Workplace health and safety (WHS) will be considered far earlier in the planning process with the New South Wales government’s Centre for Work Health and Safety researching ways of integrating WHS risk management into building information modelling (BIM).
Centre director Skye Buatava said with increased use of BIM to facilitate project design, planning and management, the study had focused on identifying barriers and enablers to include WHS considerations.
Buatava continued: “This research compared the use of BIM against accredited WHS Management Systems, which are the current standard for major construction projects.
“There is a growing Australian interest in BIM, with some governments and construction industry leaders increasingly specifying its use for infrastructure projects.
“BIM aids decision making processes throughout construction but can also be used for the ongoing management of buildings and infrastructure.
“The research established a new approach to support the adoption of BIM-enabled WHS management systems in the construction industry, with evidence-based practical guidelines developed with industry to enable the integration.”
Buatava said the Centre partnered with Torrens and Western Sydney Universities to better understand the use of BIM for WHS management, which included international cases studies from the UK and Singapore.
She added: “If companies apply WHS risk management by integrating it within BIM, it will directly lead to the selection of safer practices and techniques before a project begins turning dirt.
“The research that created these guidelines has the capability to put Australia on the cutting edge of safety practices in our infrastructure projects.”
Torrens University Australia pro vice chancellor research Professor Kerry London led the research and has been invited to be part of the committee charged with drafting the first Australian Standard for Building Information Modelling for WHS management.