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Integrating Building Information Modelling with Life-Cycle Assessment and Life-Cycle Costing: An exploration into the potentials of an integrated LCA-LCC application with BIM for the determination and optimisation of environmental impact and cost analysis of construction materials during early design stages

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Last Updated: 3-2021

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PURPOSE

Life-cycle Thinking (LCT) is gaining a prominent role in building design assessment for improving the design, generally from environmental and economic perspectives. Also, building information modelling (BIM) has become a powerful tool to make these analyses fast, easy and accurate. However, currently, there is a lack of building design assessment applications, which can be applied for the assessment of environmental and economic impact within different stages of design simultaneously. Furthermore, project participants generally lack an understanding of the results of the assessment applications, which can lead to misinterpretation of the results and potential deficient decision-making. Therefore, the primary objective of this study is to show that a BIM-based LCA and LCC application enables designers to optimise their designs based on well-considered environmental and economic decisions.

METHODOLOGY

The research aims to establish a BIM-based building assessment application that integrates the methodologies of Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life-Cycle Costing (LCC) to calculate the environmental and economic impact of building materials in design in the early design stages. To enhance the application of LCA and LCC in the early design stages, a user-friendly application was developed that enables designers to comprehend the embodied impacts of their designs quickly. It can be used in both the conceptual design stage and the developed design stage.

FINDINGS

The case study shows that the developed application can provide results for both LCA and LCC assessment related to the environmental and economic impact of a building at the same time in the early design stage. Besides, IFC-extracts could be interpreted, and results were presented through an intuitive user interface. It can also provide component recommendations in the developed design stage. This application can be used by designers, project managers and suppliers addressing their particular focus and preferences.

ORIGINALITY

This thesis has tried to illustrate the importance of integrating BIM within LCA and LCC approaches at the early stages of a design in order to assess the embodied environmental and economic impact of building elements. The proposed application differs from other BIM, LCA and LCC integrated solutions since it generates results based on the environmental and economic impact of an IFC-model. Subsequently and most important, the application provides the users feedback on how to optimise their design by providing material selections based on environmental and economic impacts.

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