4D Building Information Modeling and Field Operations: An Exploratory Study

Britan Harris1 & Thais da C. L. Alves2

1Project Engineer, Balfour Beatty Construction and Graduate Student, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA, [email protected]
2Assistant Professor, J.R. Filanc Construction Eng. and Mgmt. Program, Dept. of Civil, Constr., and Env. Eng., San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA, [email protected]


The value generating aspects of BIM technology on the virtual design and coordination sectors of construction have been well documented. However, a more thorough understanding of BIM’s ability to assist in the sequencing and implementation of field operations is required in order to fully comprehend BIM’s effect on overall project productivity. For this paper, a case study of a 500,000 ft2 OSHPD hospital project in Southern California was performed in order to observe, identify, and analyze both the field operational activities which could potentially benefit from 4D BIM integration and the factors that could aid and/or deter successful 4D application in the field. Project data was aggregated over a three month period using a combination of observational studies and open ended interview questions. In order to analyze the data for interactions between field operational activities and 4D BIM applications, a relationship matrix was created. The resulting analysis confirmed that by adding transparency to production sequencing, visualizing trade and equipment movement, and understanding constraints in terms of the site and schedule, the use of 4D BIM could serve as a method through which increased value in field operational activities could be achieved.


Building Information Modeling, 4D, planning, field operations



Harris, B. & Alves, T. C. L. 2013. 4D Building Information Modeling and Field Operations: An Exploratory Study, 21th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , 811-820. doi.org/

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