes.

Reviews conducted by modelers need to ensure that the models meet these criteria:

  • Creation follows a certain agenda or timeline
  • Is built for a predetermined goal
  • Meets the required LOD level
  • Includes essential data and components to build an accurate schedule
  • Is straightforward to perceive

Detailed 4D BIM simulations in a 3D model save time and cost for a dorm room in the Middle East

Hitech CADD Services created a detailed 4D BIM model using Revit® for an architectural firm for a dorm room. The 4D simulations with exact timelines, dates and elements along with realistic animation of moving cranes and cars, helped the client in better planning of construction activities.

The 4D BIM model with arranged logistics helped the client gain better control over his worksite and save on construction time and cost.

BIM Simulation - Student Dorm Building BIM Simulation – Student Dorm Building

To make onsite construction quick, accurate, and streamlined, 3D model layers need to be set to complement the 4D progression. A fixed layering schema improves the accuracy of the 4D model.

Fixing a layering scheme requires standardized processes, these include:

  • Defining layer standards for a 3D model
  • Adding visualization elements and activities
  • Setting the right model orientation
  • Incorporating project schedules

3. Add construction schedules to 3D models

Data-rich 3D models linked with accurate schedules are used to build precise 4D models. An in-depth understanding of describing construction activities makes 4D phasing easy to perceive and create.

These activities can be connected to construction, project resources, costs, spatial information, and other element data that can be visualized in real-time.

To achieve complete linking between the 3D model and schedule, it is important to consider the following processes:

  • Various LOD levels can be achieved for a 3D model, yet a 4D model can be detailed with minimal representation.
  • Object, component, or activity grouping can be achieved in a 4D model to help compartmentalized detailing and enhance focus on specific groups. These groups can include objects, site models, etc.

4. Use lean construction tools for workspace planning

One of the major challenges in 4D scheduling is the micro-scheduling of heavy machinery and equipment and generating a 4D model with appropriate LOD to accommodate workspace planning.

A high-quality 4D BIM model helps detect/identify and resolve spatiotemporal conflicts. This saves spatial planning time and makes the planning process more reliable while reducing accidents and increasing on-site safety.

The use of a lean construction approach minimizes waste caused by delays and poor workspace planning, thereby preventing Spatio-temporal conflicts.

5. Customize your scheduling based on project needs

Customization of the 4D scheduling process leads to greater success, as the perspective is quite different from conventional scheduling.

Creating the 4D sequencing, or 4D part of the schedule keeping in mind where it is most required will help realize your objectives better than using a blanket formula for 4D scheduling in all cases.

Customized 4D BIM sequencing leads to cost savings and reduced rework for a UK project.

Architectural BIM Model Architectural BIM Model

A UK-based architecture firm needed to create a 4D BIM coordinated model with construction sequencing for mixed-used building construction.

With Hitech CADD Services’ 4D BIM services and sequential videos, the architect firm was able to:

  • Reduce rework
  • Improve communication of design intent with clients
  • Enjoy appreciable cost savings
Read Complete Case Study  »

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Why hasn’t our industry fully adopted 4D BIM?

A recent study (2018) on 4D BIM adoption done by Mujtaba Sediqi, at Royal Institute of Technology, Real Estate and Construction Management, Stockholm, found that despite its benefits, organizational and inter-project challenges have weakened the adoption of 4D BIM.

Some significant barriers to the adoption of 4D BIM include lack of:

These, however, clearly point to a lack of general awareness and knowledge about 4D BIM and its benefits, which is expected to happen in response to the emergence of any advancement in technology.

The solution to the situation is to increase knowledge, skill, and awareness about 4D BIM and its advantages in construction scheduling.


4D BIM has proved to be a potential game-changer in the way construction firms build or renovate projects. The ability to achieve accurate project timelines through visual confirmation is a powerful tool to save on construction budget and time.

Nonetheless, a profound understanding of its processes and tools is a must to achieve the most out of it. Mandating the use of 4D models to evaluate critical processes and activities can optimize resource and material utilization, and deliver the project within stipulated timelines.

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Authored by:
Harika Singh

is an academician and published writer. Her passion for engineering and technology reflects in the in-depth coverage she provides on technology trends. 20 years of work association with institutes of repute across India and the US positions her to provide valuable insights to business stakeholders on achieving scalability and operational efficiencies through digitalization.

Keyuri Patel

, an American Institute of Architecture associate, a LEED Green Associate and a Masters in Architecture from San Francisco, Keyuri Patel carries wide ranging experience in urban design, architecture and BIM projects. Her insightful industry coverage on building design and construction processes builds on her passion for technology and digitalization.

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