Increasing the safety and quality of site visits

Safety is the most important aspect of any project, particularly when visiting construction sites. However, ensuring that everyone goes home safe requires a considerable amount of reporting and administration. While site safety inductions and risk assessments are completely worthwhile, this time can add up to a significant portion of the design schedule over the course of a project. If there was a more efficient way to gather site information, this time could be saved and redirected to other value-adding activities, such as additional planning.

Why are site visits an issue?

The current process for most projects is to visit the site numerous times in order to collect information to inform the project design and planning. Prior to every visit, visitors must undertake rigorous safety precautions, such as preparing site risk assessments or method statements and attending inductions. In some instances, additional safety measures are required, such as traffic management or a second person attending site to avoid lone working.

All of these measures are designed to ensure that staff are kept as safe as possible every time they visit site. However, there are also situations where accessing a site isn’t straightforward. There may be limited access, or the site may be impractical to visit due to the distance or amount of time required. In some cases, the safety risks posed – such as confined spaces, for example – may also make it difficult to access the site on a frequent basis.

Irrespective of whether a site can be easily accessed or not, according to the risk reduction hierarchy, we should always strive to remove the risk completely before implementing control measures. In the case of site visits, if staff are able to obtain all the information they require from the safety of the office, then there is a two-fold benefit: improved safety and increased efficiency.

Site inspection in rail tunnel

How to make the most of site information

While there will almost always be a need to attend site, reducing the frequency of site visits by making site information available in a usable format makes sense. With Sensat's Common Visualisation Environment (CVE), achieving this goal is simple. The CVE brings all the project and site data together into one platform that can be quickly interrogated to obtain the desired information. It acts as an up-to-date digital twin of the site, increasing the understanding of any potential constraints and site features.

Using Sensat's CVE platform, it is easy to get data such as site measurements, schedule information, or a visual update on current site progress which teams can explore in great detail. If any information has been forgotten, there is no need to visit the site, saving the time of both the site visit and the preparation of adequate safety documentation.

The CVE can also enable better planning when site visits do have to take place. For example, a platform like Sensat allows markups to be made, which can be used to highlight any risks that have been identified on site. No-go areas can also be marked out, or accesses can be planned before attending site in person.

Efficient site visits mean better planning

Adequate planning is a key aspect of ensuring time and cost certainty for any project. By removing waste activities such as inefficient site visits and the additional administration effort they require, the CVE can help contribute to a better project plan by freeing up valuable time. In addition, it can help develop a comprehensive understanding of the site and its constraints, avoiding unforeseen risks later down the line.

The project planning process is about more than just finding efficient ways to access and manage site information. The more time that can be invested into planning during the early stages of a project, the less chance there will be of mistakes, miscalculations, or unforeseen risks later down the line. As a result, project delivery times and profit margins are protected.

Download our ebook, 3 ways to improve the construction planning phase, to learn how to utilise the available data more efficiently for improved project outcomes. Combined with streamlined access to site information, risks can be effectively reduced, safety significantly increased, and design quality considerably enhanced.

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