BAM Construction uses Asta Powerproject from Asta Development as its standard project management tool across all of the company’s projects, and for the past few years it has also been employing 4D modelling software in conjunction with Asta Powerproject. Combining 4D modelling — the synchronisation of CAD 3D and planning — with its project management software allows BAM to link a project’s graphical information with its scheduling information to provide a visual 4D platform for project stakeholders of a construction simulation. It also gives BAM the opportunity to explore various design and construction alternatives.
Working together – Asta Powerproject and 4D Modelling
It is now an expectation from many of the blue chip and high-end clients that the top contractors have 4D modelling capability, which is likely to progress towards being an industry standard, particularly as the software becomes more accessible and easier to use. Kyp Kyprianou is Regional Planner, South East, for BAM Construction Ltd. He explains how Asta Powerproject and 4D modelling together make a valuable communications tool for the company. “We use Asta Powerproject because it is our company standard planning software, and has been for many years. It is very flexible and can be used with other software too; it works particularly well with 4D software and is fully recognised throughout the UK construction industry. The 4D software we are using is xD Builder from D-Studio, which proved to be the most collaborative of all the providers we investigated. xD Builder has the ability to link the components of a 2D or 3D model with the relevant Asta Powerproject programme activities via a database. We combine the software to visualise our tender and contract planning stages and to identify the necessary build sequence in a virtual environment.”
The benefits at tender stage
BAM is applying 4D modelling to the vast majority of its tenders within the South East Region of the business. On awarded contracts, it plans to implement 4D as part of its progress monitoring and reporting in conjunction with Asta Powerproject. One of these projects is the new Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology building in Cambridge. It used 4D during the tender and negotiation stages to communicate its strategy and methodology to the client. Combined with its use of Asta Powerproject BAM could instill in the client the confidence that it could deliver the project to meet their expectations.
The benefits at construction phase
During the construction phase of a project, BAM is able to highlight where it should be compared with the plan. It can provide the client with images of this comparison in monthly reports, allowing a clear visual understanding of the project’s progress.
“It gives us a competitive edge by demonstrating to our clients that we understand the complexities of their projects and that our tender is based on reduced risk.” said Kyp. “Prices can be inaccurate when risks are not fully understood, which can lead to difficulties later on. Using a project management tool and a 4D software tool together means that our methods and programmes are more efficient, resulting in less waste which benefits our business and of course the environment generally. There are other efficiency gains, like green savings, for example in vehicle movements and timing of materials, so we can demonstrate a wider aspect of efficiency.”
4D modelling going forward
Companies have been using 4D for the past 10 years, but only recently has it gained favour as a construction project management tool. The main benefit is in the proposal stage to show the client the plan clearly in advance; but companies are also using 4D increasingly as a site management tool and the demand for contractors to have this ability is growing. “Going forward, companies with a flexible enough project management tool, like Asta Powerproject, will be able easily to combine the two pieces of software and really offer their customers the visualisation of progress on planned and actual phases that they demand. Companies using more complicated, technical tools will find the task more onerous, especially when it comes to software upgrades and the modifications needed to accommodate them,” said Kyp. “4D modelling is re-inventing the construction planning process and is creating new challenging possibilities.”