Engineering-out hazards: digitising the management working safety in confined spaces

Erika A. Parn, David Edwards, Zainab Riaz, Fahad Mehmood, Joseph Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper aims to report upon the further development of a hybrid application programming interface (API) plug-in to building information modelling (BIM) entitled confined spaces safety monitoring system “CoSMoS”. Originally designed to engineer-out environmental hazards associated with working in a building’s confined spaces (during the construction phase of a building’s life-cycle), this second generation version is expanded upon to use archival records to proactively learn from data generated within a sensor network during the building’s operations and maintenance (O&M) phase of asset management (AM). Design/methodology/approach: An applied research methodological approach adopted used a two-phase process. In phase one, a conceptual model was created to provide a “blueprint map” to integrate BIM, sensor-based networks and data analytics (DA) into one integral system. A literature review provided the basis for the conceptual model’s further development. In phase two, the conceptual model was transposed into the prototype’s development environment as a proof of concept using primary data accrued from a large educational building. Findings: An amalgamation of BIM, historical sensor data accrued and the application of DA demonstrate that CoSMoS provides an opportunity for the facilities management (FM) team to monitor pertinent environmental conditions and human behaviour within buildings that may impact upon occupant/worker safety. Although working in confined spaces is used to demonstrate the inherent potential of CoSMoS, the system could readily be expanded to analyse sensor-based network’s historical data of other areas of building performance, maintenance and safety. Originality/value: This novel prototype has automated safety applications for FM during the asset lifecycle and maintenance phase of a building’s O&M phase of AM. Future work is proposed in several key areas, namely, develop instantaneous indicators of current safety performance within a building; and develop lead indicators of future safety performance of buildings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-215
Number of pages20
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Application programming interface
  • Building information modelling
  • Confined spaces
  • Digitalisation
  • Facilities management
  • Health and safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction


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