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090513 4D Scheduling in my Vista

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I was asked by a Senior Leader from another company during a recent breakfast seminar whether my company and I have considered a better method of scheduling. He wanted to know about the possibility of moving to 4D Scheduling from using Primavera Project Management scheduling tool that they have. This was the very same question my direct Leader asked me four months ago. Simply put, project management leaders are now getting more interested with this 4D.

In view of these lines of questioning, I thought to pull a short article together reflecting what it to consider before taking in this new application.

What is 4D Schedule anyway?

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090513 4D Scheduling in my Vista

  1. 1. 090513-4D Scheduling in my Vista Page 1 of 13 Author: Rufran C. Frago, P. Eng., PMP, CCP, PMI-RMP 4D Scheduling in my Vista
  2. 2. 090513-4D Scheduling in my Vista Page 2 of 13 Author: Rufran C. Frago, P. Eng., PMP, CCP, PMI-RMP 4D Scheduling in my Vista
  3. 3. 090513-4D Scheduling in my Vista Page 3 of 13 Author: Rufran C. Frago, P. Eng., PMP, CCP, PMI-RMP 4D Scheduling in my Vista TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Introduction.........................................................................................................4 2. First encounter with 4D was a failure...............................................................5 3. Definition and Acronym.....................................................................................5 4. Are you ready to switch to 4D Scheduling? .....................................................5 5. What are some of my expectations?..................................................................6 6. Demonstration versus actual performance ......................................................7 7. Getting lost in the beauty of 4D.........................................................................7 8. Switching to 4D BIM not an assurance of good schedule quality...............7 9. How much time will 3D + Time integration require? .....................................8 10. Substantial increase in indirect cost is a possibility .....................................9 11. Are you the construction contractor or the client? ......................................9 12. 4D Scheduling is not a movie designed to entertain!...................................9 13. Question on 4D’s compatibility to your project’s existing application ...10 14. Qualification of a 4D scheduler...................................................................10 15. Conclusion .....................................................................................................11 16. INDEX.............................................................................................................13
  4. 4. 090513-4D Scheduling in my Vista Page 4 of 13 Author: Rufran C. Frago, P. Eng., PMP, CCP, PMI-RMP 4D Scheduling in my Vista 1. Introduction I was asked by a Senior Leader from another company during a recent breakfast seminar whether my company and I have considered a better method of scheduling. He wanted to know about the possibility of moving to 4D Scheduling from using Primavera Project Management scheduling tool that they have. This was the very same question my direct Leader asked me four months ago. Simply put, project management leaders are now getting more interested with this 4D. In view of these lines of questioning, I thought to pull a short article together reflecting what to consider before bringing in this new application. What is 4D Schedule anyway? According to Wikipedia, “4D Scheduling or 4D BIM, an acronym for 4D Building Information Modeling and a term widely used in the CAD industry, refers to the intelligent linking of individual 3D CAD components or assemblies with time- or schedule-related information. The use of the term 4D is intended to refer to the fourth dimension: time, i.e. 4D is 3D + schedule (time).” Reference: Wikipedia4D BIM (Jan 2010) According to Vicosoftware, one of the more visible 4D Scheduling service/tool provider in today’s market, this model-based scheduling (4D BIM) hinges on six variables: quantities, locations, crew sizes, productivity rates, and material and labor costs. Reference: 4D Scheduling Services by VICOsoftware Creating the 4D models permits the project management team and all the stakeholders of a construction project to picture the cascading and sequential display of erection from the beginning to the end of the project. The idea of a client being able to see how the edifices and facilities gradually come together is exciting and opens a new world to project management. 4D simulations can have many construction process planning applications. Validating the planned sequence and identifying time-based clashes are some of them. Reference: Lesson 3-Scheduling and 4D Simulation If your company is now using Primavera, MS Project or any similar scheduling tool and is thinking of switching to 4D Scheduling, then this article might be able to offer you some essential perspectives.
  5. 5. 090513-4D Scheduling in my Vista Page 5 of 13 Author: Rufran C. Frago, P. Eng., PMP, CCP, PMI-RMP 4D Scheduling in my Vista 2. First encounter with 4D was a failure The first time I encountered a similar tool was in early 2000 while working in one of those mega-projects in the Canadian Oil Sand. It was the company’s proprietary tool tied to an ERP/Estimating application. We tested it as a scheduling and progressing tool in one construction area. The plan was to use in all of future projects if the test proved successful. Unfortunately, the result came short of management expectation. I left the company while the test is in mid-stream and only learned about the testing failure two years ago from someone who was directly involved with the daily rigours of 4D planning from the 3D model side. You will learn about some of the causes of failure in the succeeding sections of this document if you continue reading. Five years after that, beginning in 2008, I have come across several companies selling what a lot of people in the construction industry now called 4D Scheduling, commonly termed as 4D BIM. The idea was the same, which was to use a visual tool created through the linkage of every object existing in a 3D model building information with the schedule. Each component of the model corresponds with a specific schedule activity or an activity representing a group of schedule activities. The purpose was to come up with animations showing the construction process over time. 4D Scheduling is a technique that is most often employed in the construction industry. 3. Definition and Acronym Level 1 schedule … Project/Area/Sub Area Summary & Key Milestones Level 2 schedule … Details down to Phase & Discipline Level Level 3 schedule … Details down to Work Package Level Level 4 schedule … Details down to Field Installation Work Package BIM … Building Information Model 4. Are you ready to switch to 4D Scheduling? In brief, I believe that many construction companies have not yet matured enough to switch to this tool even at this time. This is true despite the fact that the concept of flow line planning & scheduling has been there for many years. According to a “2013, Vico article, location-based management system”, it was already used even during the construction of the Empire State Building enabling construction to complete the building in just 17 months employing location-based management and graphically tracking crew productivity. To me, it was an awesome and magical achievement. It caught on for a time with some recognized industry players adopting the concept. Unfortunately, 4D scheduling fell out of contention with the advent of commercialized construction.
  6. 6. 090513-4D Scheduling in my Vista Page 6 of 13 Author: Rufran C. Frago, P. Eng., PMP, CCP, PMI-RMP 4D Scheduling in my Vista In my recollection, the application was only made commercially available within the last decade or so. It only made sense, with today’s more and more commercialized construction approaches. The tool should do likewise. 5. What are some of my expectations? Every sales pitch I hear says that 4D offers a great degree of flexibility, scalability and with no apparent limitation. Since the modular and scalability design of software applications in today’s market is now the main criteria of many companies in selecting their tools and applications, holding on to the claim places 4D in high regards. No wonder, 4D Scheduling concept through the latest version of this application is now making a big come back! If I am one of the decision makers in my company who are contemplating on making this scheduling upgrade, I will do the following:  Make sure that your company’s IT Support Team has included 4D Scheduling in its overall Short Term & Long Term Technology Plan and that there’s a good business case covering its implementation. The business case must evaluate all the reasons why a change is needed. Why move to the 4D scheduling? How will it affect existing and ongoing projects, approved programs, present roles/positions, governing standards, procedures, work Instructions and others  You should approach this planned shift strategically to be effective and be successful your company’s operational mandate.  Just like any scheduling tool that you might have at this time, a central database and Users administration work instruction and procedures are important to be put in place.  If implemented, I would prefer that the Project Controls Governance group, central of all project controls groups should own this new 4D Scheduling tool and
  7. 7. 090513-4D Scheduling in my Vista Page 7 of 13 Author: Rufran C. Frago, P. Eng., PMP, CCP, PMI-RMP 4D Scheduling in my Vista should be given the authority to work closely with Engineering and Field Construction. Otherwise, it is just a matter of agreement.  Conduct the necessary risk assessment where certain criteria are considered in depth. I strongly suggest the following: 1. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) 2. Cost-Benefit assessment  Note that there’s a good probability that your company already have what you need. This new scheduling tool might just be something nice to have. Don’t endorse a decision to change an existing application just because peers and competitors companies had made the move. Nice to have items are known to bring additional monetary burden with no appreciable return.  Make sure that the decision to replace an existing tool is driven by the present tool’s limitation and not the Planners/Schedulers lack of knowledge and skills, a problem that can be improved by training.  There should be a buy in of all affected parties. For example: procurement, fabrication and most especially engineering, module fabrication and construction. 6. Demonstration versus actual performance Most of new tools seem to work when it is being demonstrated and marketed but fail dismally in actual applications. 4D Scheduling just like all the other applications being marketed today by companies like Autodesk Navisworks Timeliner, BRG, Vicosoftware, Synchro, A3D, and others show how easy it is to tie time components and activities with the generated 3D model. Such demonstration of proficiency is usually too good to be true. Further investigation to the company’s knowledge base and skills is a must. A demonstration using your company’s test environment, existing systems and infrastructures should expose the tools real merits. 7. Getting lost in the beauty of 4D The tendency to get lost in the beauty of the 4D tool visual presentation than concentrating on the quality and achievability of the CPM schedule it supposed to reflect could become the stumbling block that lend to more ineffective project management. 8. Switching to 4D BIM not an assurance of good schedule quality
  8. 8. 090513-4D Scheduling in my Vista Page 8 of 13 Author: Rufran C. Frago, P. Eng., PMP, CCP, PMI-RMP 4D Scheduling in my Vista Switching/upgrading to 4D Scheduling from an existing tool such as Primavera does not necessarily mean that your projects can create better schedules or have better monitoring and control. While it offers an opportunity for good visuals, there will always be question of compliance with the project plan. Experience dictates that field construction always comes up with their own creative way of doing things. The frontlines take it upon themselves to change the plan and the schedule for expedience. If implemented, construction foremen will have to be deeply involved as well. It means they have to be trained so the knowledge and skills to translate accomplishments can be captured accurately and on time. The challenge is that field foremen might not be interested to learn. The saying “you cannot teach an old dog new trick” is an obstacle and a learning culture that has to be considered seriously. This is probably one of the aggravating factors as to why any project can fail full integration of the 3D model and the schedule (time element). 9. How much time will 3D + Time integration require? Tying your CPM schedules to the design models (or vice versa) might be too time consuming, requiring tremendous amount of information to be coordinated and aligned for the 3D tool to work in actual mega-projects applications (i.e. projects with capital cost ranging from say $500M up). Changes to the schedule occur on a daily basis and progress updated manually on a regular or periodic basis. The schedule changes daily, weekly or monthly and design is endlessly evolving. The only constant thing is change. As such, this tool that depends heavily on information integration of a 3D model + Time will have to cope with changes and the required alignment with the schedule components.
  9. 9. 090513-4D Scheduling in my Vista Page 9 of 13 Author: Rufran C. Frago, P. Eng., PMP, CCP, PMI-RMP 4D Scheduling in my Vista 10.Substantial increase in indirect cost is a possibility Between the engineers, planners, schedulers, coordinators and the foremen, your projects are bound to increase the cost of indirect. If your project is already facing difficulties at this time using the Primavera or any other scheduling tool as it is, do expect the possibility to have double challenges and double resources when 4D is brought on board. Unless a relatively simple, clear and understandable methodology of implementation is set in place, anyone who brings this new tool might face some tough time ahead just maintaining the tool. As the project becomes familiar with all its inner workings, then this cost will gradually taper off. 11.Are you the construction contractor or the client? A construction schedule is a detailed schedule down to level 4 or 5. Expect 4D to generate and tie into a Level 4 or to a Level 5 modularization or construction schedule. It is very clear that it is more a tool for the Construction Contractors and not the client. Therefore, I would suggest that if you are interested ask yourself first, what company you represent. Are you a client or a construction contractor? 12. 4D Scheduling is not a movie designed to entertain! The 3D element should come only after the time element (activities, durations and logics) had been justified. As rightfully admitted in an article by Olli Seppanen of Vico Software, “if this is not done, 4D has no substance but just another fiction movie. The
  10. 10. 090513-4D Scheduling in my Vista Page 10 of 13 Author: Rufran C. Frago, P. Eng., PMP, CCP, PMI-RMP 4D Scheduling in my Vista intelligence is what really matters in a true 4D schedule”. (Reference: Why a 4D Schedule Must Be More than a Movie) 13. Question on 4D’s compatibility to your project’s existing application Having somewhat limited experience with 4D Scheduling, I can only rely on what I’ve learned so far and the good experience of other scheduling professionals who have. The simulation of the planned construction process is the result of linking the 3D elements to the project schedule. Sadly, one of the struggles some of my colleagues experienced was the transfer and conversion of model information 3D to a Primavera schedule. The difficulty lies in creating a Primavera schedule using a file format that the 3D application such as Microstation can recognize. If this is a problem concerning a small size construction project such as theirs, linking 3D with a schedule can be discouraging. 14. Qualification of a 4D scheduler I was asking around in my present company who has some good experience with 4D BIM and found no one so far. It might be an indication that there is no awareness among professional planners and schedulers about it. Nobody knows how to develop a 4D schedule. Status quo is fine for many in the industry but for those who crave for something new and applicable, they will want to know more. The process will require a more detailed approach practically designed for construction. A scheduler must have excellent knowledge of 3D modelling. It means that a scheduler must know how to operate and handle 3D models. Someone with a Microstation and AutoCAD background will do well. Altering, itemizing and maintaining the models to be able to link them to the project schedule will be a regular exercise. With that in mind, it will not be easy to learn it. The reward is when upper management plays the generated model using Autovue or similar viewer that does not entail any considerable investment. I met recently with some representatives from Oracle for coffee and learned that P6 is probably the best application that works best with 4D. Although every time I search for 4D Scheduling in the net, the result was always pointing to Vicosoftware, I was informed that Synchro has already established a foothold with Oracle Primavera. So the question came up in one conversation which is best, train the design engineers to use Primavera or the present project schedulers to train using Microstation. What do you think?
  11. 11. 090513-4D Scheduling in my Vista Page 11 of 13 Author: Rufran C. Frago, P. Eng., PMP, CCP, PMI-RMP 4D Scheduling in my Vista 15. Conclusion/Recommendation 15.1. 4D is best for Construction Company (Construction Contractors) 15.2. The interested company will have to provide relatively lengthy and comprehensive training for would be 4D Schedulers. The training will touch both 3D Modeling and the Schedule to realize complete return of invested effort. 15.3. It is an awesome application if one knows the process and the tools involved. 15.4. 4D is not needed by the client company. The client company relies on the expertise of their contractors. However, the client should have enough knowledge on how the model is tied to the schedule, and be able to validate in the field what was shown in the graphics. Never rely on the simulated progress. 15.5. Always ask the supplier to test using the company’s existing infrastructure. 15.6. I suggest that self-performing clients use 4D on a gradual basis, starting with smaller and simple test projects. It is critical that the knowledge and skill gaps be addressed accordingly. 15.7. Minimal investment to test for a year is a good option. If satisfied, the step to acquiring the application can be finally decided. One small step at a time is the best approach. 15.8. Prudence is still the best policy before taking in a new tool.
  12. 12. 090513-4D Scheduling in my Vista Page 12 of 13 Author: Rufran C. Frago, P. Eng., PMP, CCP, PMI-RMP 4D Scheduling in my Vista Wikipedia4D BIM. (2010, January). Retrieved from Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4D_BIM Abhimanyu Basu, P. P. (2007 ). 4D Scheduling – A Case Study/PDF. Retrieved from AACE International: http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&ve d=0CDAQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.icoste.org%2FAACE2007%2520Papers%2F Nashville_ps12.pdf&ei=FiwsUtCuAcSEiALOx4DADQ&usg=AFQjCNHtvDo5xTWDgsvq g32yBeBTgskyuw Jim Jacobi, P. (2011, April). 4D BIM or Simulation-Based Modelling. Retrieved from www.structuremag.org: http://www.structuremag.org/article.aspx?articleID=1234 Olli Seppanen, V. P. (2009, September 09). Why a 4D Schedule Must Be More than a Movie. Retrieved from Vico Software.comArticles: http://www.vicosoftware.com/0/blogs/fit-and- finnish/tabid/51274/bid/10434/Why-a-4D-Schedule-Must-Be-More-than-a-Movie.aspx Spokesperson), F. w. (2012, October 9). 4D BIM Scheduling for Dummies-You Tube. Retrieved from www.youtube.com: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEoivAGQYJ8 Unknown Author, A. (2013, September 10). Lesson 3: Scheduling and 4D Simulation. Retrieved from Autodesk: http://bimcurriculum.autodesk.com/lesson/lesson-3-scheduling-and-4d- simulation Unknown Author, B. S. (2013, September). What does it take to become a 4D scheduler? . Retrieved from bimscheduler.com: http://bimscheduler.com/2011/02/24/what-does-it-take- to-become-a-4d-scheduler/ Unkown Author, V. (2013, September). Vico Location-based Management System (4d Scheduling). Retrieved from vicosoftware.com: http://www.vicosoftware.com/location-based- management-system/tabid/88213/Default.aspx Unkown, V. A. (2013, September 7). BIM for Dummies. Retrieved from www.vicosoftware.com: http://www.vicosoftware.com/vico-office-demos-bim-for- dummies/tabid/306193/Default.aspx?source=youtube Visosoftware, U. a. (2013, September). 4D Scheduling Services by VICOsoftware. Retrieved from vicosoftware.com: http://www.vicosoftware.com/4D-Scheduling- Services/tabid/79441/Default.aspx
  13. 13. 090513-4D Scheduling in my Vista Page 13 of 13 Author: Rufran C. Frago, P. Eng., PMP, CCP, PMI-RMP 4D Scheduling in my Vista 16. INDEX 3 3D CAD components · 4 3D model + Time · 8 4 4D BIM · 4 4D simulations · 4 4D was a failure · 5 A actual performance · 7 Autovue · 10 B BIM · 5 C cannot teach an old dog new trick · 8 central database · 6 commercialized construction · 5 CPM schedule · 7 D detailed schedule · 9 E Empire State Building · 5 I IT Support · 6 M management expectation · 5 Microstation · 10 O Oil Sand · 5 P Primavera · 4 Project Controls Governance · 6 S schedule quality · 7 self-performing clients · 11 sequential display · 4 SWOT · 7 Synchro · 10 T TABLE OF CONTENTS · 3 V visual presentation · 7

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