4D CAD models can be useful for communicating a construction sequence and schedule to the project team.

Steps to Develop a 4D Model in Navisworks with Timeliner:


  1. Develop a 3D model using a modeling software that is compatible with Navisworks (most applications can be used, but the structure of the file will differ based on the appication used). One of the best applications to use is Autodesk VIZ since it all for the hierarchical grouping of the elements so that they are easier to link. You can also use Revit and export the file to a Navisworks file (see the Revit to Navisworks page).
  2. Develop a CPM schedule for the project in a compatible application. MS Project 2003 will work well for the development of the schedule. You can also use Primavera Project Manager, but the linking of the database is a bit more challenging.
  3. Open Navisworks and then open your CAD or Navisworks file within Navisworks.
  4. Open the Navisworks Timeliner module by going to the 'Tools - Timeliner' menu item.
  5. Go to the 'Links' tab and then all a link to the schedule schedule file by right clicking on the links area. You will then need to right click again and select ‘Rebuild task hierarchy from link’ so that the activities in the scheduler are imported.
  6. Link the 3D objects to the activities by selecting the objects in the ‘Selection Tree’ window and then right clicking on the activity which you would like the object to be linked to and select ‘Attached selected’. This will link the schedule activity to the 3D objects.
  7. Add an activity type to each of the activities, e.g., construction, demolition, or temporary, or you can create your own activity types.
  8. After linking all the object, you can review the simulation in the ‘Simulate’ tab of Timeliner, and you can revise the playback settings in the ‘Configure’ tab of Timeliner.
  9. You can then export the 4D model as an .avi file which can be easily transmitted to others. To do this, go to ‘File – Export – Animation’ and select within the source pulldown the ‘Timeliner Simulation’. Note that the size of the window and the FPS (Frames per second) will have a significant impact on the size of the .avi file. You can usually set the FPS to 1 without significantly impacting the video quality. You can also select the output ‘Options’ button to compress the video upon export. The Techsmith codec is a good compression codec to use, but you may need to download and install it on your machine if it is not already installed. You can also export images if you just want an image file.