It is the 5D-initiative’s vision to help our industry go beyond the boundaries of product oriented 3D- and building information models (BIM). The true benefit of computer aided solutions, in our opinion, lies not only in their usefulness to store product information, but predominantly in their capability to enable process integration and enrichment.

Decoupled process chains have been the result of years of specialisation and diversification within the construction industry. MEP, Façade and FFE are just a few examples of specialisation areas that have spilt-off into separate fragmented trades. That in itself is not a problem. It allows for more in-depth knowledge generation of subsystems of the construction process. The challenges arise, however, when this knowledge, generated by different trades, has to flow together to create one construction project. If process chains are completely decoupled, information does not easily flow from one chain to another. This consequently necessitates the recreation of information at additional costs. Using software solutions that are more product lifecycle and process orientated will help integrate processes and obviate the abovementioned additional costs. This way, whilst remaining capable of reaping the benefits of specialisation, the amenities of integration can also be earned.
Another great benefit of software solutions will be that they use the computational power of computers to enable a variety of analyses of the project prior to construction. This computational power is fast and cheap and will thus greatly facilitate analyses. It will furthermore allow for analyses, that with traditional methods, would either be too cumbersome to conduct, or simply too expensive. Two demarcations on this point have to be made however. One; computer programs are not intelligent, they cannot make engineering knowledge obsolete; hence they can and should merely support decision making. Two; analyses are only valid as long as they are based on the latest version of the project data; this means that integration of processes and data is a prerequisite given the mercurial nature of construction project data.

Summarising, we envision a solution where soft- and hardware help to integrate and enrich processes across trades, to eliminate process waste and to support informed decision making.