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Volume 10, January

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Buildings, Volume 10, Issue 2 (February 2020) – 16 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Assessment regarding the impact of Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) on the residential market [...] Read more.
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Open AccessReview
A Utilitarian Decision—Making Approach for Front End Design—A Systematic Literature Review
Buildings 2020, 10(2), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10020034 - 19 Feb 2020
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Abstract
The complexity of construction processes often means interaction between various stakeholders, activities and tasks in order to deliver the expected outcomes. The intensity and dynamics of front-end design (FED) mean decision techniques and methods are important in supporting projects benefits delivery more importantly [...] Read more.
The complexity of construction processes often means interaction between various stakeholders, activities and tasks in order to deliver the expected outcomes. The intensity and dynamics of front-end design (FED) mean decision techniques and methods are important in supporting projects benefits delivery more importantly those based on utility of decision making. This paper explores a new utilitarian decision-making approach based on a systematic literature review of FED decision making. It presents the state of the art in design decision making concepts and analysis of tools over the last 10 years (2009–2019). From a total of 111 peer-reviewed journal papers, fifteen decision-making techniques are identified as dominant in design decision making, broadly grouped in four major categories as explanatory/rational, Multi Criteria Decision Making techniques (MCDM), Hybrid and Visual methods. The review finds that the most applied of the MCDM is Quality Function Deployment (QFD); while among the rational/explanatory techniques is set-based design (SBD). While there is limited application of Multi Attribute Utility Theory (MAUT) in decision making, the paper finds that the robust consistency and structured approach better captures the intricate dynamics of FED; including modelling of the subjectivity, interdependences and uncertainty in design discourse. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Identifying the Configuration Differences of Primary Schools with Different Administrative Affiliations in China
Buildings 2020, 10(2), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10020033 - 19 Feb 2020
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Abstract
Equalization of education facilities, which means the balanced distribution of human and material resources under limited resource conditions, is one of the goals of sustainable development. In the process of rapid urbanization in China, there are apparent discrepancies between urban and rural areas [...] Read more.
Equalization of education facilities, which means the balanced distribution of human and material resources under limited resource conditions, is one of the goals of sustainable development. In the process of rapid urbanization in China, there are apparent discrepancies between urban and rural areas because of different land and household registration systems. Primary schools with three types of different administrative affiliations also have significant distinctions. This study is aimed at assessing and comparing the configuration of primary schools with three different administrative affiliations, including cities, towns, and villages. After building an indicator system, the entropy weight method is applied to calculate the overall and category configuration scores of each school. Based on a spatial database, the ArcGIS thematic maps display the geography characteristic of each school in different geolocations. Moreover, the Kruskal–Wallis test identifies if the configuration of primary schools with different administrative affiliations is equal. The results indicate that the allocation of primary schools with three different administrative affiliations showed a ternary development. Moreover, although primary schools with city affiliation had significant advantages in education quality and convenience, their supply–demand conditions were not optimistic. In addition, the quality of the primary schools subordinate to towns was better, but convenience was generally lower. Finally, the quality of primary schools subordinate to villages and some towns was still poor. The results provide facts and a basis for policymakers to achieve an equity configuration in the sustainable development context. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Distribution of Concentrated Loads in Timber-Concrete Composite Floors: Simplified Approach
Buildings 2020, 10(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10020032 - 18 Feb 2020
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Abstract
Timber-concrete composite (TCC) solutions are not a novelty. They were scientifically referred to at the beginning of the 20th century and they have proven their value in recent decades. Regarding a TCC floor at the design stage, there are some assumptions, at the [...] Read more.
Timber-concrete composite (TCC) solutions are not a novelty. They were scientifically referred to at the beginning of the 20th century and they have proven their value in recent decades. Regarding a TCC floor at the design stage, there are some assumptions, at the standard level, concerning the action of concentrated loads which may be far from reality, specifically those associating the entire load to the beam over which it is applied. This naturally oversizes the beam and affects how the load is distributed transversally, affecting the TCC solution economically and mechanically. Efforts have been made to clarify how concentrated loads are distributed, in the transverse direction, on TCC floors. Real-scale floor specimens were produced and tested subjected to concentrated (point and line) loads. Moreover, a Finite Element (FE)-based model was developed and validated and the results were collected. These results show that the “loaded beam” can receive less than 50% of the concentrated point load (when concerning the inner beams of a medium-span floor, 4.00 m). Aiming at reproducing these findings on the design of these floors, a simplified equation to predict the percentage of load received by each beam as a function of the floor span, the transversal position of the beam, and the thickness of the concrete layer was suggested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structural Assessment of Timber Structures)
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Open AccessArticle
Urban Residential Building Energy Consumption by End-Use in Malawi
Buildings 2020, 10(2), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10020031 (registering DOI) - 18 Feb 2020
Viewed by 211
Abstract
Buildings account for about 40% of the global energy consumption and this energy demand is projected to continue growing over the next few decades. Residential buildings are responsible for over 60% of this consumption pattern with commercial buildings being responsible for the remainder. [...] Read more.
Buildings account for about 40% of the global energy consumption and this energy demand is projected to continue growing over the next few decades. Residential buildings are responsible for over 60% of this consumption pattern with commercial buildings being responsible for the remainder. While residential building energy consumption constitutes about 20% of the total consumption in the developed world, it constitutes up to more than 50% in the sub-Sahara African region. The growing consumption of energy has raised concerns over the impacts on the environment, supply difficulties, and depletion of resources. In efforts toward addressing these concerns, the need for effective management of energy resources and adequate planning for energy infrastructure cannot be overemphasized within the building industry in general and the residential building sector in particular. Toward this end, it is necessary to ensure that high quality and high-resolution information on the consumption of energy in buildings is made available. Unfortunately, in many countries within the sub-Sahara African region, building energy consumption information is hardly ever readily available. This study seeks to make a contribution toward this facet of the literature at the greater regional level in general and particularly, in Malawi, a country located in the southern part of Africa. With a grounding in the context of urban residential buildings, the study identifies the key energy end-uses, investigates the proportional mixes of the end-uses and the energy sources and, finally, establishes the periodical per capita energy consumption amounts for the end-uses and the typical residential building unit. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of Improved Strength Grading In Situ on Modelling Timber Strength Properties
Buildings 2020, 10(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10020030 - 18 Feb 2020
Viewed by 114
Abstract
The management and preservation of structures in our built environment are central and challenging tasks for practicing engineers. Within the CEN member states (European Committee for Standardization), the so-called Eurocodes form the basis of the design and verification of the load-bearing capacity of [...] Read more.
The management and preservation of structures in our built environment are central and challenging tasks for practicing engineers. Within the CEN member states (European Committee for Standardization), the so-called Eurocodes form the basis of the design and verification of the load-bearing capacity of structures. Current Eurocodes do not contain special recommendations for existing structures, meaning that the principles for new structures are applied. This can lead to an incorrect estimation of the load-bearing capacity within the semi-probabilistic safety concept. A central task within the investigation and evaluation of existing structures is the strength grading of the material in situ using non-/semi-destructive technical devices. Studies show the potential of the ultrasonic time-of-flight measurement in combination with visual evaluation for an improved grading. The information on the material from an improved grading technique can be used to update the material parameters as a target variable using a measured reference variable. In this contribution, test data from a partner project (spruce, pine, and oak) are analyzed, applying the stochastic grading model of Pöhlmann and Rackwitz. It can be shown that different grading techniques influence the updated distribution function of the material strength within the grade. The results depend on the timber species. Perspectives to develop updated models dependent on the knowledge available are shown and discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structural Assessment of Timber Structures)
Open AccessArticle
Towards Sustainable Heritage Tourism: A Space Syntax-Based Analysis Method to Improve Tourists’ Spatial Cognition in Chinese Historic Districts
Buildings 2020, 10(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10020029 - 14 Feb 2020
Viewed by 177
Abstract
Historical and cultural blocks in Chinese historic districts are important components of sustainable heritage tourism. In towns along the Grand Canal, historical and cultural blocks are generally integrated with modern commerce, forming a complex space characterized by multi-elements, multi-cultures, and multi-functions. The understanding [...] Read more.
Historical and cultural blocks in Chinese historic districts are important components of sustainable heritage tourism. In towns along the Grand Canal, historical and cultural blocks are generally integrated with modern commerce, forming a complex space characterized by multi-elements, multi-cultures, and multi-functions. The understanding of tourists’ spatial cognition thus becomes extremely important to support heritage conservation and encourage sustainable heritage tourism. This study proposes a space syntax-based methodology to help inform heritage consultants and urban designers in understanding the tourists’ spatial cognition of canal town cultural blocks, and thereby assists designers and managers in identifying where cognitive experiences can be improved. The proposed method is applied to Nanyang, which is a canal town currently in decline in Shandong Province, and is contrasted with the ancient town of Wuzhen in Zhejiang Province, China, a highly successful tourist town. By using this proposed method, the relationship between street networks and tourists’ spatial cognition has been explored. The results of the analysis were evaluated in order to inform a range of design concepts that could enhance the sustainable heritage tourism experience of these two towns. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Computer Aided Assembly of Buildings
Buildings 2020, 10(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10020028 - 13 Feb 2020
Viewed by 170
Abstract
This article presents an interactive method of computer-aided assembly planning. It is estimated that such planning will be more and more desirable due to the increasing use of prefabrication in construction. Prefabrication meets the trends of sustainable development and digitization as it enables [...] Read more.
This article presents an interactive method of computer-aided assembly planning. It is estimated that such planning will be more and more desirable due to the increasing use of prefabrication in construction. Prefabrication meets the trends of sustainable development and digitization as it enables the application of intelligent control systems at the stage of highly specialized production, assembly and facility maintenance. The presented planning method is based on the Monte Carlo simulations and logical algorithms for assembly work planning. It was determined on the basis of the literature studied and our own observations. The paper introduces a detailed model of assembly works planning and is an example of using a computer application developed on the basis of the described model. The example confirms the correctness of the algorithm and indicates its usefulness in the scope of analyzing many decision variants. Further research on labor productivity rates for assembly works, implementation of digital databases of assembly machines and prefabricated elements, as well as integration of the proposed application with the BIM environment should make it easier to commercialize the developed application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Engineering: the Challenges - Trends - Achievements)
Open AccessArticle
The Relevance of EPC Labels in the Spanish Residential Market: The Perspective of Real Estate Agents
Buildings 2020, 10(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10020027 - 12 Feb 2020
Viewed by 233
Abstract
Assessment regarding the impact of Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) on the residential market is largely inconclusive; while the majority of hedonic analyses have found EPC ratings to be correlated with prices, opinion-based research has found a negligible impact on prices and other marketing [...] Read more.
Assessment regarding the impact of Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) on the residential market is largely inconclusive; while the majority of hedonic analyses have found EPC ratings to be correlated with prices, opinion-based research has found a negligible impact on prices and other marketing variables. Using the opinion of qualified real estate agents, this paper explores whether, in Spain, EPC labels play any role in housing marketing, as well as the policy changes required to foster efficient dwellings. The results reveal a large misunderstanding of the EPC labels, since they are seen as a global home-quality indicator, while their impact on residential marketing is quite poor. Apparently, both supply and demand place a small interest in energy performance, although it is slightly larger for sellers/buyers in relation to lenders/tenants. In any case, EPC labels are far from blurring the energy information asymmetry, since most of the buyers/tenants are informed of the EPC rating after having selected their home. Overall, the EPC scheme has a poor reputation exacerbated by inaccuracies, unintelligible units to express the financial and environmental implications of energy efficiency, and an apparent weak supervision. These findings stress the need to improve the scheme; in doing so, realtors suggest the need for some companion policies. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Assessing Cement Stabilized Rammed Earth Durability in A Humid Continental Climate
Buildings 2020, 10(2), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10020026 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 194
Abstract
The article compared the test results of a number of features determining the durability of rammed earth durability in a humid continental climate. The results of wet to dry compressive strength ratio, frost resistance, linear shrinkage, resistance to erosion under the influence of [...] Read more.
The article compared the test results of a number of features determining the durability of rammed earth durability in a humid continental climate. The results of wet to dry compressive strength ratio, frost resistance, linear shrinkage, resistance to erosion under the influence of a stream of pressurized water, and resistance to erosion under the influence of cyclic wetting and drying were presented. All of the tests were done on the same soil-cement mixture. On this basis, it was determined which of the methods of durability assessment is more and which is less restrictive. A new method for assessing the durability of CSRE in a humid continental climate has been proposed, which is the frost resistance test. This test is determined by the method that is described in the national annex of the European concrete standard of one of the temperate climate countries. The article also shows that a minimum of 9% of the cement additive and a soil mixture containing a gravel fraction are required, in order to ensure adequate rammed earth durability in a humid continental climate (i.e., frost resistance). Full article
Open AccessArticle
Indoor and Outdoor Concentrations of Particulate Matter in an Airport Terminal Building: A Pilot Study at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Indonesia
Buildings 2020, 10(2), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10020025 - 07 Feb 2020
Viewed by 265
Abstract
The air quality inside airport terminal buildings is a lesser studied area compared to ambient air quality at the airport. The contribution of outdoor particulate matter (PM), aircraft traffic, and passenger traffic to indoor PM concentration is not well understood. Using the largest [...] Read more.
The air quality inside airport terminal buildings is a lesser studied area compared to ambient air quality at the airport. The contribution of outdoor particulate matter (PM), aircraft traffic, and passenger traffic to indoor PM concentration is not well understood. Using the largest airport in Southeast Asia as the study site (extends 17.9 square kilometers), the objective of this paper is to conduct a preliminary analysis to examine the mass concentrations of fine particles, including PM1 and PM2.5, and coarse particles PM2.5–10 inside a four-story terminal building spanning 400,000 square meters in Jakarta, Indonesia. The results showed the indoor/outdoor (I/O) ratio of 0.42 for PM1 with 15-min time lag and 0.33 for PM2.5 with 30-min time lag. The aircraft traffic appeared to have a significant impact on indoor PM1 and PM2.5, whereas the passenger traffic showed an influence on indoor PM2.5–10. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Use of TLS (LiDAR) for Building Diagnostics with the Example of a Historic Building in Karlino
Buildings 2020, 10(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10020024 - 06 Feb 2020
Viewed by 340
Abstract
This article presents the use of TLS (LiDAR) measurement for the evaluation of the technical conditions of a historic building. A FARO M70 laser scanner was used in the study. The measurements was taken as an RCP point cloud. The measurement allowed to [...] Read more.
This article presents the use of TLS (LiDAR) measurement for the evaluation of the technical conditions of a historic building. A FARO M70 laser scanner was used in the study. The measurements was taken as an RCP point cloud. The measurement allowed to partially determine the cause of the building damage. The performed measurement allows to propose a precise solution that could be pre-fabricated. The study shows the usefulness of TLS in building diagnostics. Improper measurement could lead to a wrong solution and a certain degree of uncertainty. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Dynamic Assessment of Axial Load in Tie-Rods by Means of Acoustic Measurements
Buildings 2020, 10(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10020023 - 05 Feb 2020
Viewed by 330
Abstract
Tie-rods are structural elements of crucial importance in ancient buildings to ensure structural integrity and safety, so the assessment of their effectiveness via an estimation of the axial load is of great importance. Dynamic techniques are often employed using accelerometers to measure the [...] Read more.
Tie-rods are structural elements of crucial importance in ancient buildings to ensure structural integrity and safety, so the assessment of their effectiveness via an estimation of the axial load is of great importance. Dynamic techniques are often employed using accelerometers to measure the frequency response of the tie-rods. In this work, the frequency response of tie-rods is obtained with acoustic recording, thus introducing general-purpose microphones to potentially replace more expensive and complex sensors in this application. Two microphones were tested, one of known technical characteristics, and a second for which they were unknown. A procedure was designed to overcome the technical limitations of the latter, and two experimental campaigns were conducted to test the proposed method. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating the Influence of Varied External Shading Elements on Internal Daylight Illuminances
Buildings 2020, 10(2), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10020022 - 03 Feb 2020
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Abstract
This paper presents an assessment and comparison of the effects of static and kinetic external shading elements on the dynamic measurement of daylighting. For this purpose, we used a method and parametric tool developed previously for the design and analysis of external shading [...] Read more.
This paper presents an assessment and comparison of the effects of static and kinetic external shading elements on the dynamic measurement of daylighting. For this purpose, we used a method and parametric tool developed previously for the design and analysis of external shading elements in buildings. The proposed approach was used to compare static and dynamic movement scenarios for achieving optimal internal adjusted useful daylight illuminances (AUDI). The current paper presents the results of a methodical analysis, which compared various types of louvers in static and dynamic operation scenarios for a typical office in a Mediterranean climate. The results show that dynamically adjusted louvers perform notably better than fixed or seasonally adjusted modes of operation. The results show that dynamic operation scenarios can increase the AUDI by up to 51%. The results also show that in some conditions the existing rules of thumb fail to predict the correct design approach to louver geometry and that the use of rules of thumb in architectural daylight design needs to be revaluated. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Impact of Smart Monitoring on Energy Savings in a Social Housing Residence
Buildings 2020, 10(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10020021 - 30 Jan 2020
Viewed by 336
Abstract
Energy consumption in the social housing sector constitutes a major economic, social, and environmental issue, because in some countries such as France, social housing accounts for about 19% of the housing sector. In addition, this sector suffers from ageing, which results in high [...] Read more.
Energy consumption in the social housing sector constitutes a major economic, social, and environmental issue, because in some countries such as France, social housing accounts for about 19% of the housing sector. In addition, this sector suffers from ageing, which results in high energy consumption, deterioration in the occupant quality of life, and high pressure on the budget of low-income occupants. The reduction of the energy consumption in this sector becomes a “must”. This reduction can be achieved through energy renovation and innovation in both energy management and occupant involvement by using smart technology. This paper presents a contribution to this goal through the investigation of the impact of smart monitoring on energy savings. The research is based on monitoring of comfort conditions in an occupied social housing residence in the North of France and the use of building thermal numerical modeling. Results of monitoring show that the indoor temperature largely exceeds the regulations requirements and the use of a smart system together with occupant involvement could lead to significant savings in heating energy consumption. The novelty in this paper concerns the use of comfort data from occupied social housing residence, occupation conditions, and building thermal modeling to estimate energy savings. The proposed methodology could be easily implemented to estimate heating energy savings in social housing buildings that lack individual energy consumption monitoring. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Suitability of Eye Tracking in Assessing the Visual Perception of Architecture—A Case Study Concerning Selected Projects Located in Cologne
Buildings 2020, 10(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10020020 - 26 Jan 2020
Viewed by 445
Abstract
This article discusses the visual perception of selected buildings located in the historic centre of Cologne, Germany, that have been designed by outstanding architects. It presents eye-tracking research, both from a theoretical perspective and that of its application potential in, among other fields, [...] Read more.
This article discusses the visual perception of selected buildings located in the historic centre of Cologne, Germany, that have been designed by outstanding architects. It presents eye-tracking research, both from a theoretical perspective and that of its application potential in, among other fields, psychology, management, architecture and urban planning. It also presents an experiment which was performed to evaluate the suitability of eye tracking in the assessment of the visual perception of architecture and its surroundings, utilising the case study method and members of Generation Z as the subject population. Analysis of the experiment’s results enabled the authors to formulate commentary on findings concerning typically observed attractors and distractors in the perception of architecture and its surroundings depending on context-specific conditions. The study provided evidence of the suitability of eye tracking in the assessment of the visual perception of works of architecture and indicated the possibility of continuing research concerning the assessment and shaping of the state of awareness and knowledge of architecture and urban planning, which can significantly affect public participation in urban governance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Engineering: the Challenges - Trends - Achievements)
Open AccessArticle
Seismic Response of a Structure Equipped with an External Viscous Damping System
Buildings 2020, 10(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10020019 (registering DOI) - 22 Jan 2020
Viewed by 380
Abstract
The aim of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of a seismic retrofit technique that involves the introduction of energy dissipation devices properly connected to an existing structure through a system of cables and levers, which are employed to amplify total or [...] Read more.
The aim of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of a seismic retrofit technique that involves the introduction of energy dissipation devices properly connected to an existing structure through a system of cables and levers, which are employed to amplify total or inter-story drift at device end. One of the main topics related to the introduction of energy dissipation devices, lies in the choice of their optimal setting within the structure to maximize the effectiveness without producing functionality limitations. The achievement of these objectives is, therefore, linked, regardless of the type adopted, to the amount of energy dissipated in each cycle, directly proportional to the displacement magnitude to which the device is subject. Many configurations proposed in the literature and currently adopted in professional practice provide additional dissipation systems variously connected to braces installed inside the structural frame and, therefore, able to exploit the inter-story drift produced by seismic input. The proposed system exploits top displacements of the structure with respect to the foundation level, transferred to the device through a system of cables properly configured and amplified with leverage. This paper represents the first step of the research, in which simple single degree of freedom (SDOF) or two degrees of freedom (2-DOF) models are taken into account to evaluate the effects of the introduction of the proposed system in terms of reducing the seismic demand on the structure, proceeding to a parametric analysis to obtain initial indications for the design of the system in relation to the geometric and inertial characteristics of the original structure. Full article
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