Dynamic programme association

Many teams use 4D simulation to show the intricate detail of a schedule in a more visual way, much easier for the whole team to understand and query than a Gantt chart. With the increasing complexity of projects, the tighter timelines and even the mix of cultures and training that make up our teams, this visual means of communication is increasingly important – after all, they always say, a picture speaks a thousand words.

However, robust, thought-through schedules are sometimes a challenge to come by, as are detailed, well-designed models that represent a buildable solution. So, associating the two can bring many issues to life and plays a key step in verifying the completeness of both.  

Traditionally, the association of model and schedule took place manually - associating objects in the model with activities in the schedule. Over time, the process has improved to allow multiple object associations to take place in one action, which has sped up the process. 

However, to create something that is dynamically linked, we need to be able to model and schedule the project independently but look to connect the two elements of the 4D by a common link so that if something changes in one, it updates the other and then recreates the 4D. 

In BIMXtra, we enable you to recreate areas/volumes in the model that replicate the way the schedule is described and then to use the technology to find all the relevant objects fitting the area in question and the content defined in the programme. This approach creates a ‘dynamic’ association which allows it to take place on the fly and, as a consequence, allows one schedule to be removed and another inserted.

Creating a dynamic association in this way ensures the existing model is not amended and, while this allows ease of model replacement and re-association, it also allows the user to perform the association on the live model, effectively date stamping each object in the associated BIMXtra database so that any other task linked to the objects can embrace the element of time derived from the 4D process.

This dynamic association, combined with the richness of information you can store in the BIMXtra database, allows you to extract a wide variety of other benefits e.g. work package programmes, material/resource analysis, scheduling of field inspections associated with the model objects, programme and resource comparisons.

Indeed, when more sophisticated data analytics come into play, having ‘time’ linked to objects can help to support a better understanding of the more complex issues that occur in the construction process.