For the past fifty years or so briefing has been highlighted as one of the problem areas within the UK construction industry. Various UK government reports have reflected these inefficiencies from the Banwell (1964) report to the Egan (1998) report. The government reports put emphasis on the importance of improving customer focus in the construction industry. The brief establishes the requirements of the client and hence the objectives of a project. As the client facing project manager is concerned with achieving the project’s objectives, this dissertation seeks to establish what contribution the client facing project manager has on the briefing process. In order for this investigation to progress the following research will include a literature review of the briefing process and qualitative research of the client facing project manager’s involvement in the briefing process. Primary data obtained from the qualitative research will be analysed and conclusion will be drawn. Analysis of results of the investigation showed both negative and positive issues for the client facing project manager on contributing to the briefing process.
Negative issues include lack of education of the briefing process; there is a lack of understanding with regard to good practice implemented and poor undertaking of strategic briefs. Positive issues include an appreciation of the briefing process and an appreciation of the impact of a project upon the client’s core business; traits of leadership implemented to the briefing process and a willingness to gain knowledge in order to develop a strategic brief. The conclusion of the investigation is that the client facing project manager needs to gain further competence in order to contribute effectively to the briefing process. The dissertation objectives are as follows;
To evaluate the involvement of the client facing project manager in preparing the brief for their client
To assess the client facing project manager’s perception of the briefing process
To examine what tools and protocol the client facing project manager uses to develop a brief
To gain an insight into any barriers that exist which would hinder the client facing project manager from implementing a strategic brief
To examine the client facing project manager’s understanding of the briefing process
To assess if the type of client influences the client facing project manager’s involvement in the briefing process
To carry out an objective investigation, in analysis and conclusion
Briefing is an iterative process in trying to interpret client requirements and involves consultation with project stakeholders during its development. A good brief should capture the client’s requirements in a clear and precise way. As briefing is an iterative process, communication and coordination is important as a large amount of information is being passed between parties involved in the briefing process. The process requires decisive decisions to be made that can have implications on cost in later stages of a project. Central to the briefing problem is that the client does not fully express the project objective and is oblivious of the alternatives open to it. On the brief taker’s side there is difficulty in trying to decipher the requirements of the client. With uncertain information moving between parties, misinterpretation is a high risk and may only be avoided by repeated iterations around the problem.
From the oxford dictionary, architecture is the science or art of designing and constructing buildings. Architecture involves a lot of this including the planning construction, designing structures by manipulation of materials so that they can meet a social environmental, functional, technical or aesthetic value. Estimation of construction costs, scheduling and the administration of construction of the buildings is also part of what architecture encompasses. In the past architectures conducted almost everything involving a construction, except the practically building work. As of today, for a building to be constructed, there is a lot of collaboration involved. Interior designers, engineers, electricians, construction managers, governing authority representative and owner’s representatives are only a few of the players that collaborate with architectures to ensure a structure is brought up successfully to meet the specifications and the requirements of the owner. It is therefore very evident that architecture is no longer a one man’s game. The collaborations have brought with them benefits and also a few challenges.
Research suggests that architecture is not a one man’s game. Architecture is old. The very first publication on the topic was in the 1st century AD. This publication was by a roman architect known as Vitruvius. According to this architect, a building had to poses three main principles for it to be considered satisfactory. The three principles were:
Beauty- the building had to be of aesthetic value meaning it had to be appealing to the eye.
Durability- for a building to be termed as satisfactory, it had to stand strong and in good condition for a very long time.
Utility-the suitability of a building to the purpose it was meant for was also a major principle in determining the quality of a building. Over the years architecture evolved from construction of buildings to roads and even bridges.
An architecture industry requires an integrated approach for faster completion and desirable outcome. According to Collins (2011), different teams including the owner, project manager, interior designer and the architect are brought together to ensure that the project outcome is viable and efficient. Coming up with a workable team for delivering successful integrated project requires commitment. All the participants are supposed to: identify a mutually agreeable goal and objective; develop arrangements to define roles of each participant; and recognize the organization structure to avoid conflicting roles.
Every integrated project has stages in which each actor has a responsibility to carry out. From the conceptualization phase through construction, every actor has relevant role (Collins, 2011). Below is a description of each phase and the collaborating responsibility of each of the actors.
The manager, interior designer, engineers and architect with other stakeholders must come together to define WHAT is to be built, WHO is to build, and HOW it is supposed to be done. The manager is expected to come up with goals that define the performance and function of the project to be executed (Lowe, 2009). He also determines the project procurement process, he gives out data regarding the physical factors of the area in which the project is to be constructed and provide policies and legislative framework affecting the project.
According to Yazici (2010), the prime designer must come up with the project schedule i.e. commencing time through the completion period; visualize the adjacency concerns of the project and its massing; and provide a sustainable design that has the least cost and least impacts on the surrounding. Together with the engineers and the architect, the designers must be involved in cost information, the procurement process and awarding of tender, and validation of the scope of work.
Criteria and Detailed Design
After decisions are made on the scope and schedule of work, the project commences. Each option and decision is analyzed and evaluated, tested and selection of best option is done. It should involve all the actors to finalize the scope of the project, design of the building systems such as the structure and skin, the schedule and cost estimates (Lowe, 2009).
The project manager facilitates site input and reviews of user group. He/she then gives a feedback to the team in regard to revision. Together with the project coordinator, the manager coordinates the overall schedule of performance of every actor, organize and direct the overall team (Collins, 2011). The designers also have a role to play; they integrated the design input, issue regulations required for the project, outline the specifications of the project and refine the design schedule.
In the detailed design concludes WHAT is to be done in the project. All design decisions are made here. All the project systems are defined. Engineers define and coordinate the project elements (Lowe, 2009). The quality levels of materials are established and the project commences after verification of schedule, cost, prefabrication decisions and tolerances by all actors.
Documentation of the Implementation of the Project
At this stage, everything shifts from WHAT to HOW the project is to be implemented. The actors come up with construction methods and means, the schedule, finalized costs, and a document defining and visualizing the final project (Lowe, 2009). The construction health and safety guidelines including control of noise, infection, vibration and injuries are all defined as per the owner and legal standards.
This is the phase where each actor actualizes the project. Every person has his/her role to play as per the schedule and responsibility allocated. The manager ensures compliance in terms of obligations, organize the procurement required equipment and materials and also coordinates the team (Yazici, 2010). The interior designer is qualified to select and procure all accessories, furniture and materials of a project. At the early stages of construction, the architect can work together with the designer in making the floor plan and placement of artwork and furnishes. Interior designer can also give a helping hand in making the architectural details of cabinetry, lighting and carpentry design.
Use of BIM in the Collaborative Approach
An important model that illustrates the need for a collaborative approach is the Building Information Model (BIM). It is a digitized three dimensional representation of a project and its distinctive characteristics. A door, for instance, with its defined dimensions and material is hosted and related parametrically to the wall of the building. In addition, the BIM provides a consistent view of the representation which saves a lot of time to designers and engineers. According to the National BIM standard, 2010 (as quoted by Post, 2008), this model involves virtual designing and construction through the life cycle of the project.
There are two types of BIM: the lonely and the social types (Vardo, 2009). “lonely” BIM excludes the construction manager while the “social” involves all actors. The most collaborative BIM is the “social” since it enables architect, engineer, construction manager and the designer to share the model. Moreover, the building information from the model can be shared among the whole team. After collaboration of all actors, the information generated can be used to prefabricate the required products.
According to Post (2008), there is another form of BIM known as “intimate” BIM. This model involves the team members and the owner sharing the project rewards and risks. A combination of “intimate” and “social” BIMs enhances efficiency through reduction of the cost and time in the project and also in production of high quality drawings.
Each project actor can use the Building Information Modelling through the planning, design, construction and operation stages (Kenley, 2010). BIM can be used during the design phase since it has an influence on the cost of the project. The entire team can come together and analyze the projected issues which would otherwise incur extra costs to the owner. This can be done through cost-benefit analysis (CBA).
Kenley (2010) stated that at the design phase, the project engineer and architect are involved in energy analysis and also in testing of their design knowledge. Through the model, the construction manager can come up with value, sequencing and engineering reports. If the team comes up with a 3-dimensional plan, the owner can decide whether he/she likes the design before construction commences.
BIM can also be used at the construction phase for accurate building purposes. BIM can generate survey points for the sight which would allow for accurate positioning of hangers; this eases the work of the contractors (Lowe, 2009). Managers must also plan for transportation, fabrication, installation and coordination during construction; this information can be updated on the model.
According to Yazici (2010), BIM can also be used to monitor and plan for the workforce. The Laser Scanners of the 3D model are used to monitor the location of workers at the site and also monitoring the daily activities. Using the same model, deviations from the original plan can be detected and changes made before any damage.
At the post construction stage, space and asset management, building maintenance, disaster planning and management and record modeling facilitates easy building maintenance through its operation phase (Post, 2008). The model can be used to build system analysis based on lighting, energy and mechanical analysis. Moreover, the BIM can be used to upgrade the components of the building. The table on the following page shows the uses of BIM at each stage of project development:
Examining existing conditions
Estimation of costs
Site analysis and programming
Reviewing of design
Analysis of energy
Authoring of design
Site planning and utilization
3-D control and planning
Maintenance and scheduling
Analysis of building systems
Opportunities and Challenges of the Collaborative Approach
Whenever all the actors work together, the intensity of work is reduced. Conflict of interest and duplication of work is also minimized. Through BIM, all work done during construction can be monitored and corrections made in case of divergence from the existing plan; this minimizes emerging issues that would interfere with the whole process. Furthermore, all actors are satisfied due to transparency as they are involved in the whole process. Although collaboration is encouraged, it is undebatable that factors such as culture and consumerism would hinder full participation. Some designers would not be willing to share their materials and knowledge with engineers or architects and vice versa. The upcoming technology has also hindered collaboration as most of the work has been mechanized.
Case Study: Gensler Company Architecture
History and background
Gensler architecture was founded in the year 1965 by Drue and art Gensler and their associate James Follett. At that time the company’s main focus was corporate interiors but with time it has ventured into other numerous areas. They include: architecture and design of retail center, airport, education and recreation centers, urban planning and design, environmental graphic design, sustainable design consultation and brand strategy. The company has its headquarters in San Francisco, United States. The company is responsible for construction of major buildings all over the world and in 2000 it received an award for the architecture firm of the year from the American institute of architects. Structures like the Shanghai Tower in China, Facebook in London and The Avenues in Kuwait are products of this firm. As of today the company is home to a population of more than three thousand three hundred employees.
The company’s location is one of its strength, since it is easily accessible by customers from all over the world.
The company has built a strong brand that is recognized by people all over especially because of the breathtaking structures that they are associated with all over the globe.
Manpower- with the large number of employees in the company, there is delegation of duties which ensures that everyone produces their very best in the company.
Due to the various collaborations the company has with businesses dealing with interior design, manufacturers of construction materials and engineering companies they are able to come up with structures that are simply exquisite.
The company has a focused team in management meaning that the daily running of the business is under scrutiny and supervision of a very able team.
The company’s position in the architecture industry is also a major strength, since it is involved in setting standards in the industry.
Diversity- the company offers a variety of services having lately ventured into the health and wellness sectors which means they have a large and diverse source of revenue.
The company has not penetrated the markets in the world in the architecture industry. This means their market is not widespread and therefore there are parts in the world where no one has an idea that the company actually exists.
Dependence on material manufacturing companies- the firm does not produce is own material and therefore if anything goes wrong with the manufacture of materials, it could mean problems to the company.
Prices- the company charges prices that are considered expensive and hence some customers may prefer other companies to them.
The architectural industry is under rapid growth and being the best they can be able to maintain their standards and reap large profits.
Increased interest in real estate- all over the world, people have grown interest in the real estate business providing a booming market for architectural firms. This is a great opportunity for Gensler.
Developing countries- this is a great opportunity for Gensler since as a country develops, it requires lots of structures and infrastructure where the company comes in.
Interior design- this industry is growing rapidly and since Gensler also offers this services. It proves to be a great opportunity for the company.
The greatest threat for the company is competition. There is great competition in the architectural industry. The company’s main competitors are URS Corporation and HOK Groups Inc.
The other threat is government interference. Policies and regulations put in place by the government for construction of structures are a threat to the company.
Economic crisis- the current economic crisis that has hit the world is another major threat for the success and survival of the company.
Problems brought about by partnerships and collaborations with other businesses is another issue that poses a threat to the company’s success.
Technology- with the everyday of growth and change in technology, the company faces a challenge of keeping up with what’s new in technology.
Issues and challenges
Cultural variances are a challenge for the company since it has to meet a customer’s need despite differences in culture. The company also faces a great deal of problems when it comes to creating customer friendly costs and at the same time making enough profit to sustain the large task force. Managing the large number of staff and ensuring that every one delivers is another issue that is affecting the company.
Divided attention is also a problem though not a major one; it affects the company all the same. With the company venturing into different sectors, it become difficult to ensure every single one performs.
Economic crisis that has caused a recession recently is also a problem for Gensler.
The company should put up strategies that ensure that the company is not shaken by the economic crisis.
By ensuring that the staff is strictly professionally qualified in their area of work, the company will reduce the amount of supervision required and hence making employee management easier.
The company should also evaluate critically any business before getting into collaboration or partnerships with them.
One of the main reasons why the company has made it big in the very competitive industry is because they have encouraged collaboration with other sectors such as interior design unlike others who ensure that all the work is done by the architects.
Collins, R. (2011). “BIM for Safety, Virtual Design and Construction VDC Application.” Intelibuild
Kenley, R. (2010). Location-Based Management for Construction. Spon: New York
Lowe, R. H. (2009). Construction Lawyer28.1. Associated General Contractors of America.
Post, N. M. (2008). “Building Team Views Technological Tools as Best Chance For Change.” Engineering News Record.
Vardaro, M. J. (2009). “Weighing the Issues on BIM Technology.” Interview by Calvin Lee. Zetlin & DeChiara LLP Review. Web. May 2010
Yazici, O. C. (2010). “BIM, Scheduling and RFID.” Personal interview
Barrier Analysis is the technique used for identifying the harmful or hazardous effects associated with the harmful sources of energy. Barrier Analysis provides an equipment to study the unwanted flow of energy sources to the potential targets, people or objects, through the assessment of various barriers in order to prevent the dangerous energy flow.
Barrier analysis is an effective and efficient system safety tool used to identifying the risks associated with the defined sources of energy. The successively organized paradigm of this analysis provides reliable, rationally reasoned and independent findings about various hazards and barrier controls as compared to many other methods available for the analysis purpose.
Barrier analysis came into the picture to help experts analyze accidents and risks. Talking in general terms, the main use of a barrier is to prevent an action from happening or in other words provide a shield to the people that are a part of that environment, from the consequences. This report will highlight the relation between accidents and the barrier analysis by providing a technique to thoroughly search or investigate the accidents and safety programs. An accident can be described as the set of barriers that have failed, although the reason of failure will be mostly not included in the list of suspected causes. A barrier, in this respect, can be a hindrance, an obstruction or a hurdle that prevents an action to take place or reduces the impact of the harmful consequences. Barriers are important to be analyzed for understanding and prevention of accidents in two ways –
The fact that accident has occurred implies that one, or more, of the defined barriers failed. This can be either because they were dysfunctional (Polet, 2002) or they did not serve the purpose properly. The search of such barriers is therefore considered an important part in understand the cause of the accident
Once the anatomy of the accident has been analyzed and casual ways have been identified, the defined barriers can be used in order to prevent similar kinds of accidents that take place in the future. For this, the pattern needs to be determined.
Hence, the barrier analysis provides an effective way to consider the events that are related to the failure of a safety system (Livingston et al., 2001). However, it is not a system that is comprehensive enough to act as the sole safety analysis of the system as it may miss a few points due to system failures or human errors (Reason, 1992) while producing the results.
According to the Energy Theory or the Barrier Analysis, whenever there is a chance that the person or an object is approaching the energy flow or trying to come in contact with the environment state that can cause harm to the person or the object, it is required to isolate such environmental state or the energy flow.
As the Barrier Analysis technique is quite different from others, with a limit scope of analysis, it doesn’t fulfill all the requirements completely. But at the same time the technique is most often used to provide support to the system design hazard analysis type, preliminary design hazard analysis type or detailed design hazard analysis type. The technique is also known as the Energy Trace and Barrier Analysis or sometimes the Energy Trace Analysis.
Quite often it is seen that even if the source of energy is harmful, it cannot be removed from the system as it is an essential element of that designed system. Now here comes the role of barrier analysis. The purpose of the barrier analysis here is to identify these sources of energy and evaluate if the potential harms in the designed system can be considerably reduced with the use of relevant energy barriers. The analysis provides a simple tool to separate the energy source from the target to prevent it from the hazards. It acts as a powerful tool in the game of accident analysis and prevention. It should be known at the time of evaluation of the system that the undesirable source of energy coming from a single source is capable of affecting multiple targets. In such cases, there might be a requirement to use multiple barriers to save these multiple potential targets from dangers and provide them optimal safety.
The Barrier Analysis technique is executed by evaluating the source of energy, the energy flow paths that may be harmful for the system, and then identifying and creating the right barriers that must be placed in order to prevent the flow of energy from harming the person or the target equipment (here the target can be objects or people). In general, there are various types and ways of energy barriers that can be used in a designed system. The commonly known barriers are – procedural barrier, physical barrier or a time barrier. These barriers are created with a purpose to counteract the harmful effects of the energy paths in order to reduce the likelihood and severity of system/object damage or a personnel injury.
The type of analysis is generally used for all the types of systems with a goal that it is created to ensure consistent, effective, disciplined and efficient methods for the identification of hazards in the provided system. It is often used during the investigation of accidents in order to help understand the root cause of the incident and to study the damage conditions to ensure they do not occur in the future. The Barrier Analysis has fully devoted itself to overview the types of energy sources in the system, their attributes to understand if they are harmful; it is a tool to guide the discovery for the risks due to the energy sources that need more detailed analysis.
This tool is capable of fabricating detailed analysis report of risks in existing as well as new systems. By correctly and rationally identifying the energy flows into and out of the system, the Barrier analysis enables the growth of each of the sources of energy used in the system. A thorough knowledge and understanding of the sources of energy used in the system is important to get a clear picture of the complete system design and its behavior. The tool is pretty simple and easy to learn.
Barrier Analysis History
Although the concept was introduced more than 20 years ago, they have been only a few instances where the barrier concept was actually used. Haddon introduced the concept that the harmful effects of the flow of energy can be controlled by one of the provided barriers (Haddon, William Jr. 1973). The barriers can be listed as below:
Prevention of energy manufacturing or production
Reduction in the amount of energy like fuel storage, voltage
Preventing the release
Manipulating the rate of release, for example slow down the burning rate
Isolate in time or space, for example make the electric line go out of the reach
Strengthen the defined target, for example create earthquake proof buildings
Reorient persons and objects
Limit the extent of the damage caused, for example use of sprinklers
The barrier analysis is grounded on the concepts introduced by Haddon; these concepts were understood, adopted and improved by various other experts until the time this technique was used to give birth to a useful tool for the purpose of safety analysis.
Barrier Analysis Theory
The Barrier Analysis is based on the concept that when harmful and hazardous sources are present with in the environment, they act as a serious threat to certain targets. According to this theory, by placing effective barriers between these hazardous energy sources and the targets there is a chance to lessen the threat to these targets. In other words, when there is no isolation or a barrier between the source of energy and the target, it leads to disasters whereas placing a barrier between the energy flow and the target leads to a safe exit. In situations where there is no barrier placed, effective safety requirement should be created to launch and implement effective barriers.
To understand the theory of barriers, there was work done on the barriers subject called Management Oversight and Risk Tree (MORT) programme. The MORT approach (Knox & Eicher, 1983) defines a method for a complete investigation of accidents as well as a method to analyze safety programmes. This MORT barrier analysis (Trost & Nertney, 1985) is capable of discriminating between safety barriers and control barriers. The difference between the two types of barriers is that the control barriers are related to the wanted energy flow path and the safety barriers are related to the unwanted energy flow paths.
MORT even offers distinguishing between various types of barriers like: physical barriers, warning devices, design of equipment, procedures, and skills. Hence, it provides a more detailed distinction as compared to that given by Svenson (1991) and Kecklund et al. (1996) into human, organizational and technical barriers.
The process that revolves around this tool called barrier analysis is a thorough analysis of the energy sources that are involved in the system and the possible effect these sources have on the attributes present in the environment; these attributes can be any equipment or any personnel. Experts mainly carry out the barrier analysis using a worksheet or some sort of a form to provide documentation, structure and nature of the analysis and the consistency. There is so specific format that is used by the experts as all that matters is the data contained in the worksheet.
Most of the times, the worksheets, that come with columns, are used to help maintain focus and structure in the analysis. The basic information that should be contained in these analysis worksheets should be as following:
List of all the energy sources, present in the system, that provide a threat to the environment
Targets that are a part of this system and are prone to damage, of any sort, from these energy sources
Barriers, already in place, that are meant to control the energy sources to prevent targets from hazards
Barriers, not there already, that should have been placed to control the energy risks
Overall system risk for the energy sources – barrier risks.
While learning as a beginner to perform an analysis, following points should be considered in order to commit one or more problems:
Do not try to identify all the sources of energy present in the system
Do not evaluate the cascading outcome of the energy sources
Not understanding all the energy source paths
Not consider the entire system in one shot, rather take a narrow view of each of the energy paths.
The main ingredients of an accident are: the energy flow that causes the harm, the people who are the victim of this harm caused due to energy flow, lack of the barriers of failure of barrier system that are created to keep the accidents apart and the events that lead to the final accident situation. If all these mentioned ingredients are present in a place, accident has to happen; failure of one leads to prevention of accident.
Hence, the generic constituents of barrier analysis are the energy sources, the barriers and the targets. The forms the basis of the barrier analysis and each of these components must be clearly understood and inferred with reference to the context. The first step in the analysis is the identification of the energy sources. Once these sources have been found out, a problem analysis should be done to nail done the questions which help in understanding the hazardous elements in the design. Some of these questions can be like:
Have the hazardous sources of energy been identified?
What are the energy paths?
What are the potential targets?
What are the safety barriers?
Have the safety barriers been thoroughly identified?
The answers to these questions can be provided after acquiring the knowledge on the system design and its operation, knowledge on the system environmental variables and energy sources. The analysis process studies and verifies the authenticity of the engineered and the administrative barriers. Here the created safety attributes are considered as the hard barriers and the administrative controls like warning signs, safety procedures and the controlling checks are termed as the soft barriers. As it is difficult to deal with the hard barriers as compared to the soft barriers, the hard barriers are preferred over the soft option. But it doesn’t mean that soft barriers are not used at all; these may be used in certain conditions. Barriers can be categorized under various heads based on their location, function or type.
Barrier analysis Process
The technique that was used in the analysis of Barrier concept was to identify various tasks around the energy sources and the steps taken to achieve the goal.
Identifying the energy sources – in order to achieve this, it is required to study the system and identify all the possible harmful sources of energy. In this step, energy quantity and location should also be identified, whenever possible, to create the list of energy sources. To quote some examples, we have electromagnetic radiations, electricity, explosives and so on.
Identification of energy paths – all the potential energy flow path leading to the target should be identified that can act as a harmful source of energy. Target can be any object, environment or people.
Finding the multiple energy paths – there can be multiple energy flows, more than one dedicated energy flow, leading to the target that can cause a mishap. For an instance, electrical and mechanical functions of a fuse.
Defining targets – for each of the existing energy source, study its flow from the starting point till the end to identify all the possible targets that are likely to be harmed by the harmful energy sources.
Finding out the vulnerability of the defined targets – the vulnerability of the target should be identified. For an instance, faulty equipment might have very little impact on human but can damage another device say microprocessor.
Identifying of the safety barriers – this is the most important step in taking safety measures. All the probable barriers in the energy path from an energy source to the target should be identified. Also, study the effectiveness of all such barriers, the impact of the sudden failure of these barriers, reliability of the existing ones.
Evaluation of the system risk factor study the effect and the extent of harm caused to the target due to the energy flow, or multiple energy flows, to evaluate the risk factor. This analysis should be done with the potential barriers and without the barriers.
Determine the corrective measures – analyze if the barriers provided are effective and adequate for safety of target, else recommend the barriers that should be provided to reduce the risk factor and ensure the safety of the target from the energy sources. Also determine if there is a need to analyze the situation using other techniques to understand completely all the hazards and factors leading to accidents
Identify hazards – determine and track the hazards using a tracking tool
Document all the steps involved in the analysis and the findings
Advantages and Disadvantages
Barrier Analysis has provided huge contribution towards analysis of various energy sources and as a tool in preventing hazards.
Advantages of Barrier Analysis
In accident investigation, the tool has proved to be very useful in providing unbiased details on what went wrong which includes not only the physical barrier failures but also the failures of administrative controls. It also provides a visibility on the absence of barriers that should have been in place to avoid the accident.
In the field of safety analysis, it offers a common point for humans reliability experts, designers, safety analysts, so that they can all focus on one common goal towards achieving the effectiveness and failure of predicted accidental steps.
Disadvantage of Barrier Analysis
The only drawback of this tool is that while doing a predictive analysis for future, they might assume more amenability with the barriers than actually tends to happen.
A useful example of how barrier analysis was used to save the target from the hazards:
At the French Cadarache nuclear power plant, barrier analysis was used to evaluate the events that led to the release of various water contaminants in the environment. Sequence of events can be described as mentioned below:
Somebody forgot to turn off the tap after using the water to rinse his/her eyes
After a certain amount of time, water overflowed from the basin and spilled into the tank used for storage.
Tank slowly got filled up but the overflow alarm of the storage tank failed to function
When the storage tank also overflowed, the low level radiation tank also overflowed but the alarm for this one also failed.
As a consequence, a great quantity of water spilled on the flour and flowed into the sump
The pump of the sump was unfortunately connected to the rainwater tank rather than the industrial waste tank so the contaminants flowed in the wrong place.
Analyzing the system for energy source path flows, the barriers and the target, it can be clearly seen that although there were two barriers provided in the system they both failed to function. The first step was the omission of an action, which led the energy source, water in this case, reaches the target. This seems to be a failure of a symbolic barrier that could have been the instructions for using the tap. Although there were no functional barriers involved in this step, use of one could have saved the target. To suggest one, a timer that automatically turns off the tap after a time could have done the task for us.
Although the next two steps involved functional barriers, both failed. These could have been replaced with alternative barriers like having difference types of fittings in the two tanks and so on.
Likewise, there are many other applications and examples that used the Barrier Analysis to study the sources, the barriers and the targets in the provided system to ensure use of effective barriers.
The report contains an overview of the Barrier concept as applied by various experts and researchers. The aim of the report is to have an understanding of how the Barrier Analysis can be used to understand the various elements of a system to evaluate the nature of the barrier that is used or should have been use. By identifying the energy sources flow and the target, evaluation of barrier can be studied.
The process can be considered as the comprehensive hazard analysis and its effect on the various element of the environment like the objects and the personnel. The analysis is very simple and can be easily used to find out various threats to the system especially the targets that are at the receiving end. Barrier Analysis provides a pictorial view that helps many analysts and researchers to visualize the risk factor involved in the system. Moreover it is pretty inexperience, which makes it excel over other tools. Barrier analysis has the capability to easily recognize most of the energy sources and their flow path; to quote examples it can recognize sources like electricity, compressed gas and so on.
This combined with the accident analysis can be very helpful in learning the pattern of the accident which happened either because of failure of the existing barrier or because of the missing barrier. The retrospective analysis can be used as an effective tool for the predictive use so that the target can be prevented from the hazards.
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