|M.Sc Student||Swissa Dana|
|Subject||Safe Construction by Design: Virtual Assessment of|
Construction Hazards in Design
|Department||Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering||Supervisor||Professor Rafael Sacks|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
Despite the improvement shown in the last decade, the construction industry remains one of the most dangerous industrial sectors in terms of work accidents. The commonly accepted view that the three main stages of a construction project (design, planning and execution) are separate activities results in the misleading understanding that design has no effect on safety. Existing legislation and designers' lack of practical construction experience and safety education reinforce that approach.
Challenging the traditional approach, this research aimed to test the knowledge and the attitudes of designers in Israel to construction safety hazards, and to explore the possible benefits of a collaborative discussion between designers and construction professionals. The main hypothesis was that the dialog between designers and builders while discussing the different construction methods and solutions for safety issues would result in increased awareness of designers to safety issues, so that they could implement safety-oriented solutions in their designs.
An on-line survey regarding construction site safety knowledge and attitudes and a set of ten tests conducted with designers in a virtual construction site showed that designers lack safety knowledge. They are not sensitive to risks derived from the site environment and temporary situations created during construction. Moreover, designers underrate the influence design and planning processes have on site safety.
To explore the possible benefits of a collaborative discussion between designers and construction professionals, a series of experiments was undertaken in which ten designers separately toured a virtual construction site, each accompanied by a researcher who was a professional builder. Their conversation regarding safety hazards, guided by the researcher, was recorded and later analyzed. The overall picture afforded by examination of the survey and the experiments highlights two areas where improved design could enhance construction safety: architectural construction details and detailed design of building systems. Another conclusion strongly supported by the results is the importance that architects attach to expression of their 'architectural signature and design creativity', which translated into unwillingness to make any changes to the aesthetics of a building's design.
The main recommendation that arises from this work is that a platform that will encourage the implementation of an integrated approach that includes all actors involved in the construction project has strong potential to improve construction site safety. The key to creating this platform lies in education and in legislation that defines collective responsibility for site-safety.