A construction project has numerous phases, including summary and feasibility studies, engineering design, bidding, construction, commissioning, and operation and maintenance. At each of these phases, the project schedules and 3D models have various levels of development (LODs), ranging from summarized to detailed models. The quality and purpose of 4D simulation is dependent on these LODs, and they impact the development of 4D simulation. As an example, rehabilitation projects require specifics in 4D simulation related to the operational constraints considering the need for the continuity of service of the facility. With these considerations, the 4D simulation can consider multiple LODs to understand the essential concerns of a rehabilitation plan. This paper addresses two objectives: providing guidelines for the definitions of 4D LODs, which are based on needs and project progress; and, introducing a formal method for developing 4D simulation of major capital construction projects in the context of hydropower business considering different time horizons. Several case studies are used to demonstrate how the proposed guideline and 4D simulation method can provide a useful reference for project personnel and help reduce project costs.
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