In architecture, the key to performing well on a project is careful forethought as to what the delivery of the project involves. In order to do so, meticulous planning and attention to detail are needed and these two elements are aided by carefully planning out the exact elements that it will take to realise the building. Be it an apartment block, a university campus or something as simple as a warehouse, the conception to realisation process with any architectural structure can be aided with the help of 3D and 4D modelling.
So what exactly do the two entail, and how can they help in architecture and construction?
3D modelling has seen huge changes with the aid of computers (CAD, or Computer Aided Design), and is largely concerned with the aesthetics of a building; what size should the building be (height, width, depth etc), what ratios should the windows be to the size of the wall, what material should the building be built in, given the desired shape.
More traditional means of architectural model making such as contouring, painting and moulding have taken a backseat to their 3D CAD (computer aided design) counterparts. This involved the use of lasers to print a 3D version of designs so as to aid visualise the final result, which could be used to convince a client of a design’s viability. Many 3D architectural models are used for marketing purposes in order to persuade the client that it is an attractive venture to pursue.
Where 3D model making will give a more comprehensive overview of how an architectural structure will look when completed, 4D modelling will show how the project itself may progress and can highlight any difficulties and knock on effects that may result should it not go according to schedule.
The idea behind 4D modelling is that it can show project managers and stakeholders how the project will develop over the course of time. Computer software can be used to simulate any number of events such as late delivery of raw materials, projected costs implied by delays and more.
Defining the “critical path” with the help of 4D architectural modelling software, project managers and clients will be greater informed of the later implications for the delay of certain key or “milestone” events in the project.
4D modelling can be used to give more precise specifications to contractors and can help reduce the waste of time, money and material required to bring a project together.