Zoom on the 4DCollab (Usage and interaction of synchronous 4D simulation for collaborative decision support in Architecture, Engineering and Construction) project's background:
3D semantics modeling through business-oriented computer-aided design (CAD) tools facilitates the achievement of design tasks in Architecture and Construction Engineering (AEC). Practices and usages of Building Information Modelling (BIM) allow an enrichment of 3D semantic models with information useful for implementation, evaluation and design and construction processes.
The use of 4D modeling (i.e. 3D + time), integrating 3D modeling semantic phases and temporal enrichment, simulates the stages of construction of a building by merging construction tasks of building elements with their 3D visualization. However, the construction industry has not really integrated all these new practices into its work processes. It is recognized by the scientific community that the usage of 4D technologies provides support to decision-making during the preconstruction phase and in construction monitoring. However this technology is little known.
Many research papers assert that 4D simulation improves the quality of collaborations between actors before and during the construction phase. But this is demonstrated by few empirical analyses. Moreover, collaboration is difficult when the 4D simulation is used by a group of actors using laptops: the screens are small, the type of interactions keyboard / mouse with 4D models are delicates in synchronous collaborative sessions.
The adding value to business practices provided by the integration of 4D modeling (3D and time) to establish the schedule of construction tasks needs to be further demonstrated.