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Helping to enhance safety in the construction industry
In 2019, CSA Group launched its Graduate Scholarship Program to support students enrolled in a Master’s program whose research is related to standards. In this series, we would like to introduce the five students who have been awarded the 2020 scholarship and tell you how their research has the potential to impact standards, as well as their professional growth in the standards world.
The construction industry remains among those with the highest incident rates1. Several standards are in place to help ensure the safety of construction workers and building occupants. But manually checking designs for compliance with these standards can be extremely daunting and time-consuming, especially when working on larger and more complex building projects.
That got Saeid Parsamehr, Master’s Student at the University of Windsor’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, thinking. He saw Building Information Modelling (BIM) frequently used in recent academic research related to safety. Saeid believed that such a tool could help the industry not only to automate safety rule-checking during the design process but also make it more efficient and less error-prone.
BIM is a promising new technology that facilitates collaboration and communication among project teams and stakeholders through a multi-dimensional digital representation of the construction processes. Such models can contain a wide range of information, helping to identify hazards and assess risks during the construction or use of the building. With such data, BIM can be used to prevent potential accidents and plan for safety measures required by building codes and standards.
Assistant Professor Rajeev Ruparathna, Ph.D., Saeid’s thesis supervisor, agreed that a practical application of BIM would be an excellent topic for master’s research. With Dr. Ruparathna’s help, Saeid chose to focus on using BIM to ensure compliance with Canadian building codes and safety-related standards. To Saeid’s advantage, this topic also perfectly aligned with the CSA Group Graduate Scholarship Program’s scope.
Students do experimental research and explore new things, but it’s also important for them to be familiar with applications. That is something I saw in connecting Building Information Modelling (BIM) and standards that are frequently used in the industry. By working on a topic with direct industry relevance, students get better prepared for working in the industry.
– Dr. Rajeev Ruparathna, University of Windsor
Saeid’s goal was to develop a methodological framework for safety-focused rule checking based on BIM. He started with a comprehensive review of safety-related regulations and best management practices using CSA standards and the Ontario Building Code. Once he defined the set of rules, he developed a tool that automatically checks the set safety conditions and visualizes any corresponding rules.
Saeid validated his platform on a test model and, later on in his work, also on a realistic, complex construction project. With that, he is confident that BIM has its place in the Canadian construction industry and could enhance the workers’ and occupants’ safety, as well as reduce construction costs and delays.
I was quite surprised to learn how comprehensive CSA standards are, covering every possible sector. And I learned how I should interpret every sentence in the standard. That was very important for my research, as it relies on the interpretation of the safety rules to enhance the safety in the construction industry.
– Mohammadsaeid Parsamehr, Master’s Student, University of Windsor
In the process, Saeid learned a lot about standards, how to interpret them, apply them, and be aware of their regular updates and improvements. As Dr. Ruparathna pointed out, students need to understand standards as a set of rules and guidelines that are actively used in the industry. So this type of applied research, with its significant practical application potential, has a tangible value for the industry. For Saeid, his work also gives him a better understanding of how the industry operates, quite important as he embarks on his professional career.
Learn more about CSA Group’s Graduate Scholarship Program.
1OSHA, 2019, https://www.osha.gov/data/commonstats.
April 5, 2021
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