Building Information Modelling (BIM) has been with us for a number of years. In essence it is a means by which digital information on the design and construction of buildings can be shared amongst those responsible for delivery as well as end users.
4D BIM refers to the intelligent linking of individual 3D CAD components or assemblies with programme related information. The 4D model enables the various members of the project delivery team together with the client, to visualize the entire duration of a series of events and display the progress of construction activities through the lifetime of the project.
The obvious advantage of this approach is the high potential to improve the project management and delivery of a construction project however complex it may be.
4D BIM in practice
4D BIM is said to have been used on the current project at 22 Bishopsgate, which when completed will be the tallest building in the City of London. The project is believed to be pioneering a radical form of BIM that incorporated 4D modelling applications as well as advanced virtual reality. The tower claims to be the first in the world to link digital construction and logistics planning to interactive virtual reality.
The rationale behind this is to facilitate new possibilities as to how BIM can be applied as a logistics and health and safety tool, as well as the facilitator of the design and construction process. Recent press reports suggest that, whilse there have been inevitable challenges, the most notable benefits of using these technologies has been the vast improvements in the efficiency of the whole design and construction process, particularly with regard to identifying and rectifying errors in designs.