4D 5D Can’t Complete the Picture


For all the promise of 4D and 5D BIM technology, users can never capture the reality of jobsite conditions and their impact on a building.  Yes, including the dimensions of time and cost adds a stronger connection between design and construction. But there are many components of “as-built” construction that BIM can never capture. There are certain conditions that can only be accurately and comprehensively recorded in photos and video.

Here’s a partial list of conditions and I welcome you to add others:

  • installation processes
  • access issues
  • sequencing issues
  • use of specified materials
  • fabrication processes
  • water intrusion remediation
  • LEED point qualification

Finally, before you convince yourself that as-built conditions can be completely represented in a BIM model, remember that human beings are the connection between the two.

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3 Responses to “4D 5D Can’t Complete the Picture”

  1. Alan Stevenson Says:

    These real world nuances are indeed pretty difficult to incorporae into BIM models. On the design phase of BIM (i’m an architect), we have similar issues.. the small scale details that can be described with a single quick 2D sketch take significant time to properly incorporate into the model. I believe in the value of having a coordinated model instead of individual 2D drawings, but we need these models to more fluidly translate between designer, builder and perhaps someday address some of the items you’ve listed above.

  2. Ned Pelger Says:

    I think all those items you listed could be included in BIM, it’s just such a large leap in the detail of the drafting (as Alan mentions). We could certainly get to a time when the design drawings show every single member (it gets done in industrial plant piping design now), but the level of understanding for the draftsman will have to increase by several orders of magnitude. The design cost would also increase dramatically.

    Perhaps we will end there, I struggle to see how we get from where we are to that level of sophistication.

  3. Turning BIM Models Into Buildings « Changing Construction Says:

    […] BIM Models Into Buildings By Rob Mathewson I have written in the past about the various aspects of as-built construction and the construction process that can’t […]

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