Analysis

BIM has a central role to play in supply chain safety considerations

11 August 2016 | By Dr Patrick Morton, Lucion Services

Asbestos and risk management specialist, Lucion Services, is the latest company in the supply chain to gain BIM certification. Dr Patrick Morton, managing director, explains how BIM can benefit health and safety.

There’s no doubt that the introduction of the BIM mandate has been met with some trepidation in the construction industry as it means businesses need to consider and implement changes in working practices, as well as embracing new technologies. 

In my view, anything that can drive efficiencies throughout the whole of the construction and building industry supply chain is surely worth adopting. We’re operating in a sector, unfortunately, that has a reputation for projects to be delivered late, over budget and with the finished assets not quite fitting the bill. This needs to change to become the exception rather than the norm.

A widespread adoption of BIM across the entire construction chain could abate many of the issues that result in costly mistakes for both the businesses involved and the clients. Although the problem may start with a single subcontractor, it can eventually result in all contractors feeling some impact to their work and so it’s even more important to encourage an industry-wide take up. 

BIM will promote greater transparency and collaboration between suppliers, helping to quickly identify potential issues throughout a project’s lifecycle. This in turn will decrease wastage across procurement, processes and materials while moving the industry forward in terms of efficiencies and technological advancement.  

This sharing of accurate information in a universal format is essential in our particular market area of asbestos safety and risk management. Because of the potential risks associated with exposure to asbestos containing materials, we regard it as our duty to ensure that clear information is provided to every person in the supply chain who could be liable to disturb asbestos during building or refurbishment works. BIM provides a quick and efficient way of doing exactly that.  

In recent years we’ve seen the asbestos management marketplace evolve at an exponential rate. From advances in surveying methods to investment in the latest SEM laboratory analysis techniques and sophisticated digital reporting formats, the industry is continuously developing.

BIM compliance and effective integration with our project partners is the latest example of this. We have a responsibility to ensure that all asbestos risks are mitigated and that starts with clearly communicating what, where and how to alleviate asbestos and safety risks. 

As well as recently becoming the first in our field to become BIM Level 2 accredited, as part of our approach we’ve developed specialist visualisation technology for facility managers, project managers and safety managers.

It works by linking buildings plans and drawings with data from asbestos surveys and analysis information to provide an instant and comprehensive record of potential risks and hazards. Existing building plans are enhanced with 360º panoramic images and icons to locate hazards and safety equipment, which are then linked to web-based NexGen asbestos records. 

In this way we are now set up to receive and re-purpose BIM data, allowing us to create bespoke visualisations and communicate with individual sites , buildings and facilities in a simple, visual and intuitive way.

Not only does it give us a competitive edge in helping to ensure contractors that projects will be completed efficiently, it also ensures that the highest standards of information handling deployed throughout – for the benefit and maximum health and safety of all involved in a project.