BIM provides visualizations of health and safety risks for step-free London Underground station
Accessibility for all
The goal of the London Underground Tower Hill Step Free Access Project is to provide increased access for people with restricted movement by delivering 2 step-free lifts at the Tower Hill tube station, located near the Tower of London, a popular tourist attraction.
This project is part of a larger initiative: the improvement of health and safety across operations and projects belonging to the Transport for London (TfL) Station Capacity Health & Safety Leadership Team (SCHSLT). To that end, Tony Meadows Associates combined Risk Information Management (RIM) processes with Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology to bring risk assessment to the forefront. According to Jerome Beresford at Tony Meadows Associates, “Health and safety is no longer an abstract item on a hazard log. Now we can actually see it in spatial terms and properly embed it into the design process.”
Adding a RIM element to standard BIM tools enabled the team to create a 3D model that overlaid the space associated with the identified health and safety risks. The risks were then rated by severity according to a red, amber, and green color-coding system. One of the most valuable features of this overlay process is the ability to view risk information not just in 3D, but from multiple viewpoints, including first person. This improved communication among attendees at health and safety workshops, and it streamlined the approach to risk assessment for the design team.
The 3D models helped more than just the designers. The construction team, for example, used the 3D drawings to get faster and more-accurate communication of risk information. Because risk elements could be filtered based on specific disciplines—say, facilities management—teams could view only those risks relevant to their tasks. And since all necessary information was stored in the model, teams never had to refer to separate risk assessments or drawings.
Communicating across disciplines
Perhaps the biggest benefit that the combination of BIM and RIM provided was the empowerment of each discipline to do what they did best—and do it better. Teams of experienced users could virtually visit the building at key project phases, bringing their individual knowledge and experience to bear on risk identification. This, in turn, resulted in improved health and safety risk management and communication, reduced accidents and injuries during construction, lower costs, and fewer delays. As Tower Hill becomes London’s 68th step-free Tube station, London residents—and tourists from around the world—have RIM and BIM to thank.
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