How 5D BIM fuels the growth of Construction Industry

Last Updated March 19th, 2018

5D BIM for Construction

5D BIM shows physical and functional aspects of designs along with near accurate cost estimates as well as BOMs that goes beyond geometrical attribution of a 3D BIM model.

Additionally, it shares information across third party software platforms and enables the collaboration between technical, finance and management disciplines of any building construction project in a common data environment (CDE).

However, the transition from 3D to 5D also involves 4D BIM construction sequencing which is equally important to any construction firm. 4D BIM construction video created with scheduling software like Navisworks and Timeliner tool and an animation of construction timeline with particular start and end date eases the decisions making process for logistics. It essentially guides material supply, helps firms implement lean construction and attain control over cost overruns.

Construction firms and contractors can unlock the full potential of 5D BIM by cross discipline collaboration for their building models. It essentially becomes a single source of truth turning every decision making process into an efficiently utilized timeframe.

5D BIM models deliver better performance in achieving quality with low costs for construction management and keeping a check on construction expenditure and with AR/VR technologies, the horizon expands continuously.

From 3D to 4D BIM and beyond – up until 5D BIM

While 3D BIM modeling solves design visualization challenges, 4D Primavera Navisworks simulation and Synchro 4D scheduling designs workflow in a manner that any probable clashes can be eliminated early. Once scheduling is all mapped out, transmitting the construction material anywhere on the site can be handled hassle-free.

Linking a digitized 3D representation of the entire building plan having IFC open format prepared in Autodesk Revit BIM models with external cost estimation software eases the process of estimating costs. Building plan in 5D necessarily includes details related to building design along with BOMs, digitized RFIs and other construction and technical documentation.

When digitized, all the information can be stored in one document and the contractor can derive numerous benefits including positive ROI, real time data, productivity increase, shorter project lifecycles, project scope understanding and much more with help of convenient access to automatically generated papers and direct association with the concerned BIM manager.

Also, construction documents are prone to human errors and calculation mistakes. Such mistakes get eliminated when documentation is done digitally through the as-built BIM-ready 3D models of construction projects.

The process of digitization eliminates the tedious process of manual counting and assessing the blueprints for every change made and updating the BOMs accordingly.

Benefits of 5D BIM to construction industry

A 5D BIM model automatically updates the BOM charts and order quantity, as and when there are changes made in the BIM-ready model by any of the stakeholders. In fact, the cost charts against the order quantity are also kept up-to-date for achieving the higher magnitude of productivity. Implications of such automation positively impact decision-making processes.

A change and update notification enables the quantity surveyor to see the models and its impacts on costs for staying on proposed budgets and avoiding cost overruns.

Apart from decision making and planned costs, there are numerous other positive ROIs that several leading construction firms experience. More than 3/4th of the companies have seen positive outputs when it comes to employing 5D BIM cost estimation for their construction projects.

A quick glance at the benefits:

  • Visibly shorter project planning cycles giving more time to focus on efficiency
  • First-time accurate cost calculations eliminating long discussions over seemingly weak topics
  • Exempts paper trails around the site as everything is digitized, resulting in more efficient process for data fetching at anytime
  • Everyone on board the construction project has the idea of total expenditure which gives them a head start to provide only budget friendly suggestions
  • Phasing, costing, logistics etc. can be planned in accordance with the project owner needs of delivery dates
  • Since a design change is directly linked to the cost estimation software, errors in calculating old or outdated costs are no more a challenge

Future of 5D BIM in construction industry

Owing to the imperative benefits of 5D BIM, software engineers have paired BIM with multiple upcoming technologies like Cloud computing, Augmented Reality, and even your mobile phones to explore higher ROIs. These new age technologies are becoming a part of AEC industry by delivering more than accurate results and enabling smarter decision making strategies.

Today, there are renowned construction firms that use AR as a supplement to BIM for boosting their design visualization process. Augmented reality apps are efficiently capable to convert building plans in 2D and pdf drawing to as-built models. A 4D scheduling modeling when combined with AR tool will show sequential animation in virtual world enabling higher accuracy in decisions. When Primavera is used along with Navisworks, every essential component of the building from foundation to parapet wall will be depicted more clearly.

On the other hand, costing – the crux of 5D BIM – along with BOQs, quantity takeoffs and other logistics plans and charts can be perceived easily which results in a better and informed decision making process.

In fact, the partnership of BIM and AR technology goes beyond 5D, up until facility maintenance, operations and entire building lifecycle modeling.

Though the full potential of such advanced combinations is yet to be explored; by the pace at which engineers are marching ahead, implementing it in reality of AR/VR for 6D and 7D BIM isn’t very far.


One thing is very clear that BIM is expanding its capabilities in the AEC industry and the industry is leveraging it more & more by integrating it with newer technologies like augmented reality. It’s our job to achieve BIM capabilities at our levels now, in order to be able to cope up with tomorrow’s technologies.

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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