How reality models + 4D BIM enhance construction scheduling and progress tracking

January 5, 2021 | 6 minute read
Dr. Mani Golparvar
CTO and co-founder Reconstruct
Text Size 100%:

For more than a decade, real-world project execution has shown that 4D simulations improve construction planning, scheduling, and production control by integrating detailed schedules with building information models (BIM).

More recently, projects have also shown that reality data—in forms of images, videos, and 3D point clouds—can improve communication and coordination of work in progress. 

Reality data + 4D BIM

Integrating reality data with 4D BIM improves project delivery by enabling project stakeholders to visually plan, verify, and communicate their schedules at both macro and micro levels using project imagery.

A reality data + 4D BIM integration also allows stakeholders to track work in progress, analyze productivity, and proactively detect potential delays. The key is using predictive analytics to increase construction teams’ nimbleness and effectiveness.  

However, initial approaches to this were challenging to implement on active construction projects. Models, activities, and other schedule data consistently change, making it difficult to create an accurate baseline and to maintain and share a live 4D BIM across project teams.

There is also a whole range and magnitude of reality capture data, from cell phone and drone images to 360° videos and laser scanning point clouds. This further complicates efforts to create 4D reality models and map them against 4D BIM.

Oracle Construction and Engineering and Reconstruct have collaborated to change that.

Visual production models formed through the integration of 4D BIM and 4D reality models.

Oracle + Reconstruct integration

Oracle Construction and Engineering and gold-level partner Reconstruct, which has a bidirectional integration with Oracle's Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management, established integrations between Reconstruct and Oracle Primavera Cloud and Oracle Aconex.

This integration enables construction managers to interactively map their schedule activities into BIM data—at both the master schedule and task levels.

The resulting 4D BIM communicates construction sequencing to owners, trade contractors, and other partners. Users can easily create simulations using 4D BIM and manage project changes.

Beyond 4D BIM, the Reconstruct reality mapping engine also enables project teams to leverage 360° drone and smartphone images and videos from both indoors and outdoors to generate 3D reality models over their project timeline.

Visual production models for interior work. Interior work space is mapped in 3D using 360° cameras. A 4D BIM, color-coded view of trade contractor responsibilities is overlaid to compare reality vs. plan for progress and quality deviations.

The integration of 4D reality models with 4D BIM helps project teams to see “what is there” and “what will be there” to:

-    Track progress remotely
-    Measure real work-in-place quantities
-    Verify quality of the work-in-place and
-    Leverage the feedback from the field to update the project schedule and expedite payment applications.

The actionable insights provided by these integrated 4D Reality + 4D BIM models are used for planning purposes. Superintendents and project teams can see what materials and equipment are on site and what work is in place—as well as what is going to be constructed—to help with daily production plans.

Five ways the Oracle + Reconstruct integration fits into existing workflows

1) Oracle Primavera Cloud master schedules and weekly work plans can be integrated with Oracle Aconex BIM models for BIM-based scheduling and visual verification. Model-driven quantity takeoff enables better planning and management of resources.

In addition, visualizing concurrent activities at macro and micro levels enables project teams to confirm project plans at the strategic and tactical levels. Schedulers are magicians in an organization, but communication of the schedule to project teams is challenging.

Using 4D BIM empowers project teams to easily and quickly highlight under-utilized locations, visually verify flow of work across work locations, and validate whether the overall construction sequencing is correct.

BIM and reality models for project scheduling and production tracking. Oracle Aconex is integrated with Oracle Primavera Cloud schedule data in Reconstruct to form production 4D BIM.

Site images and videos are transformed with the Reconstruct engine into reality models and are merged with 4D BIM to generate visual production models.

These models and reports on progress, productivity, and schedule risk are used to revise weekly work plans and master schedules with Oracle Primavera Cloud, closing the loop in project planning and controls.

2) Project risk can be reduced by involving other project stakeholders early and as needed. Project teams can use 4D BIM and 4D reality models to:
-    Validate the project’s critical path
-    Recognize where the major project risks will manifest
-    Improve field production by first building the project virtually  
-    Respond to changed conditions and new opportunities
-    Document, communicate, and track root-causes of delays and
-    Visualize delays across work locations.

3) Visual production models enable communication and monitoring of project progress. Teams can coordinate who does what work in what location, every day.

Project schedules and models can be used to visually coordinate safety, quality, and review planned operations for constructability.

In addition, project teams can be informed of task completion, availability of work spaces, and availability of other tasks for weekly commitments. Reality models provide the most up-to-date context of the project by visualizing laydown areas, temporary structures, equipment, and the latest state of work-in-place.

As such, they minimize time spent on creating and managing 4D BIM, which conventionally required the as-is conditions to be modeled manually.  

Progress can be objectively tracked and validated based on actual and expected quantities of work—per schedule activity, work package, and location. The risk between short-term and long-term project plans can be visually and quantitatively managed via a dashboard.

All project teams can be engaged in contractor coordination meetings to collaboratively address potential delays and visually get buy-in on revised schedules before project teams leave coordination meetings.

 4) Visual production models in 4D encourage frequent use of the project schedule. Every project requires a detailed schedule for day-to-day coordination of the project’s work.

The number of activities can make it difficult for project managers, superintendents, and general forepersons to ‘manage’ the schedule.

In Reconstruct, detailed schedules can be easily created, validated, managed, and updated.  By visualizing detailed schedules, project teams coordinate and communicate the work and make changes as needed.

5) Keep schedules up to date. Primavera P6 EPPM schedules can be imported into Reconstruct to:

-    Report progress
-    Visually assess and document root-causes for delays
-    Revise look-ahead schedules collaboratively
-    Get buy-in from all project teams and
-    Export the updated schedule back to Primavera P6 EPPM to revise the schedule for the next cycle of work. This new capability closes the loop of planning, monitoring, and control cycle to keep your schedules up to date.

“Connecting the building information model to the schedule for planning was just the beginning of the 4D journey,” says Mark Jenkins, Oracle Construction and Engineering product management director.

“The integration with reality capture is also important for schedule progression and risk management. Adding reality capture closes the loop of virtual project controls by allowing for real-time schedule progressing and more accurate forecasting. There is no doubt this will lead to safety, quality, schedule, and cost performance improvements for the construction industry,” Jenkins says.

See innovation in action at the Oracle Industry Lab.

Amir Hamaoui, director of customer operations of Reconstruct, also contributed to this article.

Oracle Construction and Engineering, the global leader in construction management software and project portfolio management solutions, helps you connect your teams, processes, and data across the project and asset lifecycle. Drive efficiency and control in project delivery with proven solutions for project controls, construction scheduling, portfolio management, BIM/CDE, construction payment management, and more.

Related posts:







Dr. Mani Golparvar

CTO and co-founder Reconstruct

Previous Post

What’s the future of robotics technology on construction sites?

Corie Cheeseman | 4 min read

Next Post

Using Cross Subject Area Analysis - Tips

Jeff Mcdaniel | 2 min read