4D CAD Research

Introduction to 4D Research
by Martin Fischer

Traditional construction planning tools, such as bar charts and network diagrams, do not represent and communicate the spatial and temporal, or four-dimensional, aspects of construction schedules effectively. As a consequence, they do not allow project managers to create schedule alternatives rapidly to find the best way to build a particular design. Extending the traditional planning tools, visual 4D models combine 3D CAD models with construction activities to display the progression of construction over time.

My research team has tested the usefulness of visual 4D models in planning the construction of a hospital, a university building, a commercial building, a Frank Gehry project, and a theme park. These cases have shown that more project stakeholders can understand a construction schedule more quickly and completely with a 4D visualization than with the traditional construction management tools. However, 4D models are very time-consuming to generate manually and cannot currently support analysis programs. The difficulty and cost of creating and using such models is currently blocking their widespread adoption. My research team has been formalizing the construction knowledge necessary to build 4D models and has developed a methodology that guides project planners in generating 4D models from 3D product models. We have demonstrated that this formalized knowledge enables project managers to create and update realistic schedules rapidly and to integrate the temporal and spatial aspects of a schedule as intelligent 4D models. These intelligent 4D models support computer-based analysis of schedules with respect to cost, interference, safety, etc., and improve communication of design and schedule information.

We've organized this site into seven areas:

  1. Research Issues
    This page describes in detail the 4D research issues we are addressing and links to more extensive documents describing these issues.
  2. Research Projects
    This page describes the 4D research projects at the Center for Integrated Facility Engineering, Stanford University
  3. Papers & Talks
    This page highlights upcoming talks presented by members of our groups, the most recently published papers, and a full list of papers published by members of the 4D research group.
  4. 4D Examples & Applications
    This page provides links to 4D examples from various projects.
  5. People
    If you want to know more about the people in this group here's your chance.
  6. Class Links
    This page provide descriptions of classes related with 4D modeling offered by the Stanford CEM program.
  7. Related 4D Links
    This page provide links to commercial software vendors providing 4D tools, other research projects performing 4D work, and other research or industry links.

What You Will Need to View Examples

If you want to view the many examples documented on these pages the following plug-ins are required:

Macromedia's Shockwave

Quicktime or any movie viewer

VRML Viewer

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This page last modified Monday, 23-Oct-2006 03:14:06 PDT .