4D simulation is commonly used in building construction projects as part of Building Information Modeling (BIM) processes. 4D simulation is generated by linking a project 3D model with the Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM) schedule. The PDM is an accepted standard in the construction industry and a recognized method in courts in case of delay claims. A construction project progresses through different phases. At each of these phases, the project schedules and 3D models have various levels of development (LOD’s) ranging from summarized to detailed models. The quality and purpose of 4D simulation is dependent on these LOD’s and they impact the development of 4D simulation. The 4D simulation can consider multiple LOD’s to grasp essential concerns of a rehabilitation plan. Distinctively, 4D simulation is becoming more prevalent in the construction industry to, among other benefits, decrease productivity losses and delay claims. It can further be used to help prevent the numerous and severe accidents of the construction industry with the consideration of nine dominant critical risks that have been identified in the construction phase for the hydroelectric industry. In delay claims, it can be used for the visualization of the critical path to identify the cause-effect relationships and the responsible entity in the context of claims avoidance or claims resolution. However, 4D simulation is still not frequently used in courtrooms because it is considered costly, complex and risky. The experience in litigation systems reveals that many expert witnesses at present are not familiar with 4D simulation and are reserved about using technology. Visualizing and analyzing the specifics of delay claims in relation to effects-causes, and assigning responsibility are a challenge for attorneys, jurists and judges. 4D simulation can be considered as a part of a claim management system for representing the responsibility and impact, and can be used as the main scheduling method of claims resolution. Building Information Modeling (BIM), 4D simulation, delay effects and causes (DEC), and claims are knowledge domains with active research in the construction industry, which are individually described in the literature using taxonomies and ontologies. However, there is a gap in integrating these ontologies in a more formal and overarching ontology-based approach to grasp essential concepts such as liability, causality and quantum in a delay claim using 4D simulation.
This thesis explores methodologies with different objectives: (1) providing a guideline about 4D-LOD’s definitions that are based on needs and project progress, (2) introducing a formal method for developing 4D simulation of major capital construction projects in the context of hydropower business considering different time horizons, (3) using 4D simulation for the visual comparison of float values when analyzing shifts in the critical path caused by delays. The findings are provided using a specific delay claim analysis method (i.e. Time Impact Analysis) to model a hydropower workshop inspired by the industry context, (4) to discuss the efficiency and value of 4D simulation in construction claims as a tool for supporting legal arguments, stakeholder’s viewpoints and interrogatory considerations. In delay claims, conventional methods, tools and 4D simulation concepts were used, (5) to develop a 4D simulation technique to minimize potential accidents at different phases of a project considering different 4D levels of development (4D-LOD). This thesis proposes a new method for using 4D simulation for visual analytics of delay claims based on an integrated ontology (called Claim4D-Onto), which includes a taxonomy of the quantum, causality, and assigned responsibility. This method can provide a promising multidisciplinary tool for quicker and fair settlement of construction delay claims by facilitating hearing procedures and catalyzing pre-trial negotiations.
Several case studies are used in this thesis to demonstrate how the proposed guideline and 4D simulation method can provide a handy reference for the project personnel and helps reducing the project cost. 4D simulation has evolved to be a reliable method for delay claim analysis. The case study presented considered the appropriate Level of Development (LOD) for claims: summary for the full scope and detailed for event specific information. One of these case studies was presented to seven lawyers. A survey extended with semi-structured interviews was sent to 14 additional external construction litigation lawyers. The results show the advantages and conditions of using 4D simulation for different contractual dispute resolution situations considered in construction claims for avoidance, resolution and litigation. The 4D simulation is developed based on Building Information Modelling (BIM) that can be binding or non-binding. In the latter case, it can be developed to strengthen the position of one party’s argument and visualize multiple scenarios (as-built, as-planned, claim events). Other results considering the rules of law show a list of influence factors with 4D simulation in delay claims, types of evidence and limitations, such as suitable formats and courts for 4D simulations. Further, 4D simulation is used to visualize construction operations at low and then high 4D-LOD. As a predictive tool, 4D simulation scenarios can be evaluated in relation to the number of risky activities considering their periods and zones, which can be prioritized and visualized. A case study is used to demonstrate the benefits of the proposed method for using 4D simulation for visual analytics of delay claims based on Claim4D-Onto. Case studies are presented to support the method involving subprojects of powerhouses.