ITcon Vol. 13, pg. 620-636,

Measuring the effectiveness of 4D planning as a valuable communication tool

submitted:January 2008
revised:June 2008
published:December 2008
editor(s):Messner J
authors:Nashwan Dawood, Professor
Centre for Construction Innovation & Research, University of Teesside, UK

Sushant Sikka
Centre for Construction Innovation & Research, University of Teesside, UK
summary:Construction industry is very much information hungry and is often described as a slow adopter of new IT technologies. The importance of sharing and communicating information is becoming increasingly important through out the whole life of a construction project. Communication of information among different stakeholders is becoming critical as each stakeholder possess different set of skills. As a result, extraction, interpretation and communication of complex design information from drawings is a time consuming and difficult process. Advanced visualisation technologies, like 4D planning have tremendous potential to increase the communication efficiency and interpretation ability of the project team members. Visualisation is the process of displaying information which assists in understanding and evaluating information. However, its use as an effective communication tool is still limited and not fully explored. The main objective of this research is to measure the effectiveness of communicating construction information of product and processes using 4D models compare to traditional 2D (two-dimensional) CAD drawing approach. An experimental exercise was developed and experiments had been conducted among participants of different age groups (11 to above 22 years) and profiles. Participants had been divided in two groups (2D & 4D). 2D group used 2D CAD drawings describing the plans, elevation and sectional drawings, and a bar chart showing the construction schedule. While 4D group used a detailed 4D model of the house showing the construction sequence. Participants in both groups are required to construct the same physical model of the house using a Lego kit (423 pieces) in the allotted duration of two hours. Outcomes of the research has provided the quantitative evidence that 4D group has performed better than 2D group by constructing 7% faster the physical model, spent 22% less time in extracting information from building information and reconstructed 77% less Lego pieces compare to 2D group. Participants in 4D group were able to communicate and coordinate better as compared to participants in 2D group. It can be concluded from the experiments that percentage of physical model completed is directly related to the time spent in understanding the building information and number of times Lego pieces were reconstructed. It implies that the participants with good leadership style when coupled with 4D technology can understood the building information clearly and has constructed the physical model faster and thereby reducing the number of times rework required to construct the Lego pieces.
keywords:communication, 2D CAD, 4D planning, visualisation, Lego pieces
full text: (PDF file, 0.482 MB)
citation:Dawood N, Sikka S (2008). Measuring the effectiveness of 4D planning as a valuable communication tool, ITcon Vol. 13, Special issue Virtual and Augmented Reality in Design and Construction, pg. 620-636,