The Building Lifecycle

Lecture Week 2 given by Paul Osmond 2/8/16

Building life cycle: 4 main stages


Below, we look at “shearing layers” which all have varying rates of change and show how critical it is to get the “site” component and “skin” components correct as change to them will be major and akin to starting again.

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In general (and for non residential buildings), the operating CO2 emissions for a building ar around 15 – 18% of the CO2 emissions involved in constructing the building, which shows that after  afound ~6 years, the operational requirements of the building are greater than that of the construction requirements. It is therefore important to consider operational energy requirements early, as using more energy in creating a building that is more sustainable in its operation will overall have lower CO2 emissions.

Lifecycle tools (approaches):

  • operational carbon
  • decision guidance
  • embodied carbon
  • lifecycle inventory
  • lifecycle assessment
  • lifecycle cost

We therefore need to design and build with adaptability, flexibility, dissasembly, recycling and deconstruction in mind to reduce waste and to increase building life.

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Capex – capital expediture (inital building costs)

Opex – operational expenditure (operation, maintenance, cleaning, refurbishment costs)

Extra costs in the Capex stage, for more sustainable practices, can reduce overall Opex costs but that capital must be there to begin with. In generall, there is a disconnect between these 2 costs.

Maintenance  and Maintainability

Building maintenance may be defined as “work undertaken in order to keep, restore, or improve every part of the building, its services and surrounds, to currently accepted standards, and to sustain the utility and value of the building”

-British Standards Institute

Types of Maintenance:

  • backlog
  • corrective
  • deffered
  • preventative

The earlier maintenance occurs, i.e. regular maintenance, the cheaper the cost (and generally, the time). Waiting until something actually goes wrong can cost substantially more to fix than regular maintenance will cost.

Maintainability is “The ability of an item, under conditions of use, to be retained in or restored to a state in which it can perform its required functions, when maintenance is performed under stated conditions and using prescribed procedures and resources” -British Standards Institute

Practical issues with maintainability (Green Star):

  • Access and configuration
  • Physical access to building services
  • Ability to remove/install plant with minimal disruption
  • Configuration/access for cleaning/painting
  • Storage space for maintenance materials
  • Adequate lighting for maintenance

Green Star Requirements

  • Internal & external building fabric
    • Resistance to soiling
    • Properties of surfaces which affect ability to clean
    • Properties which affect ability to apply surface finishes
    • Chemical use requirements/availability
    • Renewing/reapplying surface finishes
    • Simplicity for product preparation
    • Ease of clean-up
  • Modularity & repairability of key components
    • Repairability in preference to replacement
    • Modularity to facilitate removal and replacement
    • Standardisation and availability of parts
    • Provision of fault detection and isolation points
    • Ability of BMS to incorporate additional controls and be reprogrammed

The 5 R’s

  • Repair implies reinstatement of the original features / function of something (i.e. part of maintenance).
  • Retrofitting is defined here as adding something to an existing building, often requiring only minor works, whereas refurbishment involves modifying an existing building, sometimes extensively.
  • The term renovation is often used interchangeably with refurbishment – if there is a difference, it is that renovation refers specifically to buildings.
  • Finally, adaptive reuse implies a new use for an existing building, and the design and construction work required to make it happen.

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“Disposal of buildings in most industrial and emerging industrial countries is wasteful and problematic. Waste from building demolition (partial demolition for renovation, or total demolition for building removal) represents 30-50% of total waste in most of these countries. Deconstruction is an alternative to demolition. It calls for buildings to be dismantled or disassembled, and for the components to be reused or recycled … Deconstruction preserves the invested embodied energy of materials, thus reducing inputs of new embodied energy during materials reprocessing or remanufacturing … Closing construction materials loops will require including both product design and deconstruction in a process that might be called “design for deconstruction and disassembly” (Kilbert, 2003).

Further References

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