Ever since Project Management has been introduced, many new techniques and methods have been introduced and used for the optimal management of projects no matter how complex they are. In 4D Scheduling, the idea is to use a visual tool, which is created through the linkage of every object existing in a 3D building information model with the schedule activity that corresponds with it. The purpose of this activity is the to come up with an animation showing the construction process over the period of time. 4D Scheduling is a technique that is most often employed in construction industry in which it has great use because mostly the projects are really extensive and take a lot of time in the planning and scheduling process.
As opposed to 4D scheduling, CPM Scheduling done through the use of the Critical Path Method is for construction projects that are not extraordinarily extensive in their nature. The best aspect of the use of 4D Scheduling in managing construction projects is that those projects that are so extensive that they can be handled by the most expert people are not manageable by less experienced managers through the ease of use and simplicity 4D scheduling has to offer for the users. With the help of 4D scheduling, the project manager is able to see side-by-side the comparison existing between the planned activities and work and the actual activities and work that has been carried out on the project. This helps the managers in drawing a comparison between the progress that had been planned and the progress that actually took place, just like a CPM Scheduling diagram does.
In managing projects, it can happen many times that there is a delay occurring in he project and the manager is not aware of it. However, with 4D Scheduling, this doesn’t remain a problem. This is because managers get a graphical representation of the baseline and the actual work that is being done. This helps in better and quick identification of any issues exiting in carrying out the project.
In 4D Scheduling, there are three approaches that are used. These include the automation, linking and Lego approach. In the automation approach, a 4D model is automatically generated using the logic of the 3D model. The Linking approach combines the 3D logic with the schedule to increase understanding. Under the Lego approach, the project manager can actually have a schedule prepared and can also view a model of the construction site in virtual reality.
When we look at it, 4D Scheduling is a few steps ahead of the CPM schedules that are created with the help of Project Management Software and CPM Scheduling Software. The most significant benefit that it offers for the project manager is that it increases the efficiency of the project manifold. With the presence of a 4D model, the entire project team can visually see all the aspects of a construction project including the constraints that exist in terms of time and budget and also any opportunities that may be there for improving on the project.
The schedules created with CPM Software are a little technical and may require some expertise for best understanding. However, this is not the case with 4D scheduling. These are easy to understand and interpret and they allow optimal usage of all the critical resources in a project. With 4D scheduling, any conflicts in the project are really easy to identify and hence, can be solved in time.