”What you see is how you build”. This is the mantra of a think tank consisting of five of the largest construction companies in Europe, who have collaborated since 2008 on describing common requirements to new innovative ICT-tools on behalf of the European construction industry. The name of the think tank is 5D Initiative.

The vision is to develop tools – 5Di solutions – for the construction industry that integrate processes from early design to operation and maintenance, but also to develop the construction process towards complete integration and transparency. The goal: Eliminating waste and support informed decision making throughout the construction process.

Collaboration with IT suppliers

In later years, Ballast Nedam, Royal BAM, CCC, Max Bögl and Züblin/Strabag have intensified their collaboration with a handful of global software suppliers, including RIB.

The partnership provides both parties with the opportunity to help each other develop the best processes and tools for the future, so that the largest industrial sector in Europe also becomes one of the most modern sectors.

”We share a common objective with the leading construction software vendors - to revolutionize the construction industry via 5D modelling, visualisation and collaboration tools”, says Menno de Jonge of Ballast Nedam.

RIB, the sole software company for fully-integrated 5D solutions for digital construction around the globe, welcomes the collaboration. ”Our close collaboration with the 5D Initiative’s members, which belong to the leading construction companies throughout Europe, helps us as a software vendor a lot, to fulfil the market’s current requirements with our innovative 5D software iTWO”, says Dr. Hans-Peter Sanio of RIB.


5D Initiative is working on the development of more detailed and specific requirements to construction software and sharing those with RIB and the other technology partners: Autodesk, Bentley, CCT and Tekla. Focus areas include Change Management, Design to Fabrication and Model-based Estimation.

5D Initiative is even more interesting when seen in an Industry 4.0 perspective; the 4th industrial revolution that binds virtual and physical worlds together by means of e.g. IoT (Internet of Things), Big Data, automation and Integrated Engineering.

Industry 4.0 is a new agenda for construction, drawing on the knowledge and insights Big Data provides to process and production optimisation. Cyber-physical systems meet virtualisation, Smart Factories and real-time data analysis and decision making to enable strong customisation of products in highly flexible mass-production environments. Model-based data will link directly to production; the BIM model is only the beginning.

Why 5D?

5D Initiative describes the difference between 3D, 4D and 5D as follows:

3D – What you see is WHAT you build. A computer model of a building containing the location, geometry, property and attribute information of its building components (commonly referred to as Building Information Model).

4D: What you see is WHEN you build. A computer model that integrates information on building components with the respective start and finish times of their construction.

5D: What you see is HOW you build. A building information model including all process data (i.e. input/output data from processes like supply, progress, production, budget, cost, controlling, facility management, etc.)

Source: www.5d-initiative.eu