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Article
Publication date: 19 February 2018

Helen Lingard, Nick Blismas, James Harley, Andrew Stranieri, Rita Peihua Zhang and Payam Pirzadeh

The purpose of this paper is to examine the potential to use infographics to capture, represent and communicate important information to construction designers, such that…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the potential to use infographics to capture, represent and communicate important information to construction designers, such that it improves their ability to understand the implications of design choices for construction workers’ health and safety.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on information obtained through a photographic Q-sort, supplemented with a literature review, health and safety information related to the design of a façade was collected from subject matter experts. This information was used to develop infographics representing the subject matter knowledge. A facilitated workshop was then held with 20 design professionals to engage them in a hazard identification process using a case study scenario. The designers were provided with the infographics and asked to comment upon how the infographics changed their assessments of the health and safety risks inherent in the case study building design. A sub-set of participants was interviewed to explore their perceptions of the impact and usefulness of the inforgraphics.

Findings

Infographics were developed at different levels of detail, representing potential health and safety issues associated with the site location and surroundings, the construction site environment and the detailed façade design. Workshop participants identified a number of potential health and safety issues associated with the case study scenario. However, this number increased substantially once they had viewed the infographic. Further, the health and safety issues identified when participants had access to the infographic were more likely to be less visible issues, relating to ergonomic hazards, procurement or the organisation and sequencing of work. The workshop participants who were interviewed described how the infographics enabled them to make a more global assessment of the health and safety implications of the case study building design because it helped them to understand the design in the physical construction site context. Participants also favoured the visual nature of the infographics and suggested that this format may be particularly useful to communicate important health and safety information to novice designers with limited on-site experience.

Research limitations/implications

The infographics developed in this research were relatively simple two-dimensional representations produced and presented in hard copy format. It is possible that more sophisticated forms of infographic could have produced different results. Thus, it is important that future research develops different types of infographics and rigorously evaluates their effectiveness in developing designers’ health and safety-related knowledge and improving decision making.

Practical implications

The results indicate that simple infographics can help design professionals to better understand the health and safety implications of design decisions in the context of the construction site environment. In particular, the infographics appear to have increased designers’ ability to recognize less visible health and safety-related issues. The designers interviewed also described the potential usefulness of the infographics in design workshops as a tool to stimulate discussion and develop a shared understanding of the health and safety aspects of a particular design decision or choice.

Originality/value

The value of the research lies in the development and evaluation of infographics as a tool supports the integration of health and safety into design decision making. The potential to develop these tools into digital or web-based resources is also significant.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 3 February 2021

Nor Haslinda Abas, Nick Blismas and Helen Lingard

The purpose of this paper is to describe the development of a risk assessment model to assess the occupational safety and health (OSH) risks presented by different…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the development of a risk assessment model to assess the occupational safety and health (OSH) risks presented by different construction approaches, namely traditional and industrialised building system (IBS). The development process applies the concept of argumentation theory, which helps construction designers integrate the management of OSH risk into the design process. In addition, an energy damage model is used as an underpinning framework for developing the model.

Design/methodology/approach

Development of the model was achieved through two phases. Phase I involved collection of data on the activities involved in the construction process and their associated OSH risks, derived from five different case studies, field observation and interviews. Knowledge of design aspects that have the potential to impact on OSH was obtained from document analysis. Using the knowledge obtained in phase I, a model was developed in the form of argument trees (Phase II), which represent a reasoning template with regard to options available to designers when they make judgements about aspects of their designs. Inferences from these aspects eventually determined the magnitude of the damaging energies for every activity involved. Finally, the model was validated by panels of experts, and revisions and amendments were made to the model accordingly.

Findings

The risk assessment model development revealed that the concept of argumentation theory and energy damage model is suitable to represent design safety risk knowledge and effectively address the designer's role in making decisions in their designs and further illuminate the level of OSH risk their designs pose.

Practical implications

The developed model provides best-practice reasoning support for construction designers, which help them to understand the impact of their designs decisions on worker's safety and health, and thereby assist them to further mitigate the risk to an acceptable level.

Originality/value

This study departs from the existing tool in that the model was developed based upon the combination of argumentation theory and energy damage model. The significance of the model is discussed.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 16 January 2009

Nick Blismas and Ron Wakefield

Much has been written on offsite manufacture (OSM) in construction, particularly regarding the perceived benefits and barriers to implementation. However, very little…

Abstract

Purpose

Much has been written on offsite manufacture (OSM) in construction, particularly regarding the perceived benefits and barriers to implementation. However, very little understanding of the state of OSM in the Australian construction industry exists. A “scoping study” was recently conducted to determine the “state‐of‐the‐art” of OSM in Australia. The purpose of this paper is to report on the overall findings of the study.

Design/methodology/approach

The study took a broad qualitative survey‐based approach. This involved three industry workshops, several interviews and seven case studies across four major states of Australia. The study surveyed a range of suppliers across the construction supply‐chain, incorporating the civil, commercial and housing segments of the market.

Findings

The study revealed that skills shortages and lack of adequate OSM knowledge are generally the greatest issues facing OSM in Australia. OSM uptake into the future is dependent on many factors, not least of which is a better understanding of the construction process and its associated costs. Unlike the USA and UK, the Australian construction industry faces unique challenges in how it transforms construction into a modern and efficient industry.

Originality/value

This is the first work undertaken to determine the benefits and barriers to OSM in the Australian construction industry.

Details

Construction Innovation, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2004

Nick G. Blismas, William D. Sher, Antony Thorpe and Andrew N. Baldwin

The single project paradigm which dominates the literature of both project and construction management research does not accurately reflect the reality of many…

Abstract

The single project paradigm which dominates the literature of both project and construction management research does not accurately reflect the reality of many construction clients, who have large ongoing construction portfolios rather than one‐off construction projects. Although several concepts of multi‐project environments (MPEs) exist, an investigation of the form and dynamic interactions of components within MPEs of construction clients was lacking. This paper presents the factors identified as exerting greatest influence on project delivery within construction clients' MPEs.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 12 January 2010

Nick Blismas, Ron Wakefield and Brian Hauser

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the roadmapping methodology and its application to concrete prefabricated housing in Australia.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the roadmapping methodology and its application to concrete prefabricated housing in Australia.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper describes the concrete and housing industries of Australia collaboration in a project to develop a technology and innovation roadmap that will advance the concrete industry's supply chain capabilities by identifying and mapping innovation necessary for prefabricated concrete house construction. The roadmap lays out what is necessary for an off‐site systems‐based approach to housing construction in Australia. The systems‐based approach to prefabricated concrete products is a relatively new and developing extension of the concrete industry supply chain in Australia. New manufacturing technologies and innovations, which are emerging locally and from overseas, make these potential extensions possible. For the long‐term sustainability of the concrete industry, it is critical that it better understands how to adopt cooperative innovations in prefabrication to realise these benefits in the housing industry and advance Australia's competitiveness. The first phase of the mapping involved the development of an industry‐maturity model that determined the current state of the industry, and plotted this against the desired route for the future. Numerous industry‐based workshops and interviews gathered the views of the industry towards existing concrete housing systems, and where their main difficulties are in relation to adoption. Using these data, a technology roadmap is developed, together with three options on how these might be realised using the roadmap. The options offered through the roadmapping process form the basis for ongoing experimental trials of concrete houses in the major cities of Australia.

Findings

The system‐based approach to prefabrication is seen as innovative and the industry needs to understand how to adopt cooperative innovations in prefabrication in order to be competitive.

Originality/value

The paper offers insights into the technology roadmapping process in Australia, offering an exciting prospect for moving the industry into a new model of delivery.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 23 January 2009

Helen Lingard, Nick Blismas, Tracy Cooke and Helen Cooper

Clients of the construction industry, an important segment of the project management (PM) discipline, can make an important contribution to the occupational health and…

Abstract

Purpose

Clients of the construction industry, an important segment of the project management (PM) discipline, can make an important contribution to the occupational health and safety (OHS) performance of the construction projects they procure. This practice note aims to describe an initiative of the Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner in Australia.

Design/methodology/approach

A model client framework was developed to assist Australian Government agencies to embed OHS into their procurement and PM practices.

Findings

The model client framework establishes principles for the management of OHS in construction projects and establishes processes for client involvement in OHS through the planning, design and procurement, construction and completion stages of construction projects. Within each project stage, key management actions are established for Australian Government agencies.

Practical implications

The model client framework will enable Australian Government agencies to operate in a consistent framework and on a similar footing, with respect to the management of OHS in their construction projects. This practice note describes the key components of the framework.

Originality/value

The model client framework is the first comprehensive set of tools and resources to support construction clients to integrate OHS into their procurement and PM processes. The life‐cycle approach ensures that OHS information is transferred throughout the construction supply chain from the client, through the designer, constructor and ultimately to the end‐user. The Framework shows how the integration of OHS into all aspects of project decision making (led by the client) can significantly improve the OHS performance of construction projects.

Details

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-8378

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Article
Publication date: 5 July 2013

Helen Lingard, Tracy Cooke, Nick Blismas and Ron Wakefield

The research aims to explore the interaction between design decisions that reduce occupational health and safety (OHS) risk in the operation stage of a facility's life…

Abstract

Purpose

The research aims to explore the interaction between design decisions that reduce occupational health and safety (OHS) risk in the operation stage of a facility's life cycle and the OHS experiences of workers in the construction stage.

Design/methodology/approach

Data was collected from three construction projects in Australia. Design decisions were examined to understand the reasons they were made and the impact that they had on OHS in the construction and operation stages.

Findings

The case examples reveal that design decisions made to reduce OHS risk during the operation of a facility can introduce new hazards in the construction stage. These decisions are often influenced by stakeholders external to the project itself.

Research limitations/implications

The results provide preliminary evidence of challenges inherent in designing for OHS across the lifecycle of a facility. Further research is needed to identify and evaluate methods by which risk reduction across all stages of a facility's life cycle can be optimised.

Practical implications

The research highlights the need to manage tensions between designing for safe construction and operation of a facility.

Originality/value

Previous research assumes design decisions that reduce OHS risk in one stage of a facility's life cycle automatically translate to a net risk reduction across the life cycle. The research highlights the need to consider the implications of PtD decision‐making focused on one stage of the facility's life cycle for OHS outcomes in other stages.

Details

Built Environment Project and Asset Management, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2044-124X

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2011

Helen Lingard, Tracy Cooke and Nick Blismas

The paper's aim is to document a survey of Australian construction workers that was conducted to examine whether conditions of within‐group homogeneity and between‐group…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper's aim is to document a survey of Australian construction workers that was conducted to examine whether conditions of within‐group homogeneity and between‐group heterogeneity in perceptions of coworkers' safety response were satisfied. The factor structure of coworkers' safety response is to be explored and the relationship between workgroup members' perceptions of their coworkers' safety response and the workgroups' injury rate is to be examined in three organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

A safety climate survey was conducted within three organizations. Retrospective and prospective workgroup injury data were collected from company records. The factor structure of coworkers' safety response was analysed using principal components analysis (PCA). Within‐group homogeneity and between‐group heterogeneity were examined using inter‐rater agreement and analyses of variance respectively. Bivariate correlations were used to explore linkages between perceptions of coworkers' safety response and workgroup injury rates.

Findings

Two distinct factors were indicated by the PCA were labeled “Coworkers' actual safety response” and “Coworkers' ideal safety response”. “Coworkers' actual safety response” demonstrated significant between‐group variance and within‐group consensus in two of the three organizations. No significant between‐group variation was found for ‘Coworkers' ideal safety response'. Neither aspect of coworkers' safety response was consistently significantly correlated with workgroup injury rate.

Research limitations/implications

Further research should examine the relationship between coworkers' safety response and workgroup safety performance using measures other than reportable injury rates.

Practical implications

The confirmation that “Coworkers' actual safety response” is a facet of group safety climate suggests that interventions to develop coworkers' support for safety within workgroups may be helpful. In particular, strategies to speed up the process of assimilation into workgroups through induction and teambuilding exercises should be evaluated.

Originality/value

The study builds on previous research examining group safety climate in construction, providing further evidence that coworkers' safety response items should be included along with supervisors' safety response items in the measurement of group safety climate. The findings suggest important directions for future empirical evaluation of the impact of coworkers' response on workgroup safety climate and performance in the construction industry.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 18 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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Article
Publication date: 3 May 2016

Lance W. Saunders, Andrew P McCoy, Brian M. Kleiner, Helen Lingard, Tracy Cooke, Thomas Mills, Nick Blismas and Ronald Wakefield

– The purpose of this paper is to advance knowledge on the advantages of integrating safety earlier in the construction project lifecycle.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to advance knowledge on the advantages of integrating safety earlier in the construction project lifecycle.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study approach is used to collect data from construction sites in the USA, which performs poorly in construction safety and health, and Australia (AU), which performs well in construction safety and health. Qualitative data are collected to determine how and when safety is considered in the project lifecycle in both countries, and then the results are benchmarked to determine the benefits of addressing safety earlier in the process.

Findings

Data show that addressing a potential hazard earlier in the project lifecycle has performance benefits in terms of the level of hazard control.

Research limitations/implications

The processes that are identified as possibly explaining the performance difference are just based on qualitative data from interviews. Targeted research addressing the relationship between these processes and safety outcomes is an opportunity for further research.

Practical implications

The case study data are used to identify specific processes that are used in AU that might be adopted in the USA to improve performance by integrating safety earlier into the decision-making process.

Social implications

This paper highlights the advantages of integrating safety as a decision factor early in the process. Worker safety is not just an issue in the construction industry, and thus the findings are applicable to all industries in which worker safety is an issue.

Originality/value

This paper advances the safety in design literature by quantitatively supporting the link between when a hazard is addressed and performance. It also links the results to specific processes across countries, which advances the literature because most research in this area to data is within a single country.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Article
Publication date: 4 July 2008

Tracy Cooke, Helen Lingard, Nick Blismas and Andrew Stranieri

The purpose of this paper is to describe an innovative information and decision support tool (ToolSHeD™) developed to help construction designers to integrate the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe an innovative information and decision support tool (ToolSHeD™) developed to help construction designers to integrate the management of OHS risk into the design process. The underlying structure of the prototype web‐based system and the process of knowledge acquisition and modelling are described.

Design/methodology/approach

The ToolSHeD™ research and development project involved the capture of expert reasoning regarding design impacts upon occupational health and safety (OHS) risk. This knowledge was structured using an innovative method well‐suited to modelling knowledge in the context of uncertainty and discretionary decision‐making. Example “argument trees” are presented, representing the reasoning used by a panel of experts to assess the risk of falling from height during roof maintenance work. The advantage of using this method for modelling OHS knowledge, compared to the use of simplistic rules, is discussed

Findings

The ToolSHeD™ prototype development and testing reveals that argument trees can represent design safety risk knowledge effectively.

Practical implications

The translation of argument trees into a web‐based decision support tool is described and the potential impact of this tool in providing construction designers (architects and engineers) with easy and inexpensive access to expert OHS knowledge is discussed.

Originality/value

The paper describes a new computer application, currently undergoing testing in the Australian building and construction industry. Its originality lies in the fact that ToolSHeD™ deploys argument trees to represent expert OHS reasoning, overcoming inherent limitations in rule‐based expert systems.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

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