Construction is dangerous. According to Eurostat, 3500 accidents per 100,000 inhabitants occur in the construction industry every year – more than in any other industry. The construction industry is also the sad leader when it comes to fatal accidents. Since the 1990s, there has finally been a global effort to increase occupational safety and minimize the number of accidents in the workplace with the “Vision Zero”. Vision Zero is a holistic approach and includes defining safety goals, optimizing work organization, knowledge about hazards and technology.
The latter is also the keyword for Christian Schernthaner, Head of Sales for the precast solutions of planning software provider ALLPLAN: “When it comes to the topic of safety through technology, a lot is possible not only on the hardware side, but also on the software side. TIM, our work preparation solution for precast projects, actively helps to prevent accidents – for example, by calculating and checking the centers of gravity. This reduces the risk of tipping precast parts weighing tons.”
In simplified terms, the underlying technology is the rule-based “Quality and Safety Manager”, which checks whether all conditions relevant to production, logistics and assembly have been met during planning. These conditions can be individually defined by the customer so that they reflect the reality of the respective plant. External systems, such as Clash Detection from Solibri or inspection programs for load securing, can also be connected to TIM – so a wide range of risks can be covered. Dangers in precast projects are, for example, the tearing out of lifting anchors, the center-of-gravity-induced tilting of precast parts, the breaking of precast parts or the falling over of stacks during transport. All these risks are eliminated with the TIM quality assurance software and the definition of corresponding rules. The system identifies possible risks while still in the planning and work preparation phase and sounds the alarm in good time – danger recognized, danger averted.
The issue of safety is particularly relevant when experienced employees are on vacation, retire or leave the company. This is because experienced employees often intuitively know how to make their processes safe. They go through a mental checklist of safety-related items and know, for example, how a container must be loaded to prevent it from tipping over. However, what if one day this wealth of experience is lost? ALLPLAN’s technology helps precast planners preserve the safety and quality-related knowledge of experienced employees. All the rules that experienced employees mentally go through are recorded, analyzed and configured in the TIM software. The result is safe work processes and consistent quality – both key factors for precast factories and their customers.
Another aspect related to safety in the construction industry is the trend to outsource precast planning, to other sites or external engineering offices. The external planners do not know the conditions of the factories – often they have no insight into safety-relevant production, logistics and assembly conditions of the precast plants. Therefore, a binding set of rules and automated testing of the same is virtually essential for survival.
“We are pleased to be able to help our customers gain advantages in such key topics as safety and quality. I think that our automation solutions will offer customers ever greater added value – especially through the increased integration of artificial intelligence, a central development topic of the Nemetschek Innovation Foundation, which is making a lot of headway here together with the Technical University of Munich,” says Schernthaner.