Construction risk knowledge management using BIM

Building Information Modelling (BIM) supports the digitisation of asset build projects and uses information relating to the asset of interest to build a three dimensional model with supporting intelligent, structured data attached.  

The primary objective of the use of the technology is to unlock more efficient methods of designing, creating and maintaining assets. BIM models combine graphic, physical, commercial, environmental and operational data in one 3D model, for all parties involved in a project to use.  

The wider benefits of this interoperability are the elimination of clashes in construction and installation schedules, less rework, minimisation of waste due to more accurate models, and evolving asset data for operations and maintenance.  

If health and safety is to benefit from the use of BIM technology on build projects then it is essential that the range of data needed to make the right decisions from a health and safety perspective is made readily available and is easily integrated within existing BIM usage.

Industry drivers

A number of representatives from the construction industry were consulted as part of developing the scope of this project. Much opinion was shared on the concept of “safe by design”, that is, the value of effective consideration of health and safety risks at the design stage of construction projects. The rationale behind “safe by design” is that it provides opportunities for risks to be mitigated through elimination, substitution or by engineering control at the design stages of a project rather than over reliance on administrative or end of pipe measures implemented once construction operations have actually started, which tend to be less effective options.

Construction 2

Construction 2

Aims and Objectives

At the centre of the work is the creation of a prototype health and safety risks knowledge library with intelligent search functionality from the diverse range of operational data pertaining to construction projects generated over the last 30 years from HSE’s regulatory activities. This is to be made available to industry to inform health and safety decisions on future construction projects. A key part of the work is to consider how the library might be used in conjunction with existing BIM usage on projects.

Over the past eighteen months, HSE’s BIM 4 Health and Safety Working Group has been working on a new British Standards Institution Publicly Available Specification (PAS 1192 Part 6“ Specification for collaborative sharing and use of structured health and safety information”, released earlier this year), to standardise the way in which health and safety data registers for construction are created and structured. The PAS 1192/6 document provides the framework around which the prototype health and safety risks knowledge library is being built.

Key benefits

Integrating the use of BIM technology with a formal consideration of key health and safety risks associated with the design of construction projects provides the focus of this project. This is perceived to offer a number of key industry benefits:

It would reduce reliance on often expensive expert opinion and knowledge on projects and enable the adoption of a more data driven approach when addressing key health and safety project challenges

It would enable project designers to visualise health and safety risks in new ways, making them instantly understood and giving visual reference to real circumstances

It would enable the health and safety risk landscape of a project to be relayed objectively and persuasively to clients

It offers the potential for designers to directly query specific elements of their designs and perhaps even for health and safety issues inherent in particular project designs to be auto-flagged

It would make it easier to measure and capture the quality of designs from a safety perspective and a potential mechanism to  feedback to designers intelligence on how their designs performed on site