Work Health and Safety Management using Building Information Modelling (BIM)

This research seeks to ultimately contribute to safer construction and infrastructure projects. The research will contribute to the ability of government to equitably and precisely assess a tenderer’s capability to meet the elevated WHS standards envisioned to be set by a BIM-informed WHS management framework.

Alternatively, in the future one would anticipate that government will be able to adjust contract prices with evidence from the reduced cost of incidents and additional costs to contractors associated with development of the required BIM skills and capabilities as lessons are learned and the market matures.

Project Title: Work Health and Safety Management using Building Information Modelling

Duration of project: Jan 2020 – Oct 2021

Funding body: SafeWork NSW, Department of Customer Service, NSW Government.

Objectives:

  • Phase 1 Objective 1: Solutions for Integration of WHS in BIM-enabled project planning, design and delivery
  • Phase 2 Objective2: Evaluation of WHS aspects in BIM-enabled project proposals, as part of a procurement process
  • Phase 3 Objective 3: Evaluation of the proposed approach for its adoption
  • Phase 4 Objective 4: Knowledge Transfer and Information Dissemination

Computer modelling to help improve work health and safety: How do we get there?

Western Sydney University’s School of Built Environment and Torrens University Australia have partnered with the NSW Government’s Centre for Work Health and Safety (WHS) on a co-designed research project aimed at examining the best practice and implications of using Building Information Modelling (BIM) in WHS management.

“BIM is currently being used around the world to not only build a digital model of the building but to also assist in reducing WHS risks on site. The project draws on international experience and expertise to help us understand its benefits to the NSW construction industry”, said Skye Buatava, Centre for WHS Director.

BIM, a multi-dimensional digital information model-based process, maps the physical and functional characteristics of a structure.  It has emerged over the last decade as a useful tool to aid decision-making in building and infrastructure project planning, design, construction and management.

Although BIM has been around for a while there are varying levels of industry adoption. The integration of WHS management into BIM in Australia is negligible which creates an opportunity to enhance a readily available technology with WHS management functionality, creating safer workplaces. One step towards achieving this includes the ongoing development of national and international guidelines driving safety through design.

David Philp, Global BIM/IM Consultancy Director at AECOM, an international leader in BIM adoption, said in a conversation with the research team that in the UK a data thread to support WHS and the safe use of built assets is a key driver for BIM adoption. Therefore, linking data and WHS is fundamental to industry transformation.

In Australia, we have a decade of experiences of BIM implementation on projects. It is timely to reflect on those experiences to take us to the next level of adoption in targeted areas such as WHS management.

The project aims to:

  • better understand the use of BIM for WHS management, including barriers and enablers, and benefits and consequences
  • compare the use of BIM for WHS management against the current management systems for major construction projects
  • identify preferred models and best practices for WHS and BIM in procurement, and recommend the best way to evaluate the quality of BIM for WHS management
  • understand the implications of managing WHS using BIM, and to identify models and practices to ensure compliance with WHS law.

The research is well underway and will deliver a comprehensive research report, a decision framework for the integration of WHS management in BIM and a guideline for the evaluation of WHS management using BIM.

More information about this project can be found at  http://www.centreforwhs.nsw.gov.au/Projects/building-information-modelling-for-whs-management

Reports

Phase 1 Report

For enquiries about this project and opportunities to participate please contact Professor Kerry London, Pro Vice Chancellor at Torrens University of Australia at Kerry.London@laureate.edu.au

  • Prof Kerry London Pro Vice Chancellor Research
    Torrens University Australia
  • Dr Zelinna Pablo, Senior Research Fellow

WSU Research Team:

Centre for Work Health and Safety, SafeWork NSW Team

  • Dr Gregory Zelic
  • Ms Angelica Vårhammar
  • Ms Skye Buatava
  • Ms Niamh Murray
  • Mr Daniel Craig
  • Mr Ron Keelty

Industry Advisory Group

TBC