What is 4D BIM?
According to the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB), Building Information Modelling (BIM) is the “use of a shared digital representation of a built asset to facilitate design, construction and operation processes to form a reliable basis for decisions”.
Most people are familiar with 3D BIM, where a 3D information model is at the heart of the project and information is shared amongst project participants via a Common Data Environment (CDE).
In recent years, however, the concept of BIM has expanded into different BIM dimensions, with 4D, 5D and even 6D BIM adding time, cost and whole lifecycle management to the mix.
According to the NBS, 4D BIM adds an extra dimension in the form of time-related scheduling data. 4D BIM effectively takes the data that would typically be contained within a Gantt chart, which maps the sequence of events to complete a project.
By overlaying the time element onto a BIM model, project planners can create an accurate project programme, which with the added visualisation and graphical representation afforded by the BIM model, shows much more clearly how the project will develop.
By mapping the critical path of a project over the model in this way, it is easier to spot problems that could occur—for example, access to particular plant or machinery at different stages of construction—and the project plan can be altered accordingly. By enabling such detailed planning earlier on, this added information can help to improve project safety, while also saving time and costs.