When to Apply 4D Planning to your Project

When is the best time to implement 4D planning on your project?

In an industry like construction where the productivity and schedule performance is the same as it was 30 years ago, we are often challenged to seek innovative solutions to increase and assure the performance of our next project. 4D planning is a visualisation tool which has many benefits, but when should you apply this to your project to maximise results?

4D Planning in Construction

The most successful disruptive technology in the last few years is the implementation of the BIM (Building Information Modelling). This is when different levels of information are in one virtual model. The combination of mature BIM design with Gantt charts has enabled 4D Planning to be implemented on projects. This allows complex project construction sequences to be easily understood and increases the accuracy of the schedules in relation to physical works. This allows for a significantly clearer vision of the dynamics of the emerging structure and its environment. To learn more about BIM and 4D planning in the construction industry, click here.

When to apply 4D Planning?

Although every phase of the project is suitable for the application of 4D planning, enhanced benefits can be seen when this is implemented in the early stages. As you will see in the examples below, whatever the project challenge may be, 4D planning in the construction industry is a fantastic method to provide a clear and comprehensive view of every aspect of the project quickly.

“By harnessing the 4D expertise early we were able to visually demonstrate to the Customer when, where and how we would execute their works, not only did this give all parties confidence in the delivery but also allowed focused conversations to happen on the art of the possible which simply would not have happened with a 2D schedule and floor plans.”

Sector Lead Aviation | Balfour Beatty Kilpatrick

Below are some examples of 4D planning use at different stages in a project

1. Tender Phase

LogiKal supported a contractor with the tender of an airport in London. By using 4D planning, the contractor was able to demonstrate to the client their process maturity and ability to handle such a complex project. By showcasing their ability and developing the installation sequence of an extremely complex project, the contractor was awarded the tender and is successfully using 4D planning on a daily basis.

2. Critical Areas

In times when a Gantt chart is not sufficient enough to demonstrate how a complex structure will be built, 4D planning is an excellent solution.  It eases communication by animating every step of the schedule and demonstrating the necessary resources to accomplish a complicated or critical phase of the project. For example, construction and transportation of a runway sub-station in a live airport.

3. By Discipline/ Subcontractor

By applying filters to the 4D plan, you can create a unique view of each project discipline. This means every stakeholder can have a view of their own construction sequences, priority areas and challenges. The combination of the different discipline view can demonstrate possible clashes between planned activities of different contractors. For example, two different subcontractors plan to work on a place with size limitations.

4. Entire Programme

Using 4D planning from the tender to the handover can be an essential tool in increasing a project’s performance accuracy. By reducing the communication gap between what is planned and what is communicated to the site engineers’ teams significantly improves coordination. The application of 4D to the whole project cycle will guarantee the integration of design, planning and project controls.


In order to address issues of poor planning and non-realistic project durations in the construction industry, 4D planning is a logical tool to use on projects. The implementation of 4D planning can benefit every project stage by providing all stakeholders with full visibility of each programme sequence and the challenges that must be addressed. Combining BIM models with the project plan in no longer a trend. It is a reality that is already delivering benefits to projects embracing it.

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