Areas of application for 3D and 4D models on construction projects

Timo Hartmann, Ju Gao, Martin Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

186 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years more and more construction projects used three-dimensional/four-dimensional (3D/4D) models to support management tasks. However, project managers still struggle with evaluating how the 3D/4D model technology can be most efficiently applied on their specific project. One main reason for this struggle is that an account about how 3D/4D models have been used in the past is missing. This paper offers practitioners and researchers such an account of the application areas of 3D/4D model technologies including the purposes for which these technologies have been applied. The paper qualitatively aggregates the results of 26 case studies of 3D/4D model applications on construction projects to show researchers and practitioners how 3D/4D models have been applied to address project challenges. Using a “project challenge—3D/4D model application” matrix the paper explains each application area and describes why the application has been beneficial to the case study projects. The paper then analyzes the challenges that practitioners have faced with 3D/4D models on the test case projects. The main findings of this analysis are that practitioners on most of the test case projects have used the models for only one application area. The paper suggests that further research on the integration of 3D/4D model technologies into work and business processes of project teams is needed to address this opportunity for a more widespread use of 3D/4D models throughout the lifecycle of a project.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)776-785
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of construction engineering and management
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Technology assessment
  • Three-dimensional models
  • Decision making
  • Construction management
  • Computer aided design
  • Computer aided operations


Dive into the research topics of 'Areas of application for 3D and 4D models on construction projects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this