How Human Task Simulation Can Identify AEC Safety Risks

By Prashanth
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Human Task Simulation

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Can Identify #AEC Safety Risks

Injury from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)—caused by lifting heavy items, performing tasks repetitively, working in awkward body postures, etc.—plagues many industries. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2013, 33 percent of all worker injury and illness cases were the result of MSDs.

But by factoring ergonomic solutions in at the design stage of a new building, many workplaces and facilities can dramatically minimize the potential for design-induced risks to health, personal or process safety or environmental performance.

Companies that make worker safety and wellness a core part of their practices gain more than safer, healthier workers. Research indicates that these companies also gain dramatic improvements to their bottom lines.

The reasons are plentiful. Companies that institute safety as part of their core make-up pay less in workplace compensation costs. They also find that they are better able to motivate workers when they create an environment that proves they care about workers, leading to increased productivity. This, in turn, leads to a strong reputation for the company among its workers and the industry at large, improving the potential for gaining top talent.

This focus on human safety should begin in the design of a new facility, and should be a priority at every stage in the building’s life cycle.

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continues through the building life cycle”

First, architects must review a building’s design to evaluate potential safety issues for future occupants. Then, contractors must account for jobsite safety throughout the construction processes. Finally, commissioning agents or facility managers should review the ease of repair and accessibility of maintenance tasks to see how the design might impact workers’ safety.

Companies that are truly committed to process improvements understand that ergonomically designed work flows can have a dramatic effect on workers’ health.

Creating an integrated ergonomics plan

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#design plan #AEC #safety

There are five points to consider in creating an ergonomic-based design plan:

  • The characteristics, capabilities, expectations, limitations, experiences and needs of the people who will operate, maintain, support and use the facilities.
  • The nature of the work involved in operating, maintaining and supporting the facility.
  • The work organization in terms of, for example, team structures, responsibilities, working hours and shift schedules.
  • The equipment and technology used, including the way equipment is laid out and the elements that people need to interact.
  • The work environment in which people are expected to work, including the operating conditions, lighting, reachability, walkability and exposure to other health hazards.

Integration of these five elements leads to a more efficient workflow. But creating a solution that accounts for each of these challenges can be tricky. More firms are turning to human task simulation as an early part of their early design work.

Benefits to simulating human tasks

When AEC companies simulate human tasks, they can design better work systems, workplaces and products that improve safety across the building’s entire life cycle.

Human task simulation can ultimately:

  • Reduce risks to health, personal and process safety and the environment.
  • Reduce the likelihood of human error in production processes.
  • Improve human efficiency and productivity, thereby enhancing operational performance.
  • Improve user acceptance of new facilities.

But the benefits of human task simulation can also lead to benefits for AEC partners. These benefits include:

  • Costs reduction through more efficient design that prevents the need for expensive changes and/or rework late in the design phase.
  • Reduced need for rework or changes during or after construction.
  • Reductions in life cycle costs for operating and maintaining facilities.
  • Improvements in health, safety and environment (HSE) performance, and reduced operational HSE risk.
  • Enhanced user commitment, often resulting in faster approval cycles.

How human task simulation works

Solutions such as the DELMIA Work Safety Engineer on the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform allows users to create, simulate and validate operational tasks in a virtual environment. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform makes available a wide range of manipulation and ergonomics analysis tools that let designers explore early on how their choices can impact the end-users’ ergonomic performance.

Human task simulation allows users to define and simulate the way a worker performs tasks in the workplace and on the worksite. The DELMIA Work Safety Engineer, for example, has a lifelike figure perform predefined actions such as picking up and placing objects, walking, using a tool, or operating a device. Through these tools, designers can better prevent workplace injuries with early identification of potential ergonomics-related problems.

Through simulation, designers can better identify the best of several potential safety solutions and make an early impact on long-term worker safety.

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Related Resources

Video: Optimized Construction

Video: Optimized Planning

Learn more about the Optimized Construction Industry Solution Experience for AEC

Moving to Modular Buildings? Better Know Your Fabricators’ Limitations

By Patrick
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Know Your Fabricators’ Limitations @3DSAEC #prefab

Building owners, designers and contractors are increasingly realizing the benefits of modular prefabrication. This trend, transforming the way construction components are delivered, is helping speed projects to market and leading to higher quality buildings.

The switch from stick-built construction to the assembly of manufactured components also makes the fabricator’s role more important than ever. Yet every manufacturer faces limitations that can impact their capabilities in delivering the optimum system to the jobsite.

When designers factor in manufacturer limitations, they can better select partners that can deliver the best possible end product.

Three challenges in particular must be addressed:

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of Building Product #Manufacturing

Factory machinery, with inherent limitations, is used for manufacturing building products.

Factory machines, with inherent limitations, are used for manufacturing building products.

1. Factory machinery’s capability limitations.

Compared to assembly in the field, manufacturing large system components in the factory presents a number of benefits in quality, safety, scheduling, and other areas. The benefits are limited only by the manufacturer’s capabilities, including the following:

  • Machinery size. The size of the available assembly table, kiln or other equipment will dictate the size of the finished component. A manufacturer’s capabilities can best be assessed by breaking down a design based on the capabilities of their machinery.
  • Local codes. Does the manufacturer’s machinery solution meet the local codes? For example, in the U.S. and UK, a welding machine is an acceptable solution for forming the rebar for a prefabricated concrete slab. In many Nordic countries, code prevents use of this type of machine.
  • Machinery layout. Lines must be organized so that a bottleneck does not delay the entire product’s delivery. By adopting a Design for Manufacturing and Assembly approach—with the use of universal connectors—manufacturers can outsource a single component or system that can easily be assembled in the factory or onsite.

 


Limited space presents challenges for prefabrication delivery processes

Limited space presents challenges for prefabrication delivery processes.

2. Limited space for storage and staging areas.

Manufacturers must address upfront two challenges in the logistics of getting product onsite:

Highway size limitations. Federal governments set minimum height and width requirements that will limit the size of pre-assembled systems. In addition, oversized products typically must be transported in daylight hours with an escort.

The space available for storing product. Factories cannot be stopped at the first sign of a site delay. If a problem arises on the site, a manufacturer may suddenly be faced with the need to store, for example, 1,000 housing modules. And what happens for manufacturers producing for multiple sites, where suddenly two sites experience delays? Having a buffer zone, such as a lot or warehouse space situated outside the factory or just off the jobsite, can be essential.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: Limitations of machinery, space & competitive
bidding wreak havoc on #AEC building projects @3DSAEC


Bidding processes don’t account for delivery and other realities of modular products.

3. Poor outcomes due to competitive bidding practices.

Today the reigning belief is that the best price comes from competitive bidding. Yet the bidding process actually is more likely to lead to the worst possible price. The bid component truly leads to about 15 percent of the 30 to 35 percent overrun most projects face as a result of redundancy.

There are two reasons for this:

Delivery is not addressed upfront. By creating a generic design that multiple parties are able to bid, there is no possibility of optimizing against the delivery process. By creating a time and material contract that uses the delivery process as the starting point, projects will come out with a better price.

Unknown factors lead GCs to bid high. Every project faces unknown variables, be it weather or an unforeseen site challenge. These factors cause contractors to pad their bid. But by working directly with the trades who will address these unknowns, it’s possible to get early insight into potential challenges.

Room for Improvement

The off-site or near-site manufacture of building systems leads to a more repetitive, reliable process. These processes can be simulated and studied for further optimization. By working with manufacturers as partners in the design process, projects can gain an edge in schedule, budget and quality.

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Know Your Fabricators’ Limitations @3DSAEC #prefab

Related Resources

WHITEPAPER: Prefabrication and Industrialized Construction

Design for Fabrication Industry Solution Experience

Collaborative and Industrialized AEC Industry Solutions from Dassault Systèmes

How virtual reality will dramatically redefine architecture

By Alyssa
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product-fe7-quartz

 

 

By: Quartz creative services

 

 

 

As we construct future buildings, we will start to see more mingling between architecture and virtual reality.

Imagine you’re a hotelier. Your newest property—let’s call it a high-end resort in the south of France—has gone into construction, but is not yet fully designed. Your firm is based in New York. The old way of designing the property would have involved several transatlantic flights and PDFs sent between you, the architecture firm, your marketing team, and any other stakeholders. Choosing the layout of the hotel rooms, making furniture selections, even just picking out materials and a color scheme, “can be a long and expensive process,” says Benoît Pagotto, a co-founder of IVR Nation.

IVR Nation is one of a few companies championing a new approach to making these kinds of architectural decisions. In the new way, clients need not fly back and forth. They simply strap on a virtual reality headset and “step into” a digital version of their new property. Once the client is there—virtually, at least—she has a spatial understanding of how a furniture layout feels, or how a floorboard material meshes with the textiles chosen for bedding. Without leaving the VR experience, the client can make changes and collaborate with her partners in real time. What once took weeks can now happen in an afternoon. “It’s a real game changer for what the architecture industry has been doing,” Pagotto says.

VR is a place
Architects have come a long way from drafting plans on big sheets of royal blue paper with dotted white lines. The analog blueprint is, by now, practically a cartoon of an architectural rendering—but for years, they’ve still lacked the tools to bring their work into the third dimension. Most architects today will use CAD software to create computer-rendered mockups of a physical space. Some will even augment them by 3D scanning a property and feeding that data into the rendering. One particularly advanced design method is called building information modeling; with BIM, architects use meta-data about projects to create interactive, digital prototypes of buildings. This allows for a new degree of precision and efficiency during the design process. But even in sophisticated BIM and CAD programs, architects and clients can only see abstracted versions of a project.

This makes architecture a particularly fitting application for VR. Technologists, filmmakers, and designers are still making sense of exactly how VR will fit into mainstream culture, but in its simplest form, VR is a place. So, too, is architecture. Pagotto and his IVR Nation co-founder, Olivier Demangel, recognized this a couple years ago and launched their studio in January 2015. Pagotto comes from the world of luxury retail design; Demangel is a veteran of the video game world. The combination is important: IVR Nation provides a service-for-hire for developers and designers, and the experience needs to simulate materials, finishes, and colors to work. To do that, IVR Nation treats 3D models a bit like video game design. Pagotto and Demangel take information from clients—either an existing 3D model or one they create from scratch based on the architect’s plan—and build the experience in Unreal Engine, a game design platform Pagotto says they chose “because it’s the most advanced in terms of photorealism.”

Hardware for our architects of the future
IVR Nation uses the Vive headset to show clients spatial renderings. Pagotto says they chose the Vive over, say, the Oculus Rift, because the Vive can track your body’s position (so if you lie down in the real world, you’ll also lie down in the virtual world) and since it comes with dedicated controllers that help users control their experience, it cuts down on common VR side effects like motion sickness.

TruVision VR, another company working at the intersection of VR and architecture, also uses the Vive. It also offers clients experiences via the Samsung Gear VR or the Oculus Rift. This is partly because TruVision has a wider sliding scale for its projects. Some clients come in at the very initial stage of design, while others come in to make some final nips and tucks, says Connor Handley-Collins, a co-founder and sales and marketing director of TruVision. Like Pagotto, Handley-Collins says these new models allow for clients to make design decisions more efficiently than in the past. That cuts down on mistakes, and therefore, costs. “For us, the biggest part of the design process is the ability to change the objects and colors in real time,” Handley-Collins says. “Before we may have looked at colors in 2D, and then you do them one way, and they’re stuck.” These efficiencies are particularly desirable for large-scale projects that will use one template to design many rooms, like micro-living units, hospitals, schools, and hotels.

Looking ahead, the ability to make these changes ahead of time will become even more powerful when they’re part of a larger, virtual decision-making process. This could include, for instance, construction worker training ahead of putting stakes in the ground. Dassault Systèmes’s Optimized Construction lets designers and builders create virtual animated scenarios that act out how to use equipment, or how to handle a given terrain. Once these become available, they’ll become part of a string of VR experiences that help buildings go up more efficiently.

Right now, the design-oriented VR experiences come as services created by third-party studios like IVR Nation and Tru Vision. But Pagotto says soon, it will be a standard offering. “In the coming years architecture firms will integrate this in-house,” he says. “You can put your headset on and look directly at what you modeled.” That may be happening already: global architecture firm Gensler just launched its Gensler VR app, which combines with the Microsoft HoloLens to start showing clients work created in-house. Gensler will use the new technology to do things like adjust office layouts to encourage collaboration, move indoor infrastructure to make spaces more pleasant, and reconsider the sightlines in arenas to give sports fans the best view possible. For smaller firms like IVR Nation and Tru Vision, that could signal opportunity for consulting, or acquisition. Either way, soon, Pagotto predicts, “The whole architecture world is going to be working in real time.”

 

To discuss this and other topics about the future of technology, finance, life sciences and more, join the Future Realities discussion on LinkedIn.

This article was produced by Quartz creative services and not by the Quartz editorial staff.



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