September 6, 2023

Industry Insider Column

Guest Author – Christo Erasmus, South Island Sales Manager, Steel & Tube

3D Enhances Safety On Construction Sites

In the realm of construction, safety is paramount and, as builders and engineers strive to minimise hazards, technological advancements have played a crucial role. One such innovation, 3D modelling, has already revolutionised the construction industry by enhancing safety protocols. Steel & Tube has identified a number of benefits from the implementation of 3D modelling for reinforcing steel, in particular around the mitigation of health and safety hazards on construction sites. This results in improved overall project outcomes for all.

One of the primary benefits of 3D modelling in reinforcing steel is the ability to create accurate visualisations and detailed plans. Unlike…


traditional 2D drawings, 3D models provide a comprehensive understanding of the project, enabling engineers, contractors and installers to identify potential safety hazards before construction begins. These visualisations help stakeholders make informed decisions, thus optimising the layout and placement of reinforcing steel to prevent accidents and ensure structural integrity.

In a complex construction project involving multiple trades and components, clashes and conflicts often arise. These not only lead to time and cost overruns but also pose significant safety risks. 3D modelling enables clash detection and coordination, allowing all parties involved to identify conflicts between reinforcing steel, other building systems and spatial constraints. By resolving these issues before construction commences, the likelihood of accidents or rework caused by clashes is significantly reduced, thus creating a safer working environment.

Construction sites are inherently hazardous, especially when workers are required to navigate through unique tasks. With 3D modelling, virtual simulations can be created to mimic real-life scenarios, offering workers a safe and controlled environment for training purposes. By familiarising themselves with the construction site and reinforcing steel systems through virtual simulations, workers gain valuable experience and knowledge.

Effective communication and collaboration among project stakeholders are vital for a safe construction site. Traditional 2D drawings can sometimes be complex and difficult to interpret, leading to miscommunication and misunderstandings. Meanwhile 3D modelling provides a clear and intuitive representation of the reinforcing steel layout, enabling better communication and coordination among installers, engineers and contractors. Prefabrication opportunities can be easily identified, allowing installers to spend less time in the trenches; and more productive time assembling elements in less hazardous conditions.

By prioritising safety through the adoption of advanced tools, contractors and other subtrades and engineers are creating safer construction sites and achieving better project outcomes. As the industry continues to evolve, it is imperative that the benefits of 3D modelling for safety are embraced and incorporated into construction practices worldwide.

Most recently, these innovations have been recognised by BIMSafe NZ, a three-year study looking at the use of BIM capability to improve health and safety outcomes in construction. The project is a collaboration between the Canterbury Safety Charter and the Building Innovation Partnership at the University of Canterbury. It is funded by ACC and MBIE. Here is a Youtube video explaining the work. The project is also developing a web portal as the main output, with a series of individual “use cases”, from the perspective of the different stakeholders. Steel & Tube has recently been featured in one these “use cases” with its reinforcing steel in ground beams and its connection to the structural steel and wall panels. Using 3D models for the reinforcing steel, while also integrated into client-side BIM models, allows for on-site prefabrication, eliminating in-situ work and reducing high-risk tasks in confined spaces.  

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Disclaimer. The Industry Insider column is an opinion piece where the views expressed belong solely and entirely to the indicated author, in this case: Christo Erasmus, South Island Sales Manager, Steel & Tube. Australian Steel News accepts no responsibility whatsoever for the veracity of the author´s opinions nor for the accuracy of any information given by him.

If you would like to contact Christo Erasmus, you can do so via his email: [email protected]