Beyond the third dimension of BIM: A systematic review of literature and assessment of professional views

Rabia Charef, Hafiz Alaka, Stephen Emmitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Citations (SciVal)
315 Downloads (Pure)


Across the world, the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and the three-dimensional (3D) model in projects are increasingly frequent for supporting design tasks. The digital data embodied in the BIM model is shared between the project stakeholders from the various disciplines. After giving an overview of the BIM 3D Model data used for planning (4D) and costing (5D), the study assesses the level of clarity or confusion on what the numbers of dimension refer to after the 5th dimension. A systematic review of the different BIM dimensions was conducted associated with an online questionnaire sent to various Architecture, Engineering and Construction stakeholders across Europe. The online questionnaire survey was limited to the 28 European Union (EU) countries. Each of the 28 EU countries was represented by at least one respondent. The research identified 52 papers considering BIM 4D Model, 15 considering 5D modelling, 6 considering the 6D Model and 2 considering the 7D. It was also identified a confusion between academics and practitioners for the 6D and 7D BIM dimensions. In fact, 86% of the professionals, actually using 6D, allocate Sustainability to 6D. Whereas 85% of the professionals using 7D allocate it to Facility Management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-257
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
Early online date4 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


  • 4D
  • 5D
  • 6D
  • 7D
  • Building Information Modelling (BIM)
  • Dimension
  • Practitioners

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Mechanics of Materials


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