Construction safety risk library phase one outputs

Steven Naylor

HSE

Building information modelling is a process for managing information on a construction project across the project lifecycle. At the centre of the process is the Building Information Model (BIM), a detailed digital description of all aspects of the built asset (in 3d, 4d (incl. time) and even 5d (incl. costs)). Use of the model enables key decision-making across the life of the built asset to be optimised, resulting in a greater whole life value for the asset.  

If health and safety is to benefit from the greater use of building information modelling tools on construction projects then it is important that sources of useful intelligence and learning that designers and planners are able to use on how best to treat health and safety risks are easily integrated with existing building information modelling platforms.

Aims and objectives

The research being undertaken is using the text mining and natural language processing tools being developed as part of the Discovering Safety text mining project to extract relevant lessons learned from HSE’s archive of regulatory intelligence, accrued over the last 40 years from its regulation of the UK construction sector. This is being supplemented with industry expert opinion on the best approaches to treat risks during planning and design. The objective is to create a comprehensive, fully indexed library of health and safety risks knowledge pertaining to the diverse range of work activities undertaken on different construction projects. A key task in creating the library is linking specific health and safety risks to recognised industry good practice as to how best treat them, in part informed by recommended practice contained within formal HSE guidance material. In parallel with this, the research team is working with representatives from across the construction industry to develop software tools enabling the risks and guidance library created to be intelligently linked with the building information modelling platforms most commonly used by industry on projects.  

A key intention of the project is to create a prototype tool in the first year that will demonstrate how a health and safety risks knowledge library with intelligent search functionality can be created using HSE’s data archive and interfaced with standard building information modelling applications. 

Key findings

  • Value of creating a data trust for construction industry project data to support the sourcing of industry data as part of the project  

  • Value of developing a platform agnostic tool with the ability to plug in to multiple BIM platforms  

  • Need for a solution consistent with common data standards advocated in PAS1192/6, to enable BIM plug and design  

  • Value of extending thinking within PAS (Publicly Available Specification) to include a common domain ontology for construction health and safety knowledge  

  • Value of feeding in thinking around common data and knowledge standards to shape how future data is collected and managed by industry and H&S regulators  

  • Need to ensure future text mining work is better aligned with all of the above. 

Recommendations

  • Continue pilot work with 3Drepo, Atkins, look to widen out scope to include other areas of construction scope and activity  

  • Look to establish test beds for piloting outputs in UK (i3P) and internationally Nic Rigby (Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong), Chris Alderson (Construction H&S NZ)  

  • Continue discussions with McAlpine, Costain and ODI about establishing a construction industry data trust  

  • Continue discussions with McAlpine, Projecting Success, UCL consortium, explore opportunity to source funding from Transforming Construction call to support setting up of data trust and starting to develop tools to exploit it (DS current work can be used to get it up and running)