Construction is in no way as dangerous as it was during the industrial revolution, where builders were treated as something of a commodity, but there are still risks involved. Around 2.3 million working days were lost in 2013, 592,000 of these were due to workplace injury.
Safety continues to be a primary concern addressed and improved with legislations, guidelines and more recently, technology. Where are CAD and BIM fitting into improving safety?
CAD has enabled the production of more accurate drawings in much less time and BIM, a more recent introduction, is allowing architects, designers and engineers to analyse the design, efficiency and life cycle costs. There are multiple benefits to using this technology and in addition to cost and time, CAD and BIM help improve safety, both in the construction and after the building is finished.
When used properly BIM enables much more efficient and immediate collaboration between those designing the building and those constructing the building. Using automated check lists and cloud based sharing; professionals can interact efficiently, with access to the same up to date information at all times. Shouted phone conversations standing in the middle of a noisy building site are a thing of the past.
Being able to visualise projects in 3D means construction staff can identify hazards and safety issues ahead of time, and shared access means that the architects and designers can explore alternatives to address these issues, while keeping an eye on the cost accurately.
BIM is also invaluable when a building is fully constructed. Once a building is put up, making changes because of identified risk can be costly and inconvenient, as can rebuilding it if it is unable to withstand conditions. Simulation in BIM means that buildings can be tested against adverse conditions typical to the area; earthquakes in California (or more recently Rutland), hurricanes in Bermuda, monsoons in India, and even 6 inches of snow in Manchester.
In addition to being seen as a way to save time and money, CAD and BIM should also be seen as a way that the most important thing can be safeguarded; human life and well-being. There are multiple software options, and with the right implementation and training, the use of technology can make a construction business a safer, and more efficient, place to work.