Digital app

Digital app to save lives in construction A team of researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University has developed an app that could have a huge impact on reducing injuries and saving lives on construction projects.

The project, led by GCU’s Professor Billy Hare, has delivered an innovative application for architects and other designers to help them improve health and safety for construction workers, as well as the occupiers and users of buildings.

It will allow architects and designers to access the app to help them improve health and safety for construction workers, as well as for building users and occupiers.

Using videos and images, the app highlights any health and safety issues that are particular to the design of individual buildings.

A knowledge database

Prof Hare said the app has the potential to prevent mistakes causing accidents and ill-health from being repeated.

“Academics in the past have attempted to create systems that tell architects and designers the ‘safest’ design option, but this approach is too simplistic and those who make design choices don’t work that way

“We wanted to create a knowledge database that recognises there are many design options and each has its own pros and cons when it comes to health and safety. Therefore, designers can make informed decisions.

Tried and tested

As part of the study, a sample of 40 (20 novices and 20 experienced) designers from two typical industry groups of architects and civil engineers were recruited.

Half of the designers were randomly assigned to the use of the app. Participants were then asked to review a set of computer-aided design (CAD) drawings, identify hazards and make decisions about design.

The experiment tested the app against general internet searches and examined the designers’ ability to foresee hazards in designs by measuring both the quantity of specific hazards identified and the quality of resulting designs.

Using the app, the designers identified hazards a total of 599 times, with architects identifying over three times the number of hazards as those not using the app. For civil engineers, the figure was five times as large.

In both cases, the scope of hazards identified was double that of the group not using the multimedia app, suggesting it was an effective way of improving designers’ knowledge of hazards.

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