The construction industry as a whole is evolving faster than ever. However, with design and building progress come new job site health and safety challenges.
According to one case study conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics: “In 2020, 4,764 workers in the United States suffered fatal work injuries. Over that period, the private construction industry accounted for 1,008 deaths, or 21.2 percent of total deaths.” Clearly, construction sites can be dangerous places to work.
If these statistics seem shocking to you, you certainly are not alone. Motivated experts in the AEC field have taken note of the high rate of on-site incidents and are working hard to reevaluate workplace safety and create state-of-the-art ways to reduce hazards with the help of BIM technology.
The Role of BIM Technology In Enhancing Construction Safety
Every day, suppliers of BIM software like Autodesk are developing cutting-edge features that drive the AEC field into the future. As these features are released, project planners and engineers are discovering new ways to implement them into their workflow, especially when analyzing construction safety and risk mitigation.
In recent years, BIM has truly made leaps and bounds in terms of practicality. What was once simply a 3D visualization tool used to create presentation-ready building models is now an essential component of every stage of the design process, including construction planning and risk mitigation.
Take Revit’s clash detection system, for example. Site engineers can utilize this feature to identify conflicts between building components in the design phase, as well as how heavy machinery like cranes and bulldozers will interact with the site once construction is underway.
The valuable insight that modern 3D modeling programs provide design teams has cemented BIM’s place in the safety management toolbox of nearly every large-scale architecture and engineering firm.
How BIM Technology Can Be Used to Create Detailed 3D Models of Construction Sites.
When planning a job site, having a birds-eye view can reveal challenges and hazards that would be difficult or sometimes even impossible to predict without using 3D models and live animations. Some of the practical uses for BIM technology when planning for a project include:
1. Projected Swing Paths of Cranes
An animated 3D model can give insight into the necessary swing radius that on-site cranes will need to prevent damage to equipment and neighboring structures.
2. Preliminary High-Risk Area Assessment
In many cases, establishing areas with the highest safety risks is a process that comes after grading and construction are underway. However, BIM modeling allows for preliminary planning before breaking ground.
3. Forecasted Fall Protection Strategies
Fall protection measures like basket lifts, scaffolding, anchor points, and safety netting make up a significant portion of the overall construction budget. Project Managers and safety officers can utilize 3D modeling to aid in their estimation process to avoid going over budget without compromising the safety of workers.
4. Access Road Planning
Determining the best location for access roads in densely populated metropolitan areas can be an absolute nightmare. In this process, BIM proves to be an invaluable tool for traffic engineers. Many modern modeling software programs incorporate AI (artificial intelligence) capabilities to calculate traffic flow and the effect that construction will have on the surrounding areas.
5. Optimizing Building Schedules
Creating an efficient building schedule requires carefully preparing and examining all project phases. BIM modeling allows the estimators and project managers to conduct side-by-side comparisons of different project phases. Frequently, it’s discovered that multiple tasks can be initiated at the same time.
6. Improved Drainage Plans
Proper drainage is crucial to all construction projects, large or small, and should not be overlooked. An unexpected storm and heavy rainfall can cause foundations to flood and graded soil to wash away in the early stages of the build. To address rainfall issues, 3D models can aid in the detection of low points in the site’s topography where water would pool. This, in turn, allows for the best placement of drainage pipes and channels.
7. Calculating The Effect On Surrounding Nature Areas
On job sites located close to natural features like forests, rivers, and lakes, consideration should also be given to the local plant and animal life. 3D BIM models can help calculate factors like construction runoff and fume drift to help project managers decide when and how to implement green building practices.
Facilitating Collaboration and Communication Among Project Stakeholders
Any experienced engineer, architect, builder, or investor will tell you that effective communication is essential to a successful build. However, on a project, every stakeholder has a different background, so it can be challenging to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding project details.
For example, an architect or a contractor will likely find it very easy to visualize concepts outlined in 2D plan sets, whereas clients and investors might have trouble seeing the final product. In this case, BIM technology can help to establish a common ground that everyone involved can understand. Every individual involved in a construction project can benefit from looking at a well-developed 3D model, facilitating better communication and comprehension of the project goals.
How BIM Technology Enables Real-Time Monitoring of Construction Sites
Beyond the creation of static models, BIM tools can integrate real-time data collected from on-site sensors to help project managers and engineers monitor site conditions and quickly respond to any issues or emergencies that may occur within an evolving construction project. Usable real-time data utilized by BIM techs includes:
- Stress on load-bearing structures
- Air and water flow rates
- Temperature data
- Plumb, level, and square detection
- Water detection in dry areas
BIM Technologies: Redefining Job Site Safety
For engineers and architects embracing the cutting-edge capabilities of BIM technologies, it’s not just about simply meeting OSHA standards; it’s about reshaping the way that we view construction safety. Real-time data collection, 3D site models, and clash detection systems are helping architecture, engineering, and construction firms all over the world progress toward the goal of fatality-free job sites.
If you are interested in BIM tools and how they can revolutionize your company’s safety planning process, feel free to contact our support team here at Microsol Resources or check out our library of available software.
INDUSTRIES: Architecture, Buildings, Construction, MEP Engineering, Structural Engineering