Benefits of 4D/5D BIM to General Contractors across Construction Projects

November 16th, 2016

Benefits of 4D/5D BIM

BIM has proved its worth by enhancing the productivity of architects, engineers, and construction firms. Meanwhile, general contractors, contractors and sub-contractors cannot just be lagging behind from what they can get out of BIM. After all, entire responsibility of any construction project is on the shoulders of general contractors.

The 4D & 5D information rich intelligent models are being appreciated by contractors. The 4th dimension “Time” and 5th dimension “cost estimation” play a vital role for General Contractors in winning the bid for project.

BIM for general contractors equipped with intelligent and information rich 4D and 5D models have direct as well as indirect benefits for the work managed by a contractor.


The 4th Dimension

In conjugation with three dimensions, the added 4th dimension of time, fondly known as 4D BIM, what is usually referred as construction scheduling, avails the contractors in deciding the activities to be carried out on site one after another.

Better streamlining of activities from architectural, structural and MEP disciplines is achieved if the schedule and time of the activity is known. It generates information about the schedules of building products and creates a step by step visual development. For different building components, it incorporates time related information like lead time, construction and installation time, allowances for drying and mixing period, and inter dependency with other products.

Furthermore, the contractors can easily link this with the activities of other disciplines and prepare the planning in a logical manner by maximizing the work efficiency of each worker on construction site. This data is also easily convertible into graphical representation which helps comparing the scheduled plan and actual plan (Gantt Charts). In addition to this, the changes in the design can be accommodated easily with such models and the increased timing can be known and the facility owners may be informed well in advance. It adds value at every stage and at the front end of the building construction facility.

The 5th Dimension

Linking cost data for cost estimation and planning is called 5D BIM. The quantity takeoffs generated by higher Level of Detailing with quality and manufacturer details helps in generating cost estimation documents and datasheets for placing the bids. The costs here include the purchasing, installing, running, maintenance and renewal costs.

The exact quantity of various building components can be retrieved from the as-built models and can be compared with the current purchasing rates to estimate the cost for entire structure. It saves a lot of time and patience for calculations pertaining to the entire project cost. Thus, whenever a single component is replaced or changed, the direct impact on the cost gets calculated automatically.


Meeting the deadlines

With the ready information about exact scheduling of each activity and cost, the contractors can never miss a deadline, unless off course, there are unavoidable situations. The unnecessary traffic is avoided on site, reworks are minimized and each worker on site is adequately informed about what he would be working upon at a particular period of construction project.

The design is made sustainable and clashes are removed right during the planning and designing phase, a lot of time can be saved and idle time of the worker and equipment reduces considerable.

With addition of cloud technology to BIM, the contractors and project managers can access the data from anywhere and can instruct their subordinates as per the schedule or can coordinate if the changes are made in design or plans.       

Deploying the resources

Properly planned data in the form of graphs and datasheets empowers the managers and contractors to know and allocate their resources to meet the schedule on time. Every single equipment is utilized in an optimum manner and efficiency per hour of each resource can be increased. The start of one activity should not affect any other activity is at the core of deploying the resources strategically. If the activities are more organized it can be easier if there are any surplus resources at any area and can be deployed in the area devoid of it.


With all these things lined up properly, the stakes of any contractor to win the tender of any project rises sharply. The information rich intelligent BIM models empower the contractors present their plan with a surety of commitments, facts and figures and with all the justifications for any delay or misinterpretations. Contractors are sure to benefit by leaps and bounds with the BIM.

Gaurang Trivedi

About Author: is engineering consultant at TrueCADD. Besides, donning multiple hats, as a website manager and marketing in charge, he also oversees the editorial content, coordinating and managing the website, its news sections, blogs and social media promotions as well.

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