Benefits of 4D Planning – Interview with Jon Berkoe

head_blue_1In this interview with Jon Berkoe, Director of Global VDC Services at Synchro Software LTD, we discuss 4D construction project management and the benefits of using Syncro PRO’s CPM engine.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background and your company?

I currently work for Synchro Software Ltd as Director of Global Virtual Design & Construction Services. Synchro is a privately owned company that has for several years been singularly focused on providing construction planning software technology to industry clients around the globe.

Previous to joining Synchro, I worked for 25 years at Bechtel, most recently as a principal lead for the Corporate BIM organization, where I helped direct strategic planning and deployment of VDC across the company. Prior to this, I established and managed Bechtel’s Advanced Simulation group, providing technical analysis and visualization modeling to projects worldwide.

I received my Masters and Bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and am a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of California.

What is real-time 4D construction project management?

Real-time 4D construction project management, i.e., “4D Planning”, involves the integration of CAD with scheduling data to enable visual (model)-based planning for safe, predictable, and optimized construction execution, ideally in a recurring and collaborative manner from early in the project through to production in the field.

Who should  use this technology, how, and what are the benefits?

Synchro PRO is designed to meet the challenges, complexities, and planning requirements of construction, and thus enables the project planners and construction leads to cooperatively use the software to drive production of the best plan, based on model data received from the design/engineering team. This effort is supported through its visual environment by managers, engineers, sub-contractors, and clients to enable validation (their stamp of approval.

The benefits are remarkable. Real-time graphics simulations brings revolutionary improvement to traditional Gantt chart planning by simulating the entire project schedule on your computer before you ever break ground. Now the planner and the entire delivery team can see and understand the sequence of activities in real time. Concurrent activities are easily identified and spatially coordinated, site layout can be optimized, and safety planning can be improved dramatically.

How does your product, Synchro PRO, work with other design and management applications?

Synchro PRO seamlessly imports and synchronizes to-and-from industry standard planning/scheduling software such as Oracle Primavera, Microsoft Project, Microsoft Excel, PMA Netpoint, Asta Powerproject, as well as and over 60 CAD file formats, and IFC. Plug-ins for Revit and Microstation enable even faster interoperability from those programs. Once imported, all 3D files can be synchronized when new models become available. When updates are synchronized, Synchro PRO will maintain all links between objects and tasks in the Gantt Chart, which is a huge attribute and advantage of the software.

How can our readers learn more about 4D and Synchro PRO?

The Synchro website is, and it includes links to a variety of youtube videos demonstrating customer success stories, and examples of software functionalities. The website page containing several real world case studies I think is particularly compelling.

We are currently expanding our website and our business to include a world-class VDC (Virtual Design & Construction) Services and Production team, which will provide support to our key clients in a variety of high value offerings.

We will be sponsoring our annual Synchro Conference directly before the Construction CPM Conference coming up in January in San Diego. The Synchro conference is free to attend and includes a fantastic agenda with speakers from industry and academia. Everyone is invited.

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