NSW authorities are looking at ways to use Building Information Modelling (BIM) for safety management. 

BIM is a 3D model-based process that maps the physical and functional characteristics of a structure.  

It is becoming popular around the world for its benefits to decision-making in the planning, design and construction phases, and in the ongoing management of buildings and infrastructure.

BIM techniques can also play a safety role, but previous practices and standards need to be updated to unlock this capability. 

In a recent study, the NSW Government's Centre for Work Health and Safety sought to identify barriers and enablers to include WHS considerations in BIM. 

“This research compared the use of BIM against accredited WHS Management Systems, which are the current standard for major construction projects,” centre director Skye Buatava says.

“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.”

The centre partnered with Torrens and Western Sydney Universities to better understand the use of BIM for WHS management, which included international case studies from the UK and Singapore.

“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,” Ms Buatava said.

“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’s Professor Kerry London led this research and has since been invited to be part of the committee drafting the first Australian Standard for Building Information Modelling for WHS management.

More details are available here.