Prevention through Design (PtD) in construction has been identified as an important factor to improve Workplace Health and Safety (WHS). However, challenges exist implementing PtD in practice due to technical, social and regulatory complexity. Moreover, WHS is poorly embedded in curricula of design professionals who generally have limited experience of construction methodologies. Attempts to assist designers with the relevant knowledge in the past have been limited to generic risk assessment guides, sample databases, or static knowledge-based systems. We propose that a graphical knowledge based information visualisation device, an infographic, can cue designers to consider relevant knowledge. Façade design is selected as the case study of the project, which involves the development of an infographic and experimental evaluation to determine its impact. The first phase of the project covered the development of the infographic, however this paper reports the findings related to the second phase of this ongoing project; the experimental evaluation of the infographic. A Q-methodology was selected and administered to a group to determine the subjectivity inherent in façade design risk perceptions prior to the introduction of the infographic to the same group in a workshop environment. 27 participants including designers/architects, engineers, contractors and safety professionals were recruited for the project. Each participant was asked to sort photographs of 16 different façade systems into five categories ranging from safest to least safe. The participants were asked to consider the construction risks associated with the façade design presented in each photo and to provide reasons for their sort selection. Preliminary data analysis of the whole population of data is presented in this paper and a rationale for the common agreements among the whole group is investigated. Further analysis including group-level and detailed quantitative analysis are ongoing.
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to describe an innovative information and decision support tool (ToolSHeD™) developed to help construction designers to integrate the management of OHS risk into the design process. The underlying structure of the prototype web-based system and the process of knowledge acquisition and modelling are described. Design/methodology/approach - The ToolSHeD™ research and development project involved the capture of expert reasoning regarding design impacts upon occupational health and safety (OHS) risk. This knowledge was structured using an innovative method well-suited to modelling knowledge in the context of uncertainty and discretionary decision-making. Example "argument trees" are presented, representing the reasoning used by a panel of experts to assess the risk of falling from height during roof maintenance work, The advantage of using this method for modelling OHS knowledge, compared to the use of simplistic rules, is discussed Findings - The ToolSHeD™ prototype'development and testing reveals that argument trees can represent design safety risk knowledge effectively. Practical implications - The translation of argument trees into a web-based decision support tool is described and the potential impact of this tool in providing construction designers (architects and engineers) with easy and inexpensive access to expert OHS knowledge is discussed. Originality/value - The paper describes a new computer application, currently undergoing testing in the Australian building and construction industry. Its originality lies in the fact that ToolSHeD™ deploys argument trees to represent expert OHS reasoning, overcoming inherent limitations in rule-based expert systems.