Construction Safety: BIM to prevent incidents and save lives

Latin America. Colombia started the year with an unfortunate news regarding the collapse of the bridge that was being built on the Bogotá-Villavicencio road. Every year, in the countries of Latin America and the world, these types of incidents occur, which have to do with infrastructures that do not follow security protocols to avoid them.

The methodology of building information modeling (BIM for short), has begun to revolutionize all industries architectural, design and construction in Colombia, not only because it makes the work force more efficient and less cost, but precisely because it helps to prevent incidents and save lives.

BIM consists in the modeling and design of architectural projects, installations, civil works and infrastructure in the following dimensions: visualize and understand the context in which it will be executed, integrate information from specifications, costs and time to virtually solve situations that may arise on site , have a greater control and planning of our constructive projects, with a vision of "Build before building".

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The cost overruns under construction, changes due to errors and omissions, as well as lag of execution periods are a constant problem within the sector and this is the reason why users are discovering the value of BIM. Along with this adoption, the fundamental point has been found within the BIM uses, which is to guarantee safety within a construction project.

Achieving this assurance through different actions that result from the correct adoption of the methodology, an example would be the ease to position the project in a real context and review the impact it will have on the existing infrastructure. Engineers and architects can use the model to coordinate work and activities to be carried out on the site, plan the construction logistics for the correct movement and placement of machinery, delimitation of risk areas and maneuvers.

The use of new constructive tendencies is facilitated and goes hand in hand thanks to the adoption of BIM, technologies that are revolutionizing the world of construction as the use of drones to obtain and collect data, reaching previously inaccessible places for a person, the automation of construction machinery thanks to the LIDAR technology, establishing predefined routes for an excavator for example, with the required excavation parameters, in which no longer has to involve construction personnel and interfere with the natural movements of the machinery. Inclusive BIM helps us map, thanks to laser scans and surveys, all the terrestrial, aerial and induced works infrastructure to avoid, for example, drilling a pipeline that may imply a greater risk, and at the same time, programming the machinery to obtain millimeter precision.

Other benefits of BIM in relation to security is that it provides logistics for detours and traffic opening, simulates the conditions of access roads and transit of construction machinery to avoid possible road accidents. Regarding the optimization of the design of infrastructure works and structural calculation, BIM ensures that structural elements do not fail during construction or even at a later stage, thanks to the structural calculation, analysis and simulation of different elements, ensuring that the construction process is the right one, since the actual loading conditions are virtually simulated during the entire life cycle of the project.

As BIM is a method that makes constructive processes efficient and improves operational margins, work safety is guaranteed, as it is a direct consequence of the correct planning of processes and visualization of factors that may affect the project, achieving greater understanding of the interaction of our work with that of the existing environment.

By Mauricio Irastorza, Technical Infrastructure and Construction Specialist at Autodesk

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