4D Planning

Hi all,
My company are in the early stages of implementing 4D planning into the business. We are looking at Synchro as the preferred software to use. I wanted to ask you if there are other alternatives which you can recommend, preferably open source.



  • @CarpgianeDS this is a great question, and the unfortunate answer is that I'm not aware of any, and nobody seems to have added anything to the AEC software directory on the wiki. If you want to simply visualise construction tasks without schedule linking as a one-off, then Blender is more than capable if not overqualified for the job. However, when it comes to gantt-chart model linking, I'm not aware of anything. Yet.

    Maybe, you can try your luck a little with OpenProject -as they support project schedules and support BIM, but I don't know if they can link the two meaningfully, generate timelines, visualise sequences, or do the partial model editing (slab splitting, for example) and so on that Synchro can.

    It has been on the roadmap for a little while to start tackling these entities in the BlenderBIM Add-on, as well as been proposed in the Epic Games Megagrant application. I have also been contacted by a firm who does sequencing who wanted to write some code for it, but although the offer was good, no code came out of it.

    So, if nothing else... watch this space?

  • edited February 17

    There are now experimental scripts that are able to convert a P6 (Oracle Primavera) XML into an IFC Task tree with some basic metadata like task schedule start / finish times, whether it is a milestone, as well as the name of task. Once in IFC, there is another experimental script which allows you to generate a gantt chart from the IFC data. There is now a super barebones "sequence" module in the BlenderBIM Add-on which will display all the tasks in the file which you can filter. Relevant commits:

    The minimum viable product is a few more features like assigning, assigning, and viewing model element relationships to tasks, and then generating a construction sequence animation from the tasks and workplan. It's relatively straightforward, I believe.

    Here is a highly censored screenshot of a gantt chart generated from IFC with these experimental scripts:

  • @Moult , would it be possible to read the tasks from the ifc file on import and group collections with the linked elements? and what would the precedence calls look like?

  • @c4rlosdias the BlenderBIM Add-on now supporting reading tasks from the IFC file on import. The UI is very basic for now and doesn't even support things like work plans yet, but at least is shows whether tasks exists and gives a list of them.

    When you say "group collections with the linked elements" are you asking if it is possible to link model elements to the schedule? If so, the answer is not yet. It is fairly trivial to implement, just takes time :)

    For precedence calls, I assume you're referring to sequences, i.e. the dependencies that say that the slab must be built before the walls. This is not currently handled. Again, fairly trivial (P6 exposes this in an XML tag called "Relationship" and IFC uses "IfcRelSequence"), but currently swamped with work.

  • Thank's @Moult , Sorry for my bad english....

  • A heads up that Jon Mirtschin has very helpfully provided an IFC2X3 example from his implementation (back in 2013!) - this will be a great resource to make sure that we are all implementing it correctly. I haven't had the chance to look through it yet, but thought I'd share it in case somebody is curious.

    Link here: https://forums.buildingsmart.org/t/logistic-phases-and-time-in-ifc-definitions/2432/16?u=moult

  • Sounds promising! I've had a play around with the new phasing feature in Twinmotion. I think that something similar in Blender Bim or Blender as a separate add on would be quite useful. To begin with it could be used solely as a high level visualisation tool similar to Twinmotion, for tender submissions, concepts etc. and then eventually be developed into something more robust and intuitive.

  • edited February 22

    Hello everyone,
    I'm starting here and I hope to be able to contribute.

    I made a new post on the FreeCAD forum about the continuity of this WorkBench. Please, I would like to know your opinion. Thanks

  • @walpa the approach taken here is agnostic to Blender. Therefore, the P6 XML -> IFC conversion code can be reused between the BlenderBIM Add-on and FreeCAD. Similarly, the Gantt chart generation code can also be reused between the BlenderBIM Add-on and FreeCAD. In fact, the code does almost nothing - it reuses the jsgantt-improved web-based gantt chat project's code, and just formats the data in the JSON structure that it expects. So long as you're working with IFC, we can share code.

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