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Safety Planning in Digital Construction with Synchro 4D

July 2019

Why use 4D safety planning?

Safety planning methods that are currently in practice have reached or are very close to reaching their practical safety improvement potential. To further bring down the number of safety incidents in the construction industry, a breakthrough in safety planning that surpasses current best practices is required. Virtual design and construction (VDC) enables the visualization of construction activities before they occur, it could be the tool that makes this breakthrough possible. Thus, construction safety research has recognized that the ability to influence safety in a project is highest at the earliest stages of that project such as the design and planning phases. This concept can and should be applied to shorter timelines such as the look-ahead window, the workweek, the workday, or even at the operation level of each activity (e.g. in power plant component replacement planning)because every bit of safety matters.

Case Study: Safety Planning with Synchro at Pearl Harbor Hanger Renovation

The Safety Lead, Blake Mead, and VDC Lead, Angelo Lago, for Hensel Phelps Pacific Region had plan and successfully execute the renovation of a hanger in Pearl Harbor, HI with increased safety and more efficient production by using Synchro Software. Blake and Angelo had discuss to improve safety planning using Synchro as Blake became fimiliar with BIM and Virtual Design and Construction (VDC).

The project is a renovation of a 260 x 100 sq. ft. hanger on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, HI. The project removes all hazardous materials, upgrades the structure to Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection (ATFP) blast rating, improves overall structural capacity, repairs roof damage, adds beams to the attic space, removes piping fire sprinklers and updates interior finish.

To visually show safety hazards in the model, safety icons created by Synchro were placed in the location and time of the hazards. Their regional VDC leads regularly meet to share best practices and push the implementation of 4D Planning, which is part of the VDC toolkit.

Upon reviewing the initial plan sequence in Synchro, it was apparent that they could perform specific studies and alternate sequences before the roof demolition to optimize the plan. The initial plan seemed great, but visualizing it showed that the order of replacement caused additional hazards. Thus, the plan was simplified, made more productive and safer in overall.

The project requires safety meetings with all trades for each phase three weeks prior to the start of work and walk through the sequence to identify any hazards in the environment or the job procedure so that each step of the entire job can be done safely and efficiently. By showing the Synchro model live, they were able to expand the Gantt view, show dates and tasks, and the objects that are related to them. The trades can immediately react, like when a warning line was not safe enough and they needed to use fall protection to get access.

There is simply more clarity looking at the visual plan. In addition, the trades were more calm and confident- and calm, confident sites are safer sites. As part of the renovation, the VDC team performed a laser scan of the high bay, mezzanine level, attic and roof to create an accurate as-built BIM model. An as-built model was created in Revit and then imported into Synchro to show the sequencing of work for the attic and roof.

Synchro makes safety planning proactive, easy to communicate and engaging for the trades.