Opinion

Safety in Construction: What can openBIM Bring? pt 2

 

From BIM Journal. Click Here to Read Issue 1

Continuing from pt 1...

David Cant, a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner has detailed a number of health and safety benefits when implementing BIM in the process. Understandably, he concurs with others that it can help mitigate risk in planning by simulating solutions earlier in the process. He noted how incorporation of health and safety regulations into BIM could streamline the design process by instantly flagging any complications to architects and engineers, saving time and money[46].

Admittedly, there is an element of human consideration in the process but it is estimated that around 30% of regulations could be incorporated into BIM software right now. Indeed, BIM objects, such as those in the National BIM Library, provide the opportunity to include important COSHH data and hazards, for example. Furthermore, openBIM’s potential to offer more exact searches of online products, with data delivered directly into the BIM, opens more potential advantages both prior to and during construction.

Cant also argues that because most accidents are caused by human error, the more we can plan, prepare and ultimately automate the process, the safer construction sites will be. This planning will also enable better communication by aiding toolbox talks and pre-construction safety briefings too.

We’ve also seen a number of trial projects use data taken directly from BIM to display up-to-date health and safety information indicating potential hazards on LCD screens on site. This could be more readily available to contractors through openBIM.

Because health and safety must be considered from the earliest design stage through to handover and beyond, the openBIM community becomes increasingly vital. That is because it welcomes all software vendors, AEC practices (designers, engineers, constructors) and building owners, meaning that risk management is integrated from cradle to grave. It also assists by providing enduring project data for use throughout the asset’s entire life.

openBIM avoids multiple input of the same data and potential errors, but brings many wider advantages for better integration of BIM within the health and safety sector.

As advocate Stefan Mordue told UK Construction Media, BIM is a “really powerful weapon in the arsenal of the building owner,” and can therefore reinforce health and safety protocol and standards. “Throughout the process you are getting this digital creation as a by-product but that digital model has the power to become the basis of many things going forward. It can help inform training or simulation and, post construction, can be used to plan or execute safe methods of operation and maintenance.”[47]

In light of the recent introduction of CDM 2015, I say recent, the digital construction environment must embrace health and safety within its make-up. PAS1192:6 should also help when it comes to industry steer.

Through the use of openBIM a greater spectrum of the supply chain will get increased access to safer working practices however. Ultimately promoting collaboration, cooperation and coordination, aiding forward planning, increasing efficiency, saving costs, and reducing bureaucracy and paperwork overall.

Which would be warmly welcomed from us all.

Read both parts (and more) in BIM Journal