Research has shown that up to half of construction accidents in the UK had a link with design. The UK’s Construction, Design and Management Regulations, (CDM, 2015) place duties on designers of construction projects to consider the health and safety implications of their designs. However, the majority of designers fail to recognise the impact on health and safety that they can make. Previous work shows that visual methods have been used to develop shared mental models of construction safety and health hazards in construction and design teams. Potentially, these methods could also include links to alternative construction processes that may be utilized by designers to reduce the inherent hazards in the design, thereby enhancing their knowledge of construction and maintenance processes from the very people who are affected by the designs. The study reported in this paper aims to improve how designers involved in construction projects learn about how their design influences the management of occupational health and safety at the construction stage. The proposed approach involves the development of a multi-media digital tool for educating and assisting designers on typical design-related hazards. This prototype tool was used in an intervention study with novice and experienced designers, split evenly between experimental and control groups. These groups were assessed via a novel hazard test using fictitious Computer Aided Design (CAD) drawings. The results showed all experimental groups outperformed control groups, with the novice groups demonstrating the greatest increase in both hazards spotted and quality of alternative options recommended. Current research in this area promotes automated design systems for designers using Building Information Modelling (BIM). However, the research presented here advocates keeping the ‘human’ in control while supplementing designers’ knowledge with tacit knowledge gained from interaction from the developed digital tool, so that they can make informed design decisions potentially leading to safer designs.
|Number of pages
|Electronic Journal of Information Technology in Construction
|Published - 13 Oct 2020