Enhancing Construction Safety with BIM and 3D Modelling

October 23, 2023

Taking place throughout the whole of October, you might be forgiven for thinking that Construction Safety Month only matters to contractors, with its focus promoting awareness of potential hazards, and reducing instances of incidents, accidents, injuries and fatalities on construction sites.

But your building services engineer has a lot to offer when it comes to eliminating risks and hazards. After all, safety doesn’t only begin when craft workers set their steel-toed boots on site. It is something we have the expertise and the technology to engineer into building projects months or even years before a shovel is picked up.

CIF Safety Month 2023 - Focusing on Critical Risks 

The theme for Construction Industry Federation (CIF) Safety Month 2023 is controlling critical risks. In civil engineering, generally, critical risks involve things like safe working at height, movement and operation of plant and machinery around pedestrians, working with hazardous substances, and operating near hidden electrical cabling or underground gas or water piping. At the design stage, engineers have the ability to foresee and mitigate potential risks. What enables us to do this with a high degree of accuracy and confidence is building information modelling (BIM).

BIM and 3D modelling can predict potential flaws, risks and errors

Building information modelling is a process that uses technology to manage all of the information in the architecture, engineering, and construction of a building. The 3D model this information produces will be collaborated on and fed into by all of the team members on a project. It makes the design process really transparent and the sharing of information much easier. 

There is a certain amount of risk involved in any engineering or construction project, no matter its size, given all of the moving parts involved. From worker safety to scheduling issues, BIM will support you in assessing and mitigating risk for each step, with the accurate 3D models produced helping to identify any potential design flaws or hazards to workers.

If you want to learn more, we have a full blogpost on the topic here: What is BIM, and how do Metec use BIM to benefit you?

We engineer safety using expertise and technology

BIM models are created using specialised software that allows engineers to create detailed models of different building systems. These models can include everything from the mechanical and electrical systems to the plumbing and HVAC systems. BIM models are also interactive, which means that engineers can simulate how different systems will work together and identify potential issues long before construction begins.

Because BIM provides a constant, immediate overview of the project, as well as open communication channels between design, engineering and construction teams, it reduces time delays, mistakes and miscommunication, all of which will improve safety, sustainability, energy efficiency, and cost efficiency.

BIM enables open collaboration for better safety

With all parties involved in the construction of a building able to view and virtually tour the finished structure in a 3D environment, it gives all of the different professionals and experts who will be involved the chance to voice their inputs and flag possible safety issues from their own point of view. For example:

  • Talking around the 3D model helps construction people identify and reduce risks in planning.
  • Modelling the site environment helps plan logistics, assure good access and egress, and gain control of public protection risks.
  • Using collaborative models for clash detection is invaluable in reducing time spent on-site adjusting pipe runs, while it reduces exposures to risks of cutting holes in concrete.
  • Due to its cloud-based nature, BIM stores all information and data in a single online platform, so that project managers can inform teams where and when any changes are taking place.
  • Collaborative reviews between clients, designers and constructors before starting work on site can identify problems, improve provision for the end user, and identify ways of reducing programme time.

The efficiency BIM offers means you can get projects right first time, avoiding unnecessary waste, stress and accidents that occur when work has to be changed at the last minute. Collaboration makes for better health and safety.

BIM and 3D Modelling have even more benefits to your project which you can read here: The benefits of BIM and 3D modelling for your next development | Metec Consulting Engineers

Safety beyond the building’s construction

The beauty of BIM is that all of the health and safety information generated, shared and stored can be accessed and referenced by others on site or on future projects, perhaps when alterations or improvements are being made to the building years from now. The model can inform solutions to the safest and most effective ways to carry out maintenance, while facilities managers can use the final construction model to base their decisions and risk assessments on.

We engineer built environments for a better, safer future

Metec is an engineering consultancy that delivers an end-to-end building performance optimisation service, from concept through to detailed design and delivery onsite. If you would like to know more about how we employ building information modelling and 3D design in our engineering work, and what it can do to control, reduce and eliminate safety risks on your next project, get in touch with Richard Denver, BIM Engineering Manager at Metec, today.

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