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BIM-based Integrated Assessments of Designs for Circularity, Environmental and Financial Impacts

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Last Updated: 11-2021

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Construction industry is one of the well-known sectors harming the environment in many ways such as consuming energy, exploiting resources and generating waste. As a result of this global problem, a vast body of research, now, reflects deep concern with related concepts such as life cycle assessment, lifecycle costing and circular economy. Drawing on the principles of these current concepts, this study aimed to develop a holistic framework in which circularity, environmental and financial aspects are integrated and then implemented into a practical BIM software in Revit.

There is a need in the AEC industry to combine LCA, LCC and MCI. Currently, there are several different software and tools to assess circularity, environmental and financial impacts of projects separately but none of them takes all three into account at the same time. Since the solutions are scattered across multiple platforms and solutions, it makes the process of assessment and evaluation complicated and time consuming. The architects and engineers working on their design proposals cannot conduct these assessments easily to test how well their designs perform on each aspect. This situation, most of the time, causes these assessments to be made at the end of the design process when everything is already decided. The possibility of making changes and design iterations decreases significantly. When these three aspects are considered together such obstacles can be overcome and designs that are more resource conscious and environmentally friendly can be reached.

In order to combine circularity indicators, costs and environmental impacts of a design, a BIM software tool was developed and named CECC tool (Circularity, Embodied Carbon and Costs). With the creation of such a plugin, the assessment process can be done in real-time in Revit and outcomes of changes in the design can be obtained and observed immediately inside the software. It can be stated that the generation of the assessment results and the calculations take much less time since there is no extra effort for extracting BIM data and then uploading it in a different environment. Also, since the changes in the BIM model will affect the results of the assessment in real-time, the architects and engineers can make modifications on their model and try to achieve a better design solution by checking the updated results of each design iteration.

It can be stated that all parties that are involved in a construction project can benefit from this framework. Stakeholders such as the client and investor will be able to comply with the environmental requirements for their projects while avoiding unforeseen costs. On the other hand, the architects and engineers will have guidance on how to check the performance of their designs.

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