University of Twente Student Theses


Hazard communication: what's the issue? : Integrating safety within the multidisciplinary design process

Vegt, J. van der (2021) Hazard communication: what's the issue? : Integrating safety within the multidisciplinary design process.

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Abstract:As the construction industry worldwide keeps on claiming lives and injuries in multiple phases of the building life cycle, researchers and practitioners have tried to bring safety considerations more upstream, into the design phase, thereby establishing a research domain known as Design for Safety (DfS). Several knowledge and motivation barriers have since then been identified that potentially hinder the integration of DfS into the design process. However, it was found that the provision of safety knowledge and client-induced motivations does not necessarily guarantee a smooth uptake of DfS. In a given multidisciplinary design project, interaction with hazards was still experienced by design engineers as a black box and paper exercise, and threatened to become a separated rather than an integrated project activity. So instead of focusing on the knowledge or motivations of design engineers, this study adopted a process-focused inquiry where hazards were treated as design coordination issues, in order to meet its objective: to find out how engineers can be enabled to integrate DfS in a multidisciplinary design project. A second objective of this study was then to design a ICT treatment that engineers perceive to be the most contributing to DfS-integration. Hence, this research adopted a design science methodology, in which the stakeholders (design engineers) first stated the problems they experienced and which goals they entertain, from where treatment requirements were derived. Following this, a set of candidate treatments were identified, validated, implemented and evaluated in test environments. The problems, or issues, that were felt the most by the stakeholders, dealt with the ‘communication’ stage: the communication of earlier identified hazard information towards the design engineers who are responsible for eventually solving the hazards. Stakeholders expressed that the hazard communi-cation done by formal documentation failed in reducing irrelevant information, in clarifying the hazard follow-up process and in prompting the engineers to interact with one another. A set of four candidate treatments was selected with potential to fulfill these three stakeholder goals. When these treatments were validated and tested, the results put forth Building Information Modeling-based Issue Tracking (BbIT) software as the treatment application that can be used best to improve the internal communication of hazard information. The centralized BbIT-software provides engineers with multiple possible entry angles from where they can ‘run into’ hazards in a user-friendly environment. It enables the hazards and related information, initially stored in the periphery, to move to a more central spot in the design team network. It was concluded that the improvement in hazard communication significantly contributed to the integration of DfS, thereby justifying further academic efforts towards hazard communication. This is especially the case when ‘safety knowledge’ is seen as something to be outsourced in a distinct discipline within the multidisciplinary design project.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Programme:Civil Engineering and Management MSc (60026)
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