Antecedents and benefits of 3D and 4D modelling for construction planners

J. M. Khatib, N. Chileshe, S. Sloan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the antecedents and benefits of 3D and 4D modelling as a construction planning tool in the construction process, and examine why it is not being implemented throughout the construction industry. Design/methodology/approach: A survey of the literature, questionnaire survey, and a case study including interviews and observations were used to conduct the study. The findings are investigated using appropriate statistical tests. Findings: This study shows that using 4D modelling will benefit the industry once the lack of confidence amongst contractors, design teams and clients has been overcome. Eventually design teams will provide 3D models, but in the interim contractors wishing to receive the benefits of this technology are using modellers to produce these 3D models which planners can then manipulate to display their construction schedule as a 4D model. Attitude, lack of continuity of similar work, and lack of knowledge rather than cost of producing 4D models are identified as the main barriers impacting on the deployment of this technology among the construction planners. The preferred mode of communicating 3D and 4D awareness was via presentation, whereas the least ranked was through articles. Research limitations/implications: The cross-sectional data would make it difficult to generalise the findings. Practical implications: This technology will provide many benefits to the planning role, resulting in a much more thoroughly planned project which will in turn improve health and safety, shorten contract periods, improve quality and reduce costs. Furthermore, the results have provided a new series of issues and concepts that can help to develop the technology further. Originality/value: The paper explains how this technology can benefit the planning role. The deployment of the technology results in costs reduction during the construction period and impacts on the securing of future work. The paper stresses that the planner should be involved in the process of adding the 4D modelling to a 3D model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-172
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Engineering, Design and Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Computer aided design
  • Construction industry
  • Construction systems
  • Modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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