Design for safety: theoretical framework of the safety aspect of BIM system to determine the safety index

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Ai Lin Evelyn Teo
George Ofori
Imelda Krisiani Tjandra
Hanjoon Kim


Despite the safety improvement drive that has been implemented in the construction industry in Singapore for many years, the industry continues to report the highest number of workplace fatalities, compared to other industries. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the theoretical framework of the safety aspect of a proposed BIM System to determine a Safety Index. An online questionnaire survey was conducted to ascertain the current workplace safety and health situation in the construction industry and explore how BIM can be used to improve safety performance in the industry. A safety hazard library was developed based on the main contributors to fatal accidents in the construction industry, determined from the formal records and existing literature, and a series of discussions with representatives from the Workplace Safety and Health Institute (WSH Institute) in Singapore. The results from the survey suggested that the majority of the firms have implemented the necessary policies, programmes and procedures on Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) practices. However, BIM is still not widely applied or explored beyond the mandatory requirement that building plans should be submitted to the authorities for approval in BIM format. This paper presents a discussion of the safety aspect of the Intelligent Productivity and Safety System (IPASS) developed in the study. IPASS is an intelligent system incorporating the buildable design concept, theory on the detection, prevention and control of hazards, and the Construction Safety Audit Scoring System (ConSASS). The system is based on the premise that safety should be considered at the design stage, and BIM can be an effective tool to facilitate the efforts to enhance safety performance. IPASS allows users to analyse and monitor key aspects of the safety performance of the project before the project starts and as the project progresses.

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How to Cite
Teo, A. L. E., Ofori, G., Tjandra, I. K., & Kim, H. (2016). Design for safety: theoretical framework of the safety aspect of BIM system to determine the safety index. Construction Economics and Building, 16(4), 1-18.
Articles (Peer reviewed)
Author Biographies

Ai Lin Evelyn Teo, National University of Singapore

Associate Professor, Department of Building

George Ofori, National University of Singapore

Professor, Department of Building

Imelda Krisiani Tjandra, National University of Singapore

Research Fellow, Department of Building

Hanjoon Kim, National University of Singapore

Research student, Department of Building