Evaluating 4d‐bim and vr for effective safety communication and training: A case study of multilingual construction job‐site crew

Muneeb Afzal, Muhammad Tariq Shafiq

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Effective safety management is a key aspect of managing construction projects. Current safety management practices are heavily document‐oriented that rely on historical data to identify potential hazards at a construction job site. Such document‐bound safety practices are prone to in-terpretative and communication errors in multilingual construction environments, such as in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Applications of Building Information Models (BIM) and Virtual Reality (VR) are claimed to improve hazards identification and communication in comparison to 2‐D static drawings by simulating job‐site conditions and safety implications and thus can interactively educate the job‐site crew to enhance their understanding of the on‐site conditions and safety re-quirements. This paper presents findings of a case study conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of 4‐Dimensional (4‐D) BIM and VR in simulating job‐site safety instructions for a multilingual construction crew at a project in the UAE. 4‐D BIM‐enabled VR simulations, in lieu of the Abu Dhabi Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHAD) code of practice, were developed and tested through risk assessment and safety training exercises for the job‐site crew. The results showed a significant improvement in the job‐site crew’s ability to recognize a hazard, understand safety pro-tocols, and incorporate proactive risk response in mitigating the hazards. This study concludes that 4‐D BIM‐enabled VR visualization can improve information flow and knowledge exchange in a multilingual environment where jobsite crew do not speak a common language and cannot understand written safety instructions, manuals, and documents in any common language due to linguis-tic diversity. The findings of this study are useful in communicating safety instructions, and safety training, in the UAE, as well as in international projects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number319
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • 4D BIM
  • Multilingual work environment
  • Occupational health and safety (OHS)
  • Safety training
  • Simulation
  • Virtual reality (VR), building information modeling (BIM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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