Stage 4: BIM for Health and Safety: Virtually Sorted
Too many people are killed and injured in our industry each year, despite the best efforts of all parties concerned. While many are utilizing BIM for efficiency gains and improved profit margins, perhaps fewer are considering health and safety.
This class highlights the wealth of opportunities that BIM provides to improve health and safety standards and effective coordination: the means to exploit the potential of BIM. Contemporary examples of innovative practice on a variety of projects will aid understanding and provide inspiration for the audience.
Even in times of economic downturn, construction is still one of the largest industry sectors in the UK. It is also one of the most dangerous and hazardous. Publications such as the Eagan report have pushed for a 20 per cent reduction in reportable accidents, but despite the rate of injuries over the last 20 years being significantly reduced, construction remains a high-risk industry in which to work.
The incorporation of health and safety into BIM, is, as modern parlance would have it, a ‘no brainer’
Although it is not new, BIM has seen a huge uptake in interest in recent years. This is partly as a result of Government support, but mainly due to great leaps in technology. Tiny differences in input can result in overwhelming differences in outcome; this is especially true of health and safety. As we stand at the verge of a new digital era we must aspire to make better and safer decisions through innovative and collaborative working enabled by Building Information Modelling. However, the basic principle is simple. BIM is about gathering, using, interpreting and transmitting information.
Is it such a departure, therefore, to consider how health and safety information might be included in a BIM? Is this not a massive opportunity for those of us working in construction to embrace this technology and its development, together with the increased efficiency and discipline that it brings? The model environment essentially becomes a backdrop for a zero harm culture.
The commercial advantages are fairly obvious, but the potential benefits in improved health by reducing accidents and deaths are so great as to be almost unquantifiable.
As the industry begins to see how these two topics can and should intersect, this class provides context and practical advice by exploring how it will shape the health and safety professional’s role, and what tools and processes will need to be embedded in future. The health and safety role is evolving towards collaboration, structured data and sharing of information as BIM – the incarnation of these sensibilities – increasingly underpins construction practice.
The incorporation of health and safety into BIM, is neither something which is the exclusive preserve of the ‘technology’ generation, nor something which is beyond us as health and safety professionals. It is, as modern parlance would have it, a ‘no brainer’.
- A new approach to safety innovation is needed. As the potential to influence and prevent construction injuries decreases exponentially as a project progresses, an effective form of safety-programme elements occurs at planning and preconstruction phases. How can BIM help this?
- What practical applications can be developed at each stage of the construction process to improve it health and safety, and how do the users of this information become part of the process and interact with the rest of the design team?
- In order to get the best from BIM for health and safety coordination, some important general questions need to be answered. What information can be gathered? How can it be translated into something useful, which adds value to the health and safety arena?
Stefan MordueArchitect & NBS Business Solutions Consultant – NBS