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4 D Construction Visualization: Techniques With Examples

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Teaching Innovation in Architectural Engineering I

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Page Count


Page Numbers

12.5.1 - 12.5.14



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Paper Authors

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Mohammed Haque Texas A&M University


Gaurav Shah Texas A&M University

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Mr. Gaurav Shah is a graduate student of the Department of Construction Science, Texas A&M University.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

4D Construction Visualization: Techniques with Examples


In recent years, science, engineering, and technology classes have begun to greatly assimilate IT technology as an effective tool for classroom reform. The widening breadth of IT applications has come to include the development of web based “virtual learner-centered classrooms,” allowing typical classrooms to reach more extensive student populations. Traditionally construction education, especially construction scheduling, has been dependent on bar charts and network diagrams. However, students can hardly comprehend the schedule-construction progress relationship using a CPM network or a bar chart. Using 4D visualization students can learn time- space relationship in construction schedule more effectively. Scheduling is based on task activities and 4D models can help understand this process better. This paper demonstrates various 3D visualization, VRML and walk-through animation of construction progress as a function of time (schedule). The techniques to develop 4D construction visualizations are meticulously demonstrated with examples. Considering the interest of youths in computer games these days, the use of a 4D visualization will develop a lot of interest amongst them, and will motivate them to try to better understand and retain important concepts of construction. The techniques demonstrated through 4D virtual construction models can potentially be a valuable tool not only in the classroom, but also as an effective self-directed tool for open learning by facilitating the expansive power of the World Wide Web.

Introduction and Background

Traditionally students in Civil and Architectural Engineering programs learn to analyze project designs and plan their construction by reviewing 2D CAD drawings and developing Critical Path Method (CPM) schedules1. 4D models combine 3D CAD models with project timeline2. Experience from various projects has shown that combining scope and schedule information in one visual model is a powerful communication and collaboration tool for technical and non- technical stakeholders3.

4D model of a project helps in detecting the incompleteness of a schedule, inconsistencies in the level of detailing, opened ended activities and impossible schedule sequence. This also helps in anticipating potential time space conflicts and accessibility problems. “Automating schedule data preparation and 4D model generations in the design stages of a project can expedite 4D model development and use. Users need to be able to generate 4D models at multiple levels of detail, generate, and evaluate alternative scenarios rapidly”4.

The use of 4D models and their associated database on site results in an average of 5% savings in cost growth, 4% savings in schedule growth and 65% savings in rework. Use of these tools, by the project management personnel, pre project planning, design, procurement and material management, construction, start-up and commissioning phases of a project can result in unanticipated savings5.

Haque, M., & Shah, G. (2007, June), 4 D Construction Visualization: Techniques With Examples Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1630

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