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Buildings, Volume 10, Issue 3 (March 2020) – 25 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The intermeshed steel connection (ISC) is a radically new connection approach for gravity, [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
A Calculation Method for Interconnected Timber Elements Using Wood-Wood Connections
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030061 - 20 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1422
Abstract
Wood-wood connections, widely used in the past, have been progressively replaced by steel fasteners in timber constructions. Currently, they can be manufactured and implemented more efficiently thanks to digital fabrication techniques. In addition, with the emergence of new timber plate engineered products, digitally [...] Read more.
Wood-wood connections, widely used in the past, have been progressively replaced by steel fasteners in timber constructions. Currently, they can be manufactured and implemented more efficiently thanks to digital fabrication techniques. In addition, with the emergence of new timber plate engineered products, digitally produced wood-wood connections have been developed with a strong focus on complex free-form geometries. The gained knowledge through research and building implementations have pushed the development of more standardized structural elements. As a result, this work presents a new concept of building components using through tenon connections based on the idea of transportable flat-packs directly delivered and assembled on site. The main objective of this research is to develop a convenient calculation model for practice that can capture the semi-rigid behavior of the connections and predict the effective bending stiffness of such structural elements. A case study is used as a reference with three large-scale slabs of a 8.1 m span. Bending and vibration tests are performed to study the mechanical behavior and assess the proposed calculation method. The results show the high influence of the semi-rigid behavior of connections on the bending properties and, therefore, on the serviceability limit state. The model is in good agreement with the test results, and further improvements can be made regarding the local behavior of the connection. This study demonstrates the feasibility of the proposed construction system and the applicability of the developed calculation model to design practice. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling of an Aerogel-Based “Thermal Break” for Super-Insulated Window Frames
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030060 - 18 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1209
Abstract
Research activities in the field of innovative fixtures are continuously aiming at increasing their thermal and optical performances to offer optimal exploitation of daylight and solar gains, providing effective climate screen, according to increasing standards for indoor comfort and energy saving. Within this [...] Read more.
Research activities in the field of innovative fixtures are continuously aiming at increasing their thermal and optical performances to offer optimal exploitation of daylight and solar gains, providing effective climate screen, according to increasing standards for indoor comfort and energy saving. Within this work, we designed an innovative aerogel-based “thermal break” for window frames, so as to consistently reduce the frame conductance. Then, we compared the performance of this new frame both with currently used and obsolete frames, present in most of the existing building stock. Energy savings for heating and cooling were assessed for different locations and confirmed the potential role played by super-insulating materials in fixtures for extremely rigid climates. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Experimental Investigation of Adhesion Failure between Waterproof Coatings and Terrace Tiles under Usage Loads
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030059 - 17 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1027
Abstract
This paper analyses the mechanism of the loss of functional properties of water-impermeable products used under ceramic tiles bonded with adhesives. Recorded damages were caused by selected ageing factors and were measured by the loss of adhesion of individual layers of the set. [...] Read more.
This paper analyses the mechanism of the loss of functional properties of water-impermeable products used under ceramic tiles bonded with adhesives. Recorded damages were caused by selected ageing factors and were measured by the loss of adhesion of individual layers of the set. The analyzed phenomenon is found mainly on terraces and balconies located in a mid-European transitional climate, i.e., exposed to temperatures passing through 0 °C for three seasons a year. The tests reflected the action of three main functional factors, i.e., temperatures, water and freeze/thaw cycles. Tested waterproof coatings were grouped into three types, i.e., dispersion, cementitious and reaction resin-based products. Research kits consisted of liquid-applied water-impermeable products laid on a concrete substrate, adhesives and tiles. Comparing the effects of the action of the above-mentioned ageing factors revealed that water has the greatest impact on the reduction of the tensile adhesion strength of such sets. The adhesion of waterproof coatings to the concrete substrate showed higher values than the adhesion between the waterproof coating and the tile adhesive layers, regardless of the coating material. Both for samples not exposed to ageing factors, and for those exposed to such impacts, failure usually occurred in the adhesive layer or between the tile adhesive and the waterproof coating, without damaging the waterproof layer. The loss of adhesion of finishing layers to the substrate was not accompanied by a loss of tightness of the waterproof coating. The impact of negative water ageing was particularly destructive on the adhesion of cement-based tile adhesives to waterproof coatings made of polymer with a water dispersion of absorbability above 7% (V/V). There was no correlation among the results of adhesion of the finishing layers to the waterproofing layer after the action of the three ageing factors, i.e., water contact, elevated temperature and freeze/thaw cycles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Building Material Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
Living Environment Quality Determinants, Including PM2.5 and PM10 Dust Pollution in the Context of Spatial Issues—The Case of Radzionków
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030058 - 14 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1217
Abstract
This article discusses living environment determinants in Central and Eastern Europe. It is based on a case study of the city of Radzionków, which has 16 thousand inhabitants and is located in the Silesian agglomeration in southern Poland. Hard coal has been mined [...] Read more.
This article discusses living environment determinants in Central and Eastern Europe. It is based on a case study of the city of Radzionków, which has 16 thousand inhabitants and is located in the Silesian agglomeration in southern Poland. Hard coal has been mined in this area for almost two hundred years, and it is the main fuel used for central heating. A total of 360 buildings, divided into groups of 60 buildings each, were investigated in the selected city. Three distinct areas were distinguished in terms of living environment quality, depending on building technical condition, heating method and location. These qualities were found to be largely determined by site-specific spatial and geophysical conditions. A significant portion of the literature was found to ignore the spatial factors mentioned in this paper, instead focusing primarily on statistical data concerning pollution. This study examines site-specific variables and presents differences in air pollution levels as examined in relation to the morphological structure of development, the degree of building modernisation and heating system types. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Engineering: the Challenges - Trends - Achievements)
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Open AccessArticle
In-Plane Shear Resistance between the Rammed Earth Blocks with Simple Interventions: Experimentation and Finite Element Study
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030057 - 13 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1069
Abstract
The paper presents experimental and numerical works to assess the in-plane shear characteristics of rammed earth (RE) structures in Bhutan. The material characterization works involve compressive and tensile splitting strength tests on extracted cylindrical core samples. The effects of the RE layer thickness [...] Read more.
The paper presents experimental and numerical works to assess the in-plane shear characteristics of rammed earth (RE) structures in Bhutan. The material characterization works involve compressive and tensile splitting strength tests on extracted cylindrical core samples. The effects of the RE layer thickness and drying period in the strength characteristics of the rammed earth is presented. The main experimental part reports in-plane shear tests on 3 test specimens, 1200 mm long, 1200 mm high, and 600 mm wide. The test matrix has unreinforced and reinforced specimens with variable RE layer thicknesses. For the reinforced RE specimen, the effectiveness of a simple intervention with insertion of reinforced concrete dowel at the RE block interface as a strengthening measure is discussed. Furthermore, corresponding finite element models were developed to verify the test observations. Both the experimental observations and numerical computations showed the effectiveness of proposed intervention technique in enhancing the shear strength and delaying the slip along the RE joint interface. The results showed that the shear strength of the reinforced specimen increased by 12.3% over the benchmark specimen. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Concept of the Development of Riverside Embankment in the Context of Cracow (A Local Centre)
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030056 - 13 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1179
Abstract
The subject of this article is the presentation of site conditions and the authors’ concept of the development of the degraded riverside area located in the city of Cracow-Kraków Zabłocie. The concept transforms the above-named area into a multifunctional complex including museum, coworking, [...] Read more.
The subject of this article is the presentation of site conditions and the authors’ concept of the development of the degraded riverside area located in the city of Cracow-Kraków Zabłocie. The concept transforms the above-named area into a multifunctional complex including museum, coworking, business and hotel functions. The area subject to development borders three important districts of Cracow: Old Town (Stare Miasto), Grzegórzki and Podgórze on the bank of the Vistula (Wisła) river. In the land development and urban planning documents of the city of Cracow this area has been marked as the public space which is to become a local focal point or a local centre. The main objective of this work was to find answers to the posed research questions concerning the historic context, formal and legal state, significance for the community as well as economic and ecological implications of the area to be developed. The main purpose was to properly develop the degraded riverside embankment in the downtown environment. The research method was based on own mixed method which encompassed the studies of historical literature and the legal–formal status as well as in situ examinations, including the analyses of the condition of the built and natural environment, traffic and circulation as well as photographic documentation. The authors also familiarised themselves with the activities undertaken by the local community with a view to the area’s regeneration. On the grounds of initial investigations, the SWOT analysis was performed and the evaluation of groups of prospective users was conducted. Comparative studies were conducted including selected examples of European riverside development projects. In its assumptions, the proposed concept of the riverside development in Kraków-Zabłocie is to meet the needs of the local community, enable further development of tourism, which is very important to Cracow, and satisfy the paradigm of sustainable development. The effect is a multi-functional complex that becomes an inherent part of the existing context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Engineering: the Challenges - Trends - Achievements)
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Open AccessArticle
The Impacts of Air Leakage Paths and Airtightness Levels on Air Change Rates
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030055 - 12 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1208
Abstract
Southern European countries have milder climatic conditions that differ from their colder northern counterparts, which greatly influence indoor ventilation strategies. The relation between a building’s airtightness and the air change rates remains a topic to be fully tackled in these countries, since natural [...] Read more.
Southern European countries have milder climatic conditions that differ from their colder northern counterparts, which greatly influence indoor ventilation strategies. The relation between a building’s airtightness and the air change rates remains a topic to be fully tackled in these countries, since natural ventilation is very frequent. In this work, the ventilation and airtightness of a case study were analyzed in-depth to support a discussion on this topic. CO2 concentration decay and blower-door measurements were used to characterize the infiltration and ventilation conditions of the case study. The case study represents a common Portuguese situation, with highly permeable envelopes, combined with highly variable air change rates. Transient simulations were carried out for the comparison of scenarios where different configurations of possible air paths were analyzed. The simulations included both natural and mechanical ventilation scenarios. An air sweeping effect from bedroom to bathroom only occurred when the mechanical extraction ventilation (MEV) was on. Different air leakage path configurations resulted in substantial offsets, up to 63%, of the air change rate (ACH) due to natural occurring forces. The results confirmed that the relation between airtightness and air change rates should be carefully analyzed in southern European countries, as indoor air quality, comfort of occupants, and energy efficiency are highly influenced by the considered variables. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Steel and Concrete Construction Frames: A Case Study of Two Residential Buildings in Iran
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030054 - 12 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1397
Abstract
Given the fact that during the recent years the majority of buildings in Iran have been constructed either on steel or concrete frames, it is essential to investigate the environmental impacts of materials used in such constructions. For this purpose, two multi-story residential [...] Read more.
Given the fact that during the recent years the majority of buildings in Iran have been constructed either on steel or concrete frames, it is essential to investigate the environmental impacts of materials used in such constructions. For this purpose, two multi-story residential buildings in Tehran with a similar function have been considered in this study. One building was constructed with a steel frame and the other was constructed with a concrete frame. Using the life cycle assessment tool, a complete analysis of all the stages of a building’s life cycle from raw material acquisition to demolition and recycling of wastes was carried out. In this research, the environmental impacts included global warming potential in 100 years, acidification, eutrophication potential, human toxicity (cancer and non-cancer effects), resource depletion (water and mineral), climate change, fossil fuel consumption, air acidification and biotoxicity. It could be concluded from the results that the total pollution of the concrete frame in all eleven aforementioned impact factors was almost 219,000 tonnes higher than that of the steel frame. Moreover, based on the results, the concrete frame had poorer performance in all but one impact factor. With respect to global warming potential, the findings indicated there were two types of organic and non-organic gases that had an impact on global warming. Among non-organic emissions, CO2 had the biggest contribution to global warming potential, while among organic emissions, methane was the top contributor. These findings suggest the use of steel frames in the building industry in Iran to prevent further environmental damage; however, in the future, more research studies in this area are needed to completely investigate all aspects of decision on the choice of building frames, including economic and social aspects. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Durability and Climate Change—Implications for Service Life Prediction and the Maintainability of Buildings
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030053 - 12 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1179
Abstract
Sustainable building practices are rooted in the need for reliable information on the long-term performance of building materials; specifically, the expected service-life of building materials, components, and assemblies. This need is ever more evident given the anticipated effects of climate change on the [...] Read more.
Sustainable building practices are rooted in the need for reliable information on the long-term performance of building materials; specifically, the expected service-life of building materials, components, and assemblies. This need is ever more evident given the anticipated effects of climate change on the built environment and the many governmental initiatives world-wide focused on ensuring that structures are not only resilient at their inception but also, can maintain their resilience over the long-term. The Government of Canada has funded an initiative now being completed at the National Research Council of Canada’s (NRC) Construction Research Centre on “Climate Resilience of Buildings and Core Public infrastructure”. The outcomes from this work will help permit integrating climate resilience of buildings into guides and codes for practitioners of building and infrastructure design. In this paper, the impacts of climate change on buildings are discussed and a review of studies on the durability of building envelope materials and elements is provided in consideration of the expected effects of climate change on the longevity and resilience of such products over time. Projected changes in key climate variables affecting the durability of building materials is presented such that specifications for the selection of products given climate change effects can be offered. Implications in regard to the maintainability of buildings when considering the potential effects of climate change on the durability of buildings and its components is also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Prediction and Maintenance of Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle
A Fractal Model of Cracking of Cement Matrix Composites
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030052 - 11 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1025
Abstract
The modern methods of materials (including cement matrix materials) design and testing impose the application of an approach appropriate to materials engineering. A quantitative description of the association between the properties of these materials and their structure is a necessity. What remains the [...] Read more.
The modern methods of materials (including cement matrix materials) design and testing impose the application of an approach appropriate to materials engineering. A quantitative description of the association between the properties of these materials and their structure is a necessity. What remains the scientific aim, however, is the clarification and description of the occurring phenomena by means of models mapping their actual behavior in the closest way possible. The article presents a cracking fractal model based on tests on the morphology of concrete fracture surfaces. The recorded fractal nature of the cracking of cement matrix materials enabled fractal geometry in the model development to be applied. Owing to the application of statistical analysis, together with an extensive base of data on the profile lines separated out of the real fracture surfaces of concrete, it was possible to develop a cracking fractal model. Not only does this model satisfy the condition of the equality of the fractal dimension of the real and model profile lines, it also offers the possibility of introducing an order to the apparently chaotic phenomena, such as the cracking process. An advantage and novelty of the model is that unlike the other authors’ proposals, there is a possibility of reaching an infinitely large number of solutions for model profile lines, which approximates the model to the real-life scenario. The results of fractal tests were supplemented with strength measurements, identifying concrete’s compressive and fracture toughness (determining the critical stress intensity factor KIcS). A connection between the fractal dimension and the investigated properties of concrete was demonstrated. A higher fractal dimension was observed in the profile lines separated out of the fracture surfaces of concretes of higher water–cement ratio. The advantages of the model include the simplicity and applicability in model studies on other materials of the cement matrix. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Building Material Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
Earthquake Safety Assessment of Buildings through Rapid Visual Screening
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030051 - 10 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1530
Abstract
Earthquake is among the most devastating natural disasters causing severe economical, environmental, and social destruction. Earthquake safety assessment and building hazard monitoring can highly contribute to urban sustainability through identification and insight into optimum materials and structures. While the vulnerability of structures mainly [...] Read more.
Earthquake is among the most devastating natural disasters causing severe economical, environmental, and social destruction. Earthquake safety assessment and building hazard monitoring can highly contribute to urban sustainability through identification and insight into optimum materials and structures. While the vulnerability of structures mainly depends on the structural resistance, the safety assessment of buildings can be highly challenging. In this paper, we consider the Rapid Visual Screening (RVS) method, which is a qualitative procedure for estimating structural scores for buildings suitable for medium- to high-seismic cases. This paper presents an overview of the common RVS methods, i.e., FEMA P-154, IITK-GGSDMA, and EMPI. To examine the accuracy and validation, a practical comparison is performed between their assessment and observed damage of reinforced concrete buildings from a street survey in the Bingöl region, Turkey, after the 1 May 2003 earthquake. The results demonstrate that the application of RVS methods for preliminary damage estimation is a vital tool. Furthermore, the comparative analysis showed that FEMA P-154 creates an assessment that overestimates damage states and is not economically viable, while EMPI and IITK-GGSDMA provide more accurate and practical estimation, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structural Analysis for Earthquake-Resistant Design of Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle
Project Managers’ Competencies in Collaborative Construction Projects
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030050 - 09 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1398
Abstract
Collaborative delivery methods in construction projects provide a new operational environment, which can foster effective interaction and cooperation between different project stakeholders. Project managers are one of the most important players in this environment, who therefore need to possess appropriate competencies. Collaborative construction [...] Read more.
Collaborative delivery methods in construction projects provide a new operational environment, which can foster effective interaction and cooperation between different project stakeholders. Project managers are one of the most important players in this environment, who therefore need to possess appropriate competencies. Collaborative construction projects and their managerial solutions are still a relatively new field and, thus, special aspects such as competencies of project managers in such projects have been limitedly studied. The present research aimed to evaluate project managers’ competencies in collaborative construction projects in Finland through a human behavioral approach, where project managers’ everyday work was the main source for understanding the competencies of relevance. Accordingly, a web-based questionnaire and semi-structured interviews were used for data collection from the case projects. Based on the gained data, project managers’ behaviors were analyzed, and consequently, their specific competencies were identified. Findings of this study propose 10 core competencies for project managers in collaborative construction projects, e.g., group capabilities, language proficiency, and leveraging diversity. Additionally, a set of supportive competencies were identified which, together with the core competencies, form the profile of project managers’ competencies for collaborative construction projects. Finally, the differences between competencies needed in traditional and in collaborative construction projects are discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Triplet Test on Rubble Stone Masonry: Numerical Assessment of the Shear Mechanical Parameters
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030049 - 09 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1068
Abstract
Rubble stone masonry walls are widely diffused in most of the cultural and architectural heritage of historical cities. The mechanical response of such material is rather complicated to predict due to its composite nature. Vertical compression tests, diagonal compression tests, and shear-compression tests [...] Read more.
Rubble stone masonry walls are widely diffused in most of the cultural and architectural heritage of historical cities. The mechanical response of such material is rather complicated to predict due to its composite nature. Vertical compression tests, diagonal compression tests, and shear-compression tests are usually adopted to investigate experimentally the mechanical properties of stone masonries. However, further tests are needed for the safety assessment of these ancient structures. Since the relation between normal and shear stresses plays a major role in the shear behavior of masonry joints, governing the failure mode, a triplet test configuration is herein investigated. First, the experimental tests carried out at the laboratory of the University of L’Aquila on stone masonry specimens are presented. Then, the triplet test is simulated by using the total strain crack model, which reflects all the ultimate states of quasi-brittle material such as cracking, crushing, and shear failure. The goal of the numerical investigation is to evaluate the shear mechanical parameters of the masonry sample, including strength, dilatancy, normal, and shear deformations. Furthermore, the effect of (i) confinement pressure and (ii) bond behavior at the sample-plate interfaces are investigated, showing that they can strongly influence the mechanical response of the walls. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Probabilistic Life-Cycle Assessment of Service Life Extension on Renovated Buildings under Seismic Hazard
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030048 - 09 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1369
Abstract
Existing buildings can reach a performance enhancement and extend their nominal service life through renovation measures such as seismic rehabilitation. In particular, when buildings have almost exhausted their service life, seeking an optimal solution should consider whether costs and environmental effects are worthwhile, [...] Read more.
Existing buildings can reach a performance enhancement and extend their nominal service life through renovation measures such as seismic rehabilitation. In particular, when buildings have almost exhausted their service life, seeking an optimal solution should consider whether costs and environmental effects are worthwhile, or new construction is preferred. In this paper, a methodology to consider seismic hazard into probabilistic approaches for life-cycle analyses is presented considering the possibility of structural enhancement over an extended building lifespan. A life-cycle-based decision support tool for building renovation measures is developed and applied to a selected case study. Unlike standard “static” analyses, which in this work show shortcomings by underestimating impacts of vulnerable buildings, such an approach brings out environmental and economic advantages of retrofit measures designed to improve the structural performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Prediction and Maintenance of Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Rendering Type on the Environmental Characteristics of Expanded Polystyrene-Based External Thermal Insulation Composite System
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030047 - 07 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1297
Abstract
External thermal insulation systems (ETICS) are relevant facade applications of functional components allowing to reduce energy consumption in buildings to fulfill the provisions of nearly Zero-Energy Buildings (nZEBs). ETICS systems generally are made of adhesives, thermal insulation material, renders with mesh reinforcement, primers, [...] Read more.
External thermal insulation systems (ETICS) are relevant facade applications of functional components allowing to reduce energy consumption in buildings to fulfill the provisions of nearly Zero-Energy Buildings (nZEBs). ETICS systems generally are made of adhesives, thermal insulation material, renders with mesh reinforcement, primers, and finish coats. Their main parameters are thermal characteristics and durability, both determined by the specific composition of the systems. Growing concerns on the environment and depletion of natural resources drive the need for the determination of the environmental characteristic of ETICS due to its growing market demand. This analysis focuses on a life cycle assessment (LCA) of a commonly used EPS based ETICS system with four different renderings, produced in several locations. The scope of this study concerns raw materials extraction, transport, production, and energy provision up to the finished, packed, and ready-for-sale product at the factory gate. The authors compared the environmental impact allocated to the 1 m2 of the produced system by taking into account the thickness of EPS and within different environmental impact categories. The results of the current impacts were compared to those obtained five years earlier, considering the technological and environmental progress of the production process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Building Material Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
Rediscovering the “Atrium Effect” in Terms of the European Green Deal’s Objectives:A Case Study
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030046 - 07 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1124
Abstract
In terms of the European Green Deal’s objectives, an environmentally responsible and climate responsive architecture seems to be fully desirable in the next decades. From the perspective of health-oriented design, atria and inner courtyards are gaining in significance due to their potential for [...] Read more.
In terms of the European Green Deal’s objectives, an environmentally responsible and climate responsive architecture seems to be fully desirable in the next decades. From the perspective of health-oriented design, atria and inner courtyards are gaining in significance due to their potential for regulating indoor air temperature and quality, especially if they are properly technically equipped and supported by appropriate landscaping. In this particular approach, the “atrium effect” is discussed in the presented study, in contrast to the specific method of forming the upwardly opened lobby. In the search for a method to optimize the use of the biophilic elements in semi-open built environments, the authors use ENVI-met v. 4.4.4. software to assess their impact on physical parameters of the environment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Overcoming Path Dependency in an Industrialised House-Building Company through Entrepreneurial Orientation
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030045 - 06 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1096
Abstract
Although it is well-established that industrialised construction can improve construction companies’ productivity, the uptake of industrialised ways of working has been slow and traditional construction companies remain unwilling to move towards industrialisation. One key reason is that there is little understanding of how [...] Read more.
Although it is well-established that industrialised construction can improve construction companies’ productivity, the uptake of industrialised ways of working has been slow and traditional construction companies remain unwilling to move towards industrialisation. One key reason is that there is little understanding of how construction companies can overcome path dependency (PD). Drawing on a longitudinal case study looking at an industrialised house-building (IHB) company, this work investigates how entrepreneurial orientation (EO) has influenced the development of a construction company that was able to transform from a traditional construction company to an IHB company over 25 years and to overcome PD in the process. The study found that by focusing on a niche market segment, developing a platform in collaboration with external actors, and an entrepreneurial mindset supported the company in overcoming its PD. However, being the “first-mover” in the industry created new path dependencies that may hinder other companies from entering this specific niche market area and the development of the industry as a whole. This study contributes to the theoretical buildup of EO, PD and strategic orientations of IHB companies, and contributes to practitioners’ understanding of IHB companies from a strategic management contingency perspective. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Influence of an Urban Water System on Housing Prices: Case Study of Zhengzhou
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030044 - 03 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1219
Abstract
A good living environment is the foundation of sustainable housing. Exploring the external influence of environmental factors on housing prices is one of the key issues in the field of real estate research; however, the current study of the urban water landscape on [...] Read more.
A good living environment is the foundation of sustainable housing. Exploring the external influence of environmental factors on housing prices is one of the key issues in the field of real estate research; however, the current study of the urban water landscape on the spillover effect of housing prices is not sufficient. Taking the Zhengzhou residential market as an example, this paper analyzes the effect of an urban water system on residential prices by constructing the traditional Hedonic price model, spatial lag model (SLM) and geographically weighted regression model (GWR) by selecting the main water system and 678 points of residential data in the main urban area. The results show that the accessibility of rivers and lakes and the width and water quality of rivers have a significant effect on residential prices, and the impact of lakes is greater than that of rivers. The spatial heterogeneity of the water system effect is further revealed by adopting spatial lag model and geographically weighted regression model, and the effect of the water system is gradually reduced from the eastern urban area to the western urban area. The results of this study are of great practical significance to the government’s municipal planning, water environment management and housing market management. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Welds Assessment in K-Type Joints of Hollow Section Trusses with I or H Section Chords
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030043 - 03 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1109
Abstract
The use of hollow section structures has received considerable attention in recent years. Since the first publication of CIDECT (International Committee for the Development and Study of Tubular Structures), additional research results became available, especially concerning the design of welds between members of [...] Read more.
The use of hollow section structures has received considerable attention in recent years. Since the first publication of CIDECT (International Committee for the Development and Study of Tubular Structures), additional research results became available, especially concerning the design of welds between members of trusses joints. To assess the capacity of welded joints of trusses between braces made of hollow sections and I-beam chords, the effective lengths of the welds should be estimated and their location around the braces and the forces acting on individual weld’s sections. The objective of this paper is to present the most up-to-date information to designers, teachers, and researchers according to the design of welds for certain K and N overlapped joints between rectangular hollow section (RHS) braces and I- or H-section chord. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Engineering: the Challenges - Trends - Achievements)
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Open AccessArticle
The Rolling Shear Influence on the Out-of-Plane Behavior of CLT Panels: A Comparative Analysis
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030042 - 03 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1085
Abstract
This paper deals with the influence of the rolling shear deformation on the flexural behavior of CLT (Cross-Laminated Timber) panels. The morphological configuration of the panels, which consist of orthogonal overlapped layers of boards, led to a particular shear behavior when subjected to [...] Read more.
This paper deals with the influence of the rolling shear deformation on the flexural behavior of CLT (Cross-Laminated Timber) panels. The morphological configuration of the panels, which consist of orthogonal overlapped layers of boards, led to a particular shear behavior when subjected to out-of-plane loadings: the low value of the shear modulus in orthogonal to grain direction (i.e., rolling shear modulus) gives rise to significant shear deformations in the transverse layers of boards, whose grains direction is perpendicular with respect to the tangential stresses direction. This produces increases of deflections and vibrations under service loads, creating discomfort for the users. Different analytical methods accounting for this phenomenon have been already developed and presented in literature. Comparative analyses among the results provided by some of these methods have been carried out in the present paper and the influence of the rolling shear deformations, with reference to different span-to-depth (L/H) ratios investigated. Moreover, the analytical results have also been compared with those obtained by more accurate 2D finite element models. The results show that, at the service limit states, the influence of the rolling shear can be significant when the aspect ratios became less than L/H = 30, and the phenomenon must be accurately considered in both deflection and stress analysis of CLT floors. Contrariwise, in the case of higher aspect ratios (slender panels), the deflections and stresses can be evaluated neglecting the rolling shear influence, assuming the layers of boards as fully-connected. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Role of Glass Compounds in Autoclaved Bricks
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030041 - 29 Feb 2020
Viewed by 1233
Abstract
This study describes the relationship between the physio-mechanical and chemical properties of sand-lime materials which have undergone hydrothermal treatment, and which were modified through the introduction of glass components (90% glass sand, GS). Process parameters such as temperature, pressure and saturation vapor pressure [...] Read more.
This study describes the relationship between the physio-mechanical and chemical properties of sand-lime materials which have undergone hydrothermal treatment, and which were modified through the introduction of glass components (90% glass sand, GS). Process parameters such as temperature, pressure and saturation vapor pressure were found to have a significant impact on the series of chemical reactions as well as on the formation and transformation of solid hydrates. During the stirring process of sand-lime mass, the temperature of the reaction between lime and water in the presence of quartz sand (QS) was determined to be 83 °C. In the presence of glass sand, measured temperature was only 42 °C. Thermodynamic equilibrium-based modelling was applied to predict stable phase assemblages in the studied systems. It was found that compositional modification along with the application of the autoclaving process resulted in the formation of two crystalline phases: natrolite and gyrolite. Compressive strength and density were also assessed. The strength of fresh laboratory samples was found to be greater than their traditional analogues by 15 MPa. In addition to experimental characterization, sand-lime materials were also modeled using neural networks (backpropagation neural network, BPNN) which serve as a universal approximation method capable of modelling complex functions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Building Material Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
Urban Morphology and Outdoor Microclimate around the “Shophouse” Dwellings in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030040 - 28 Feb 2020
Viewed by 1134
Abstract
The underestimation of population growth has resulted in the disruptive and uncontrolled expansion of settlements in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). The outcome is a complicated mix of new spontaneous dwelling areas featuring a number of distinct urban morphologies. Previous studies have shown [...] Read more.
The underestimation of population growth has resulted in the disruptive and uncontrolled expansion of settlements in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). The outcome is a complicated mix of new spontaneous dwelling areas featuring a number of distinct urban morphologies. Previous studies have shown the impacts of urban morphologies on comfort levels in outdoor environments. The paper examines the correlation of microclimatic conditions and constituents that create the urban spatial form of residential neighbourhoods, particularly around ‘shophouse’ buildings. Understanding that relationship is significant for improving the future planning and design of residential zones and the creation of a pleasant external environment. Seven urban dwelling patterns were studied. Thermal variables were measured on-site over a summer season, while meteorological data were recorded. Additionally, numerical studies of the microclimate around two sample sites showed variations owing to different urban contexts. During summer, the outdoor conditions for the types surveyed ranged from 29.5 to 38.0 °C air temperature, 41% to 79% humidity, and 0.1 to 0.9 m/s airspeed at the occupied level. Environmental variations averaged 1.5 °C, 7% relative humidity, and 0.3 m/s between the urban geometries. Occupant thermal satisfaction was found around formally planned dwelling blocks, while compact neighbourhoods were characterised by cooler temperatures, but poor airflow and daylight. The outcomes are significant for optimising urban and building design. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Multi-Objective Optimizing Curvilinear Steel Bar Structures of Hyperbolic Paraboloid Canopy Roofs
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030039 - 28 Feb 2020
Viewed by 1199
Abstract
The paper concerns shaping curvilinear steel bar structures that are hyperbolic paraboloid canopy roofs by means of parametric design software Rhinoceros/Grasshopper and Karamba 3D. Hyperbolic paraboloid shape has found applications in various solutions of building roofs, mainly as reinforced concrete or steel coverings [...] Read more.
The paper concerns shaping curvilinear steel bar structures that are hyperbolic paraboloid canopy roofs by means of parametric design software Rhinoceros/Grasshopper and Karamba 3D. Hyperbolic paraboloid shape has found applications in various solutions of building roofs, mainly as reinforced concrete or steel coverings made of bent sheets. The hyperbolic paraboloid as a ruled surface can be a good base surface for forming bar grids. However, there are few studies on the effect of its division and the obtained topology of bar structures on their load-bearing capacity. In order to fill this gap, the aim of the presented research was to compare the effectiveness of various curvilinear steel bar structures of hyperbolic paraboloid canopy roofs covering the same plane, as well as defining both the most effective pattern of their structural grids and the optimal supporting system. This analysis was carried out thanks to the application of genetic algorithms enabling the free flow of information between geometrical and structural models, as well as thanks to the obtained result of multi-objective optimizations of the shaped structures for given boundary conditions. Minimal mass of the structure as well as minimal deflection of the structural members were assumed as the optimization criteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Engineering: the Challenges - Trends - Achievements)
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Open AccessArticle
Ultrasonic Evaluation of Cement-Based Building Materials Modified Using Marble Powder Sourced from Industrial Wastes
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030038 - 27 Feb 2020
Viewed by 1225
Abstract
This paper presents an experimental study on the assessment of the cement-based materials properties made with marble powder (MP) at different replacement ratios (0%, 5%, 10%, and 15%) of cement by using the ultrasonic pulse velocity (UPV) test. The used MP has a [...] Read more.
This paper presents an experimental study on the assessment of the cement-based materials properties made with marble powder (MP) at different replacement ratios (0%, 5%, 10%, and 15%) of cement by using the ultrasonic pulse velocity (UPV) test. The used MP has a Blaine fineness similar to that of Portland cement. The physical and the chemical characteristics of Portland cement and MP were determined. To determine the UPV values, cubic specimens (50 × 50 × 50 mm3) of cement paste and mortar were prepared and cured either in air at a temperature equal to 22 ± 2 °C and relative humidity equal to 20 ± 1%, or in water at a temperature equal to 20 ± 1 °C. The experimental tests including the UPV, the compressive strength (fcd), and the apparent density (ϒad) were conducted at 3, 7, 28, and 65 days, the relationship between each of these parameters were presented. Additionally, economic performance of cement and waste MP used in this study was performed. The results show that the use of MP as partial replacement of cement causes a decrease in the compressive strength and apparent density in both curing conditions. In addition, the results show a good relationship between the destructive test and non-destructive test adopted by UPV. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-destructive Testing for Building Evaluation)
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Open AccessArticle
Introduction of the Intermeshed Steel Connection—A New Universal Steel Connection
Buildings 2020, 10(3), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10030037 - 25 Feb 2020
Viewed by 1347
Abstract
Digital manufacturing has transformed many industries but has had only a limited impact in the construction sector. To capitalize on advanced manufacturing techniques, this paper introduces a radically new connection approach for gravity structural steel frames. The proposed intermeshed steel connection (ISC) exploits [...] Read more.
Digital manufacturing has transformed many industries but has had only a limited impact in the construction sector. To capitalize on advanced manufacturing techniques, this paper introduces a radically new connection approach for gravity structural steel frames. The proposed intermeshed steel connection (ISC) exploits robotic abilities to cut structural steel member ends precisely to accelerate deployment and offer better disassembly options over existing approaches. Forces are transferred through common bearing surfaces at multiple contact points, and connections can be secured by small locking pieces. This paper introduces the geometry, manufacturing, and initial analysis and test results of the connection. The paper demonstrates the ability of the connection to (1) be manufactured within current industrial tolerances, (2) be erected and disassembled, and (3) perform at expected design levels. Full article
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