This week we are writing about the benefits of Building Information Modelling and its affect it has on site safety. Although safety records generally are getting better, much more can still be done to reduce injuries, risks, falls and fatalities on site. Here we have a brief look at BIM and its positive effects its had on projects even before site personnel have reached the site.
BIM makes 3D modeling feel like it last century.
Building Information Management offers 4D digital visualization of the asset and the hazards involved. What this means is that the software takes the asset design plan and pairs it with scheduling to show exactly how the project will appear and what hazards may be involved at any point in time.
Being able to visualize the workspace provides the most detailed “pre-construction” look of the project and lets everyone see exactly what will be going on, making it easier to eliminate safety hazards and to plan an efficient workflow.
BIM is a process that combines CAD technology with sophisticated digital representations of building plans and blueprints. This 3D representation is then combined with a 4th dimension – time – to let designers, engineers, and builders put together an efficient construction schedule while avoiding or mitigating safety issues and overscheduling. Some consider a 5th dimension, cost, but when BIM is used correctly, the cost will decrease anyway.
If you want the Associated General Contractors of America definition, here it is:
BIM: an object-oriented building development tool that utilizes 5-D modeling concepts, information technology and software interoperability to design, construct and operate a building project, as well as communicate its details.
Through Visual Representation
It isn’t just the designer and builder who benefit from the ability to visualize the building in various stages of completion. Workers who can look at the model on a daily basis find that it helps them plan their work processes better by giving them a better feel for what has already been done, the number of workers expected in a single area, and where potential hazards lie.
New workers find the model an excellent source for getting oriented and seeing the working conditions before they enter the site. They can also find out about processes for that specific site more quickly and clearly.
Through Better Task Preparation
BIM has the capability to focus down to the task level where it is easier for workers to identify risks and make plans for eliminating or mitigating the risk while maintaining an efficient workflow. Task processes can be changed to correlate better with the actual events onsite.
Through Identification of Potential Hazards
4D representations can show traffic flow, erection sequence, and other construction activities. Whenever the schedule changes, new information becomes available on how the changes impact worker safety and planning.
While an experienced construction manager may be able to determine some of this information, nothing beats seeing it for yourself so you can plan your own task processes and keep up to date. Improved communications generally mean improved safety.
Using BIM encourages prefabrication, meaning many activities will take place in a manufacturing environment where the same work is repeated every day in a well-planned and tested process. Pre-manufacturing eliminates those same processes from the jobsite. In doing this the risks are reduced on site as well as a saving in material waste.
Fewer trips up and down ladders, less work at height, and shorter periods of working in the heat are further advantages of prefabrication. There is also less need for onsite welding and cutting, which come with their own hazards of burns, cuts, and ergonomically poor conditions. In addition, fewer pieces of large equipment and machinery are required onsite, eliminating the possibility of accidents related to them.
Modelling software does more than represent the structure and worksite. It provides a method of assigning ownership of safety practices and enforcement on a daily or hourly basis, or by task. Without ownership, there is nobody to take responsibility for handling safety issues, whether in enforcing safe practices or in managing any injuries.
Outside the hazards of erecting the structure itself, BIM can help with other areas of the site as well.
BIM makes it easier to find and count floor penetrations, edges requiring fall protection, and other requirements so the appropriate amount of equipment and materials can be ordered and onsite at the right time.
BIM is the logical extension of 2D plans, technology, and safety practices. Years of construction have helped the industry identify hazards. Technology has given you a way to see them in detail and in three dimensions. Safety issues have higher visibility and can be planned for before you even break ground.
Steve Wright works for our friends at Whirlwind Steel Buildings, a manufacturer of pre-engineered steel buildings and components. Whirlwind Steel buildings are manufactured and designed to meet the highest quality standards. To learn more, visit – whirlwindsteel.com
The past 18 months has been a very busy period, coinciding with the forming of Struccie Design. Due to other commitments away from Struccie, the blog and also the website in general has been near enough dormant however I hope for this to change from here on in.
To get the website up and running its taken a lot of effort but were not quite there yet. We are giving the website a refresh along with a new logo (we hope you’ll like it). The content will also change. We will be giving our thoughts and opinions on BIM Implementation and a new section showcasing our projects. We will be dropping our Planning Application service, this is purely so we can focus more on larger projects. The pages highlighting BIM will have additional information, some links to useful sites and possible videos to give a greater understanding of what we can offer as Design House.
From a Designers point of view modelling is the fun part of the job. Feeding the design into the model and watching it grow. On the revised website we hope to showcase some of our skills by showing you on the blog and also our projects page what we are working on – past and present.
For example the Steel Industrial Stairs taken from a model on a previous project one of our designers worked on. More information on materials and ways of Construction, plus building regulations and adhering to safety will also be added to the website as time goes by. In doing this we hope that we offer a different view to the work that is carried out by many each day in different Consultancies/Architectural Practices around the World. So as much as our website is a focal point for current and future clients we also hope our new website will be somewhere that like minded professionals like to visit for a different twist on all things old and new.
Struccie Design has started to grow but our Business model hasn’t changed. Our aim for 2016 is to expand our client base and create steady growth through into 2017, while focusing on what we do best, providing sound and solid design support while offering a personal service. If we can help you with your current or future Projects drop us a line.
Over the past twelve months Ireland has seen steady growth in the Construction Industry, Dublin in particular but also Cork is starting to see more investment in the Commercial and retail sectors (just look up and see the cranes) while in the UK, London and the South East has seen heavy investment across the board. On a larger scale the UK Government are keen to see the approval of GDF commit to the construction of Power Stations up and down the UK, with such investment you would like to think this will benefit all.
Thanks for checking in with us, we hope to be building our blog and adding more content a lot more than we have been able too in 2016. So keep an eye out for the revised website and Company Logo and new pages, let us know what you think!
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