ITcon Vol. 26, pg. 319-340,

Improving construction safety with virtual-design construction technologies – a review

submitted:May 2020
revised:April 2021
published:July 2021
editor(s):Obonyo E
authors:Muneeb Afzal, Research Assistant
Department of Architectural Engineering, United Arab Emirates University

Muhammad Tariq Shafiq, Assistant Professor
Department of Architectural Engineering, United Arab Emirates University

Hamad Al Jassmi, Associate Professor
Emirates Center for Mobility Research, United Arab Emirates University
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, United Arab Emirates University
summary:The construction industry is prone to major safety hazards owing to the complex and onsite nature of construction projects. Hence, construction researchers have been pursuing concepts, methods, and tools using advancing technologies to improve construction safety management. Subsequently, the rapid digitization of construction work practices is providing opportunities to improve construction safety. Research has revealed that construction safety management practices can benefit from the applications of virtual design construction technologies (VDC), such as building information modeling (BIM), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), geographic information systems (GIS), and gaming technology. This study comprehensively reviews 191 research articles, published between 2010 and 2019, focusing on providing an overview of the implementation and application of VDC technologies for improving construction safety. The objective of this review is to critically collect and analyze applications of VDC technologies and present a holistic view of the features and functions of VDC technologies that can impact jobsite safety improvement in the construction industry. The review showed that VDC technologies can substantially improve construction safety. Emerging digital technologies, such as BIM, VR, AR, GIS, and gaming technologies can transform the traditional document-oriented safety procedures into digitalized safety practices allowing safety managers to visualize and analysis construction sites virtually to devise proactive safety measures and effective safety trainings. This study also highlights challenges such as research gaps regarding these digital tools that are currently impeding their widespread use in construction safety.
keywords:Virtual design construction (VDC); building information modeling (BIM); augmented reality (AR); virtual reality (VR); geographic information system (GIS); 4-D BIM; construction safety; digital design technology
full text: (PDF file, 0.715 MB)
citation:Afzal M, Shafiq M T,Jassmi H A (2021). Improving construction safety with virtual-design construction technologies – a review, ITcon Vol. 26, pg. 319-340,