modelling hazards

1. In October 2010 SEC Group published a report to the Health & Safety
Executive (HSE) which was based upon a survey of 289 firms on their
experience of the CDM Regulations [Experience of Working with the
Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007]. One of the key
proposals in that report was that there should be a statutory certification
process by which the “delivery team” certifies to the client that the project is
safe to construct. Given that the fundamental obligations within the
Regulations require project participants to co-operate and co-ordinate their
activities with other parties, this could only be made meaningful if the supply
chain was appointed early enough in the delivery process. A statutory
signing-off process prior to construction would help to achieve this.
“Effective management of health and safety risks can only be achieved when
such risks are actively considered at project conception and are addressed by
the delivery team appointed early enough to buy into the decisions.”
This was already written into paragraph 44 in the Approved Code of Practice.
2. The use of BIM will facilitate this objective. PAS 1192-2:2013 (Specification
for information and management for the capital/delivery phase of
construction projects using building information modelling) defines levels of
model definition for building and infrastructure projects. The third level of
model definition is developed design. One of the outputs listed is the
production, at this level, of a health and safety risk management plan. This
risk management plan should demonstrate that – through the modelling
process – the design is safe to construct in the sense that risks have been
identified and that either they have been managed out or otherwise reduced.
3. If this risk management plan could be considered as a statement by the team
that the design is safe to construct this will imply that a number of matters
have been addressed:
access and sequencing of work issues which carry health and safety risks
during the construction and maintenance phases (for example, in the M&E
sector plant rooms are often designed with limited access that could make
maintenance hazardous);
A copy of the suggested actions in the Report is attached to this paper.
given that BIM is about identifying the “properties” in the objects
displayed there is the opportunity to address hazards associated with use
of particular materials or with lifting of excess weights;
minimisation of operational hazards such as working at height.
4. The government is now using COBie UK 2012 (Construction Operations
Building Information Exchange) as a means of auditing progress at certain
stages of design and construction. As the COBie data file grows during the
project there are a number of data drops at pre-defined stages of the
project. For government projects there are four data drops:
is the emerging design meeting the brief (e.g. this will require auditing
against cost data or checking for carbon emissions)?
is the design in a state of readiness for proceeding with construction?
has the contract been awarded on the basis of Guaranteed and Maximum
is there full operating and building management data such that the project
can be handed over to the asset manager?
5. It is perfectly feasible, therefore, to include within the second data drop the
question as to whether the design is fit to be constructed from a health and
safety perspective. There is already software that enables design to be
checked for compliance with the Building Regulations and, no doubt, this
could be extended to ensure that the design is audited against the
requirements of the CDM Regulations. However the key element in this
process is that early supply chain engagement will be necessary to
ensure that the design is safe to be constructed. The question that
will have to be asked is: who were the parties responsible for signing
off the design as safe for construction?
6. An additional data drop could be introduced into the construction phase.
This should ask the question: what site specific risks have been identified and
measures taken to eliminate or minimise them? Furthermore have principal
contractors provided pre-construction information to contractors prior to them
bidding for work? The SEC Group’s Safe Site Access Certificate could be
worked into software to facilitate effective risk management of on-site risks.
Another pertinent question would be whether all project participants
have met the “core criteria” for health and safety competence by
virtue of membership of a SIPP Scheme.
7. The SEC Group has obtained agreement in principle with the Cabinet
Office/BIS for a meeting in the autumn of practitioners involved in BIM or
planning to become engaged in BIM. The purpose would be to identify a five
year programme of activity to help BIM development in the supply chain. The
agenda could include the degree to which the management of health and
safety risks can be best addressed through the early engagement of the
supply chain by deploying BIM.
Rudi Klein
July 2013