A large number of construction companies are incorporating BIM into their existing workflows to gain an edge in an increasingly competitive market. Based on the SmartMarket report focused on the business value of BIM in North America, “industry adoption has surged from 28% in 2007, 49% in 2009 and 71% in 2012. Contractors’ BIM adoption of 74% surpasses the formerly dominant architects who are now at 70%.” However, are we really using BIM to its fullest potential?
Safety is usually forgotten in the implementation of BIM
Most companies utilize BIM for preconstruction and construction workflows involving bid management, estimating, project control and interoperability of design and construction. Yet, a vast majority of them are not connecting this valuable data to other capabilities of BIM like safety. While BIM is largely used to extract and exchange construction data, it is also a great tool to connect and automate other processes in the construction life cycle. The benefit of using BIM in safety becomes obvious when we know that current industry practices rely heavily on the experience and judgment of the safety planners using 2D drawings. With the new advancements in 3D and 4D BIM tools and spatial computational methods, it’s finally time to move on from manual safety processes and trust new technologies. The implementation of safety in BIM is possible in these two phases:
- Live safety tracking: BIM has the ability to host all of the live data for tracking objects, crews, and construction processes. Various data sets like the amount of dust in the construction workspace, congestions of workers in hazardous areas, the path for workers and equipment on the job site, the area occupied by workers, equipment, and materials, the amount of noises in certain areas of the construction site and so on can be captured using the state-of-the-art technologies such as sensors and tags. This information then can be used as basis to monitor safety models in BIM.
- Building Safety Models: After capturing the required information, this data can be used for generating safety plans in BIM design and authoring tools. Using the computational methods to generate safety algorithms, we can then create dynamic plans to control important safety aspects, like congestion of workers and equipment, preventing space conflicts, recognizing the hazardous areas on the site, etc. All of the related data can be carried in the designer models and the dynamic safety plans can be used for other projects in the future.
It seems that it’s time to move the AEC industry forward to incorporate safety applications. We should consider BIM applications as opportunity for improving the safety as well as productivity in construction projects.
Arian Saeedfar is a Customer Engineer at Assemble Systems, his focus is on providing top notch customer experience, training and support to the Assemble clients. Arian has a Bachelor of Architecture and a Master of Science degree in Construction Management from University of Houston. Arian loves to travel and research new and innovative technologies in his spare time.
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