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Buildings, Volume 10, Issue 9 (September 2020) – 25 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The article is based on the authors’ experiences in the development of three research projects pertaining to the application of 3D-printing techniques in the manufacturing of cement-based construction products. These techniques aim to increase productivity, optimise material consumption, and improve workmanship. This paper discusses whether the performance of the materials used in 3D printing could be superior to traditional ones and shows that regulation is not an obstacle to 3D printing by proposing quality control tests and an assessment methodology in the understanding that standardisation ensures the viability of a technology. View this paper
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Open AccessArticle
A Novel Adaptive Lighting System Which Considers Behavioral Adaptation Aspects for Visually Impaired People
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090168 - 21 Sep 2020
Viewed by 873
Abstract
The number of visually impaired people and elderly people groups are significant, but the current lighting system used in buildings, which is based on the current standard, cannot provide the necessary lighting comfort for them. The lighting system should provide the correct illuminance [...] Read more.
The number of visually impaired people and elderly people groups are significant, but the current lighting system used in buildings, which is based on the current standard, cannot provide the necessary lighting comfort for them. The lighting system should provide the correct illuminance for every activity and even pattern of light. This research presents the work in progress in developing the novel adaptive lighting system tailored for visually impaired people, which becomes the solution to the problem. The behavioral adaptation aspects and the experience and memory principle are taken into account in the system design. It also makes use of the latest independent adjustable artificial light (LED) technology, to get an even pattern of lighting, while still considering efficient energy usage. The proposed system structure uses a wireless sensor network (WSN), big data processing, and the Artificial Intelligence (AI) sub-system, which can predict and adaptively regulate the illumination level based on the occupant’s needs and routines. The initial simulation of the lighting model is presented in this paper. The simulation uses five scenarios in different seasons and daylight. The simulation shows satisfactory results for illuminance values 200, 250, 300, 500, and 750 lux, needed by the occupants. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Recycled Concrete Aggregates and Their Influences on Performances of Low and Normal Strength Concretes
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090167 - 19 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 887
Abstract
Recycled materials are now widely used in various industrial sectors to enhance sustainability and reduce environmental charges. Using recycled aggregates in concrete production significantly lowers demand for natural aggregates and the amount of solid waste sent to landfills. This paper summarizes the main [...] Read more.
Recycled materials are now widely used in various industrial sectors to enhance sustainability and reduce environmental charges. Using recycled aggregates in concrete production significantly lowers demand for natural aggregates and the amount of solid waste sent to landfills. This paper summarizes the main results of a study undertaken to design low and normal strength concrete with various replacement ratios of coarse recycled concrete aggregates (RCA). To persuade the concrete industry to use recycled materials as one of the main components of concrete produced, the overall mechanical and durability performances of the RCA-concrete should be close or even similar to the concrete made with natural ingredients. The present research adopted an approach that consists of designing a series of low and normal strength with RCA having an equal target 28-day design strength to the corresponding natural aggregates concrete but while varying the water–cement ratios (w/c). Coarse recycled concrete aggregates, obtained by crushing waste concrete debris collected from different construction and demolition waste sources, were used in three different proportions of 30%, 50% and 100% (by weight) to produce new concrete with various w/c ratios and different compressive strength grades. Concrete mixes produced with general use Portland cement and various RCA contents were investigated in terms of their key mechanical and durability performances. The mechanical properties (crushing value) of the used RCA were visibly lower than the natural coarse aggregates (NCA). Thus, RCA-concrete showed lower performance than the NCA-concrete. It was found that by using up to 30% coarse RCA, the mechanical properties of concrete were not significantly affected. Beyond 30% of partial replacement of NCA by the coarse RCA, a continuing decrease in the mechanical performance with an increase in RCA amount was found. However, reducing the w/c ratio of concrete designed with the coarse RCA resulted in a compressive strength improvement, a better resistance to sulphate attack, carbonation, and chloride ion penetrations. Additionally, a proper design of Portland cement concrete produced with various proportions of RCA could also contribute to promoting sustainability in the construction industry and lowering its environmental impact. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of the Criteria for Building Maintenance Decisions in Facility Management: First Step to Developing a Multi-Criteria Decision-Making Approach
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090166 - 17 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1024
Abstract
Building maintenance is a fundamental practice in facility management, which supports the longevity of a building. Increasing costs of maintenance practices is a challenge for facility management professionals. Given that, building maintenance decisions often comprise complex and conflicting criteria. The primary purpose of [...] Read more.
Building maintenance is a fundamental practice in facility management, which supports the longevity of a building. Increasing costs of maintenance practices is a challenge for facility management professionals. Given that, building maintenance decisions often comprise complex and conflicting criteria. The primary purpose of this study is to develop and rank a set of criteria needed for constructing a multi-criteria decision-making model for use in building maintenance processes. This study also has an exploratory aspect and tries to establish the decision-making and condition assessment practices currently used in facility management. To do so, a literature review was conducted to reveal the significant criteria for building maintenance decision-making processes. Moreover, the results of a nationwide survey conducted with the members of two globally recognized facility management organizations were utilized. Identified criteria address a gap in facilities management research, i.e., the lack of comprehensive criteria in building maintenance decision-making, and can be used for the development of a multi-criteria decision-making model for use in building maintenance processes. Furthermore, the results of this study can help establish the current status of decision-making and condition assessment practices in facility management. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of Obstacles to Implementing Sustainability in the Civil Construction Industry Using Bow-Tie Tool
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090165 - 14 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 927
Abstract
The construction industry is responsible for causing a large adverse impact on the environment. To minimize these impacts, sustainable practices are being sought mainly in the area of the wastage of and the waste from raw materials. Many obstacles and difficulties are encountered [...] Read more.
The construction industry is responsible for causing a large adverse impact on the environment. To minimize these impacts, sustainable practices are being sought mainly in the area of the wastage of and the waste from raw materials. Many obstacles and difficulties are encountered when trying to implement sustainable practices in civil construction. Thus, a study to identify what the obstacles are to implementing such practices is necessary. Therefore, the objective of this study is to present an assessment of the main obstacles to implementing sustainability in civil construction for which the bow-tie tool is used. Three cases were analyzed: construction material waste, the wastage of plaster and planning a sustainable construction project. Results showed that the lack of planning for sustainable construction projects, the lack of compliance with technical standards and the lack of technical knowledge of the workforce and of standardization are among the main obstacles to implementing sustainability in civil construction. This study offers a structured methodology to identify causes, consequences and obstacles related to events that affect the implementation of sustainable practices. It provides a visualization of the scenario investigated through the diagram generated, facilitating its understanding and analysis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Seismic Vulnerability of Sub-Structures: Vantitelli’s Modulus in Murena Palace
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090164 - 13 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 916
Abstract
This paper focuses on the Murena Palace in Perugia, part of an architectural complex designed by Luigi Vanvitelli and completed by Carlo Murena in the 18th century. In the context of the seismic vulnerability assessment of this masonry building, the safety of a [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on the Murena Palace in Perugia, part of an architectural complex designed by Luigi Vanvitelli and completed by Carlo Murena in the 18th century. In the context of the seismic vulnerability assessment of this masonry building, the safety of a construction modulus, which gathers several peculiar features identified within the edifice, is analyzed by means of an integrated architectural-structural approach. This construction modulus, that will be called Vanvitelli’s Modulus, is characterized by an intrinsic structural asymmetry with clusters of rooms with masonry vaults, combining different heights, where load bearing walls are standing on top of the vaults. Given these peculiarities, this construction modulus has to be analyzed as a sub-structure with regards to the seismic vulnerability. To this purpose, experimental tests, in particular videoendoscopies and structural monitoring, were conducted to identify geometrical features of walls and vaults, mechanical characteristic of materials and the actual damage condition. From an accurate survey, an innovative parametric approach has been proposed to build the geometrical model of the construction modulus. This has been used, by FEM (finite element method), to perform a structural analysis whose results have been checked by comparison with the actual damage patterns. The proposed integrated architectural-structural approach permits a deeper comprehension of the structural principles that characterize Vanvitelli’s construction modulus and to estimate its seismic vulnerability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structural Analysis for Earthquake-Resistant Design of Buildings)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Optimization-Based Data-Enabled Modeling Technique for HVAC Systems Components
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090163 - 13 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1033
Abstract
Most of the energy consumed by the residential and commercial buildings in the U.S. is dedicated to space cooling and heating systems, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Therefore, the need for better operation mechanisms of those existing systems become more crucial. [...] Read more.
Most of the energy consumed by the residential and commercial buildings in the U.S. is dedicated to space cooling and heating systems, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Therefore, the need for better operation mechanisms of those existing systems become more crucial. The most vital factor for that is the need for accurate models that can accurately predict the system component performance. Therefore, this paper’s primary goal is to develop a new accurate data-driven modeling and optimization technique that can accurately predict the performance of the selected system components. Several data-enabled modeling techniques such as artificial neural networks (ANN), support vector machine (SVM), and aggregated bootstrapping (BSA) are investigated, and model improvements through model structure optimization proposed. The optimization algorithm will determine the optimal model structures and automate the process of the parametric study. The optimization problem is solved using a genetic algorithm (GA) to reduce the error between the simulated and actual data for the testing period. The models predicted the performance of the chilled water variable air volume (VAV) system’s main components of cooling coil and fan power as a function of multiple inputs. Additionally, the packaged DX system compressor modeled, and the compressor power was predicted. The testing results held a low coefficient of variation (CV%) values of 1.22% for the cooling coil, and for the fan model, it was found to be 9.04%. The testing results showed that the proposed modeling and optimization technique could accurately predict the system components’ performance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Torsional Stability Assessment of Columns Using Photometry and FEM
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090162 - 12 Sep 2020
Viewed by 853
Abstract
This paper presents a numerical analysis of the load-carrying capacity of steel open-section columns of a coal power plant structure. The structure was subjected to soil subsidence, which led to considerable structural deformations and damages. As a result, additional stresses appeared in the [...] Read more.
This paper presents a numerical analysis of the load-carrying capacity of steel open-section columns of a coal power plant structure. The structure was subjected to soil subsidence, which led to considerable structural deformations and damages. As a result, additional stresses appeared in the structure, and the static scheme of the structure was changed. To assess the influence of structural changes on the safety of the structure, a detailed investigation was necessary. Laser scanning was used to collect information concerning the geometry of structural elements. Results of the scanning were implemented in a numerical model of the structure. A complex finite element method (FEM) shell model of the column in ABAQUS software was developed. Torsional buckling stability analysis of column members was carried out. Different boundary conditions depending on the type of column connections to other elements were considered. Torsional deformations were treated as imperfections. Analysis showed that the connections of bracing elements, e.g., beams in multilevel frame, directly affected the collapse mechanism and load-bearing capacity of the investigated element. Finally, the paper showed that an appropriate change in the connections between the analyzed column and multilevel frame beams prevents the column from twisting, thereby increasing the critical force and load-bearing capacity of the analyzed industrial structure. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Flexural Behavior of Reinforced Concrete Slabs Reinforced with Innovative Hybrid Reinforcement of Geogrids and Steel Bars
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090161 - 10 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1135
Abstract
This paper aims to innovate a hybrid reinforcement system for concrete slabs, consisting of geogrids and steel bars, by conducting an experimental comparative study between using different types, tensile strengths, and layers of geogrids as additional reinforcement to steel bars in comparison to [...] Read more.
This paper aims to innovate a hybrid reinforcement system for concrete slabs, consisting of geogrids and steel bars, by conducting an experimental comparative study between using different types, tensile strengths, and layers of geogrids as additional reinforcement to steel bars in comparison to conventional steel-reinforced concrete control slab. These concrete slabs were tested under a four-point loading system until they failed due to bending. As an addition, strain gauges were attached to the concrete slabs bottom reinforcement (geogrids and steel bars) to provide a close examination of geogrids and steel bars as a hybrid reinforcement system. Results show that the innovated hybrid reinforcement system of uniaxial geogrids and steel bars more preferred as concrete slabs reinforcement as it provided more benefits values (including, but not limited to, initial-peak load, steel-yield load, post-peak load, displacement ductility index, and energy absorption capacity) and more efficient utilization (including, but not limited to, higher benefits to cost values and better flexural performance) than the case of using conventional reinforcement of steel bars and the cases of using triaxial geogrids as additional reinforcement to the steel bars; however, triaxial geogrids provide lower deflection values and higher first-crack load values. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Natural Language Processing Model for Managing Maintenance Requests in Buildings
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 160; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090160 - 07 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1242
Abstract
In recent years, facility management (FM) has adopted many computer technology solutions for building maintenance, such as building information modelling (BIM) and computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS). However, maintenance requests management in buildings remains a manual and a time-consuming process that depends on [...] Read more.
In recent years, facility management (FM) has adopted many computer technology solutions for building maintenance, such as building information modelling (BIM) and computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS). However, maintenance requests management in buildings remains a manual and a time-consuming process that depends on human management. In this paper, a machine-learning algorithm based on natural language processing (NLP) is proposed to classify maintenance requests. This algorithm aims to assist the FM teams in managing day-to-day maintenance activities. A healthcare facility is addressed as a case study in this work. Ten-year maintenance records from the facility contributed to the design and development of the algorithm. Multiple NLP methods were used in this study, and the results reveal that the NLP model can classify work requests with an average accuracy of 78%. Furthermore, NLP methods have proven to be effective for managing unstructured text data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Computer Technology in Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle
Enhancing the Historic Public Social Housing through a User-Centered Design-Driven Approach
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090159 - 06 Sep 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1301
Abstract
The study presents a didactic experience for the deep refurbishment and the revitalization of the San Siro neighborhood in Milan (Italy). The public housing is a significative example of the 20th-century architecture (also named “Italian Modernism of Architecture”), designed by the Italian architects—Franco [...] Read more.
The study presents a didactic experience for the deep refurbishment and the revitalization of the San Siro neighborhood in Milan (Italy). The public housing is a significative example of the 20th-century architecture (also named “Italian Modernism of Architecture”), designed by the Italian architects—Franco Albini, Renato Camus, Giancarlo Palanti, and Laslo Kovacs (1938–1941). Nowadays, it is a multicultural area, characterized by the presence of a fragile population, with strong socio-spatial inequalities, intercultural and intergenerational conflicts. Here, an architectural design project is realized, experimenting with innovative and up-to-date design solutions. This experience develops a sensitive awareness of the multidimensional complexity of the environmentally responsible design, which requires a critical balance among different disciplines and skills. The reusing of existing buildings has sustainable importance for preventing new land-uses and for saving the potential energy consumption related to the construction process. Only a widespread knowledge of the local socio-economic conditions through participatory actions permits the selection of appropriate retrofit solutions, considering also the high cultural, social, and economic values. Functional and social mix, space flexibility, green design, renewable energies, circular economy criteria, and continuative maintenance are the correct strategies for boosting the social revitalization and for improving fairness, safety, architectural quality, human comfort, energy efficiency, and sustainability in this public housing neighborhood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Efficiency of Historical Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle
A Multilevel Approach for the Cultural Heritage Vulnerability and Strengthening: Application to the Melfi Castle
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090158 - 03 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1131
Abstract
This study outlines a procedure for the seismic safety evaluation of historical buildings for engineers and architects that commonly work on buildings belonging to cultural and architectural heritage. The procedure is characterized by two interrelated phases: (a) building knowledge acquisition and (b) structural [...] Read more.
This study outlines a procedure for the seismic safety evaluation of historical buildings for engineers and architects that commonly work on buildings belonging to cultural and architectural heritage. The procedure is characterized by two interrelated phases: (a) building knowledge acquisition and (b) structural behavior analysis and safety assessment. The seismic safety evaluation strongly depends on the first phase, whose data can be obtained according to a multi-disciplinary approach based on five steps: (1) critical-historical analysis; (2) photographic documentation and geometrical survey; (3) structural identification and material survey; (4) foundation and soil survey; and (5) cracking pattern and structural integrity analysis. The proposed method was applied to the evaluation of the seismic safety of the Castle of Melfi (PZ, Italy). Comprehensive and multi-disciplinary knowledge of this monument greatly facilitated an accurate seismic analysis of this monument, which was conducted both at a local and global level using a linear kinematic analysis and non-linear static (pushover) analysis, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Methods for Structural Rehabilitation)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of the Design of Walls Made of Compressed Earth Blocks on the Thermal Comfort of Housing in Hot Climate
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 157; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090157 - 03 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 981
Abstract
This study investigated the impact of the design of wall systems, mainly made of compressed earth blocks (CEB), on the indoor thermal comfort of naturally ventilated housing in hot climates of Burkina Faso. Conventional housing was modeled and calibrated using the WUFI® [...] Read more.
This study investigated the impact of the design of wall systems, mainly made of compressed earth blocks (CEB), on the indoor thermal comfort of naturally ventilated housing in hot climates of Burkina Faso. Conventional housing was modeled and calibrated using the WUFI® Plus dynamic simulation tool based on typical field surveys and the literature. This allowed testing the ability of different wall designs to impact thermal comfort. Thermal discomfort was assessed through an adaptive approach and was based on the annual weighted exceedance hours of overheating. Six designs of walls made of CEB and other locally available materials were simulated and compared to those made of classical hollow concrete blocks. The results of the simulation reveal that the profiles of thermal discomfort vary depending on the wall designs and building spaces. Thus, the wall made, from the outside toward the inside surface, of plywood of 2 cm, an insulation layer of 5 cm and a CEB layer of 29 cm thickness is the most suitable for an annual reduction in overheating for the living room. Regarding the bedroom, the most suitable wall is made of a 14 cm CEB layer, 5 cm insulating layer and 2 cm wood layer from the outside toward the inside surface. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Building Material Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
Study on HDPE Effect on Rutting Resistance of Binder
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090156 - 02 Sep 2020
Viewed by 873
Abstract
Literature has shown positive results to using waste plastic as an alternative source for PMBs where considerable interest in using waste High-density polyethylene (HDPE) has been highlighted on improving rutting resistance. Most importantly, using a waste polymer for an application has benefits (i.e., [...] Read more.
Literature has shown positive results to using waste plastic as an alternative source for PMBs where considerable interest in using waste High-density polyethylene (HDPE) has been highlighted on improving rutting resistance. Most importantly, using a waste polymer for an application has benefits (i.e., maintenance, environmental) by improving the durability and quality of our roads and by avoiding polymers from landfill or incineration. This research uses the Multiple Stress Creep Recovery (MSCR) test to assess the performance of a binder modified with waste HDPE polymer. The outcomes of this research highlights that a HDPE content of 2–4% shows a substantial increase in rutting resistance and an improvement in elastic recovery. The elastic recovery reported does improve from previous research results however it does underperform in comparison with the Styrene butadiene styrene (SBS) polymer counterpart. Furthermore, it can be indicated by the aging index that a HDPE content of greater than 4% can be detrimental to the aging effects leading to fatigue cracking. It is recommended that a combination of both waste HDPE and an elastomeric polymer such as crumb rubber is to be used in future test work to improve the elastic recovery and address the effects of fatigue cracking. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Use of Blind Rivets in Sandwich Panels—Experimental Investigation of Static and Quasi-Cyclic Loading
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090155 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 869
Abstract
In this paper, we present an original experimental investigation on a pull-out test of a blind rivet from the external facing of sandwich panels with various core layer materials (polyisocyanurate foam, mineral wool, and expanded polystyrene). The blind rivets were subjected to an [...] Read more.
In this paper, we present an original experimental investigation on a pull-out test of a blind rivet from the external facing of sandwich panels with various core layer materials (polyisocyanurate foam, mineral wool, and expanded polystyrene). The blind rivets were subjected to an axial and eccentric tensile force introduced as static and quasi-cyclic loading. The statistical sample size was 5. The laboratory results depicted that the core layer of a sandwich panel influenced the load-displacement path of the investigated blind rivet connections, regardless of the nature of the load (static, quasi-cyclic) and the point of the load application (axial, eccentric). It was observed that the blind connection with the polyisocyanurate foam core sandwich panel was characterized by a reduction of both the capacity and the secant stiffness when compared with the blind connection with the mineral wool or the expanded polystyrene core sandwich panels. Moreover, the tested connections demonstrated that the eccentric load gave a higher flexural stiffness than the axial load and that the quasi-cyclic load did not reduce their stiffness and capacity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Ultrasonic Assessment of the Concrete Residual Strength after a Real Fire Exposure
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 154; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090154 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 888
Abstract
After a fire, the assessment of concrete residual strength can be a challenge. Since the strength reduction depends on the distance from the heated surface examination based on destructive test, i.e., core samples, is not precise enough. Therefore, more detailed methods can establish [...] Read more.
After a fire, the assessment of concrete residual strength can be a challenge. Since the strength reduction depends on the distance from the heated surface examination based on destructive test, i.e., core samples, is not precise enough. Therefore, more detailed methods can establish the influence of the high temperature in the zone, which no longer has visible cracks. That method can be used to assess layer thickness to remove due to the fire damage. The Ultrasound Pulse Velocity (UPV) method with point heads was used in the paper to examine samples taken from a structure after the real fire. Moreover, to make the analysis more precise, an effect associated with the porosity in concrete was also considered to separate pure fire effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-destructive Testing for Building Evaluation)
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Open AccessArticle
Smart Buildings: Systems and Drivers
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090153 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1289
Abstract
Since the 1980s, smart buildings have aroused the interest of researchers. However, there is still no consensus on what the intelligence of a building is, and what enhances that intelligence. The purpose of this paper is to identify and correlate the main drivers [...] Read more.
Since the 1980s, smart buildings have aroused the interest of researchers. However, there is still no consensus on what the intelligence of a building is, and what enhances that intelligence. The purpose of this paper is to identify and correlate the main drivers and systems of smart buildings, by associating them with the main beneficiaries: users, owners, and the environment. To identify the main drivers and systems of these buildings, we carried out a comprehensive, detailed, and interpretative literature search. From the selected articles, we sorted the information, extracted the main concepts and knowledge, and, finally, identified the set of potential drivers and systems. Results showed eleven drivers and eight systems, and these can be enhanced by more than one driver. By analyzing the main beneficiaries, we grouped the drivers into three categories: users, owners, and the environment. Given the lack of consensus on the key drivers that make buildings smarter, this article contributes to filling this gap by identifying them, together with the key systems. It is also relevant for detecting the relationships between drivers and systems, and pointing out which drivers have the greatest potential to affect a particular system, keeping in mind the main beneficiary. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Thermo-Mechanical Properties of a Wood Fiber Insulation Board Using a Bio-Based Adhesive as a Binder
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090152 - 01 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1070
Abstract
The goal of the present study was to develop a low-density thermal insulation board using wood fibers and a bio-based adhesive as a binder, which was prepared from a crude glycerol and citric acid mixture. The physical and mechanical properties of insulation boards [...] Read more.
The goal of the present study was to develop a low-density thermal insulation board using wood fibers and a bio-based adhesive as a binder, which was prepared from a crude glycerol and citric acid mixture. The physical and mechanical properties of insulation boards manufactured using two ratios of crude glycerol and citric acid (1:0.66 and 1:1 mol/mol) and two adhesive contents (14% and 20%) were evaluated. The results show that the insulation boards with a range of density between 332 to 338 kg m−3 present thermal conductivity values between 0.064 W/m-K and 0.066 W/m-K. The effect of adhesive content was very significant for certain mechanical properties (tensile strength perpendicular to surface and compressive strength). The tensile strength (internal bond) increased between 20% and 36% with the increased adhesive content. In contrast, the compressive strength decreased between 7% and 15%. The thermo-mechanical properties obtained of insulation boards such as thermal conductivity, traverse strength, tensile strength parallel and perpendicular to surface, and compressive strength are in accordance with the requirements of the American Society for Testing and Materials C208-12 standard for different uses. The results confirm the potential of crude glycerol and citric acid mixture to be used as an adhesive in the wood fiber insulation boards’ manufacturing for sustainability purposes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Public Perception of Vernacular Architecture in the Arabian Peninsula: The Case of Rawshan
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090151 - 31 Aug 2020
Viewed by 1237
Abstract
This research extends Hasan Fathy’s (1986) principle of vernacular architecture by focusing on the Rawshan through an investigation of two criteria: aesthetics and energy efficiency. The paper discusses the views of both the Saudi public and key decision-makers on reviving vernacular architecture in [...] Read more.
This research extends Hasan Fathy’s (1986) principle of vernacular architecture by focusing on the Rawshan through an investigation of two criteria: aesthetics and energy efficiency. The paper discusses the views of both the Saudi public and key decision-makers on reviving vernacular architecture in the context of Saudi Arabia’s rapidly developing economy, characterized by relatively high rates of energy consumption and CO2 emissions. This research explores (a) the interaction in domestic buildings of Saudi occupants with their windows, and how these are perceived as an interface with the external environment; (b) awareness and knowledge of the use of shading elements (such as Rawshans) to reduce the use of artificial lighting while maintaining indoor privacy; (c) Saudi awareness of, and familiarity with, the Rawshan as a vernacular element and a secular architectural tradition; and (d) Saudi views on the revival of traditional architectural elements with a focus on the Rawshan. An online survey (n = 812) was conducted across Saudi Arabia complemented by interviews with expert decision-makers (n = 23) to (a) assess criteria such as privacy, aesthetics, daylight, ventilation, and energy consumption in Saudi residences and (b) investigate the level of acceptance of an optimized retrofitted Rawshan design. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
RPAS-Based Framework for Simplified Seismic Risk Assessment of Italian RC-Bridges
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090150 - 28 Aug 2020
Viewed by 1202
Abstract
Existing reinforced concrete (RC) bridges that were designed in the decades between 1950 and 1990 exhibit inadequate structural safety with reference to both traffic loads and hazard conditions. Competent authorities are planning extensive inspections to collect data about these structures and to address [...] Read more.
Existing reinforced concrete (RC) bridges that were designed in the decades between 1950 and 1990 exhibit inadequate structural safety with reference to both traffic loads and hazard conditions. Competent authorities are planning extensive inspections to collect data about these structures and to address retrofit interventions. In this context, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPASs) represent a prospect to facilitate in-situ inspections, reducing time, cost and risk for the operators. A practice-oriented methodology to perform RPAS-based surveys is described. After that, a workflow to perform an in-situ RPAS inspection oriented to a photogrammetric data extraction is discussed. With the aim to connect the advantages of the RPAS technologies to the seismic risk assessment of bridges, a simplified mechanic-based procedure is described, oriented to map the structural risk in road networks and support prioritization strategies. A six-span RC bridge of the Basilicata road network, representing a typical Italian bridge typology is selected to practically describe the operating steps of the RPAS inspection and of the simplified seismic risk assessment approach. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Advanced Techniques for Pilotis RC Frames Seismic Retrofit: Performance Comparison for a Strategic Building Case Study
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090149 - 28 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1089
Abstract
Pilotis buildings have widely spread out in developed countries since World War II onwards. From the structural point of view, Pilotis RC frames exhibit substantial lack in ductility capacity and shear resistance localized at the first floor, since they have been mainly realized [...] Read more.
Pilotis buildings have widely spread out in developed countries since World War II onwards. From the structural point of view, Pilotis RC frames exhibit substantial lack in ductility capacity and shear resistance localized at the first floor, since they have been mainly realized before the seismic codes’ era. The present study shows the performance comparison of four advanced retrofit techniques when applied to typical Pilotis RC frame designed for gravity loads only according to Italian building code of ‘60s. A preliminary investigation has been performed to select non-linear numerical models suitable to describe the considered RC frame behavior, involving flexural inelastic hinges of RC beams and columns and in-plane axial inelastic hinges of masonry infill panels. Two seismic retrofit projects have been designed at a local level, by strengthening the masonry infilled panels with Fiber Reinforced Cementitious Matrix (FRCM) technique and alternatively by replacing infilled panels with prefabricated panels disconnected from the structure, so that no infill/frame interaction occurs. Two more retrofit projects have been designed at a global level, in order to improve the overall structural performance making use of energy dissipation and, alternatively, base isolation techniques. Nonlinear time history analysis and structural assessment have been carried out for the as-built case as well as for the four retrofit solutions according to Eurocode 8 and Italian Building Code, in order to highlight the structural deficiencies and relative improvements, respectively. Performances offered by the proposed retrofit techniques have been finally compared in terms of structural behavior, expected damage, and economic impact. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Methods for Structural Rehabilitation)
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Open AccessArticle
Digital Mapping of Techno-Economic Performance of a Water-Based Solar Photovoltaic/Thermal (PVT) System for Buildings over Large Geographical Cities
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090148 - 27 Aug 2020
Viewed by 1005
Abstract
Solar photovoltaic thermal (PVT) is an emerging technology capable of producing electrical and thermal energy using a single collector. However, to achieve larger market penetration of this technology, it is imperative to have an understanding of the energetic performance for different climatic conditions [...] Read more.
Solar photovoltaic thermal (PVT) is an emerging technology capable of producing electrical and thermal energy using a single collector. However, to achieve larger market penetration of this technology, it is imperative to have an understanding of the energetic performance for different climatic conditions and the economic performance under various financial scenarios. This paper thus presents a techno-economic evaluation of a typical water-based PVT system for a single-family house to generate electricity and domestic hot water applications in 85 locations worldwide. The simulations are performed using a validated tool with one-hour time step for output. The thermal performance of the collector is evaluated using energy utilization ratio and exergy efficiency as key performance indicators, which are further visualized by the digital mapping approach. The economic performance is assessed using net present value and payback period under two financial scenarios: (1) total system cost as a capital investment in the first year; (2) only 25% of total system cost is a capital investment and the remaining 75% investment is considered for a financing period with a certain interest rate. The results show that such a PVT system has better energy and exergy performance for the locations with a low annual ambient temperature and vice versa. Furthermore, it is seen that the system boundaries, such as load profile, hot water storage volume, etc., can have a significant effect on the annual energy production of the system. Economic analysis indicates that the average net present values per unit collector area are 1800 and 2200 EUR, respectively, among the 85 cities for financial model 1 and financial model 2. Nevertheless, from the payback period point of view, financial model 1 is recommended for locations with high interest rate. The study is helpful to set an understanding of general factors influencing the techno-economic performance dynamics of PVT systems for various locations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Net-Zero/Positive Energy Buildings and Districts)
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Open AccessArticle
BIM Management Measure for an Effective Green Building Project
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 147; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090147 - 27 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2168
Abstract
In light of the gap in research and practice, with regard to achieving the sustainability goals of green building, while maximizing combination with building-information-modeling (BIM) as a social system—a gap that is expressed in the absence of integration of all stakeholders—a managerial measure [...] Read more.
In light of the gap in research and practice, with regard to achieving the sustainability goals of green building, while maximizing combination with building-information-modeling (BIM) as a social system—a gap that is expressed in the absence of integration of all stakeholders—a managerial measure is proposed to integrate them and promote sustainable green building. By using a framework for implementing BIM as a social system, and through network analysis, an index is developed to assess its integration into the green building—the Green BIM Index. This measure consists of comparing a social benchmark for optimal implementation with the actual implementation, in a given project. The index is intended to help score the BIM integration level in a green building. Comparing the BIM management measure results with social benefit assessments, and the effectiveness of BIM in nine case-studies enables to understand project outcomes in terms of schedules, budgets, and quality. The paper demonstrates the index applicability, pointing to possible significant economic improvements through the implementation of BIM social capabilities. BIM management benchmarking is helpful for the comparative evaluation of similar projects incorporating green building with BIM, indicating the level of integration to improve benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Engineering: the Challenges - Trends - Achievements)
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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of Crystalline Admixtures on the Properties and Microstructure of Mortar Containing By-Products
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090146 - 21 Aug 2020
Viewed by 1064
Abstract
Crystalline admixtures and industrial by-products can be used in cement-based materials in order to improve their mechanical properties. The research examined long-term curing and the exposure to environmental actions of polymer–cement mortars with crystalline admixture (CA) and different by-products, including Bengħisa fly ash [...] Read more.
Crystalline admixtures and industrial by-products can be used in cement-based materials in order to improve their mechanical properties. The research examined long-term curing and the exposure to environmental actions of polymer–cement mortars with crystalline admixture (CA) and different by-products, including Bengħisa fly ash and Globigerina limestone waste filler. The by-products were introduced as a percentage replacement of the cement. A crystallization additive was also added to the mixtures in order to monitor the improvement in durability properties. The mechanical properties of the mortar were assessed, with 20% replacement of cement with fly ash resulting in the highest compressive strength after 540 days. The performance was analyzed with respect to various properties including permeable porosity, capillary suction, rapid chloride ion penetration and chloride migration coefficient. It was noted that the addition of fly ash and crystalline admixture significantly reduced the chloride ion penetration into the structure of the polymer cement mortar, resulting in improved durability. A microstructure investigation was conducted on the samples through Scanning Electron Microscopy-Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (SEM-EDS). Crystals forming through the crystalline admixture in the porous structure of the material were clearly observed, contributing to the improved properties of the cement-based polymer mortar. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Concrete Materials in Construction)
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Open AccessArticle
Investigation of the Effective Use of Photovoltaic Modules in Architecture
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090145 - 21 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1113
Abstract
The application of photovoltaic systems is becoming a dominant feature in contemporary buildings. They allow for the achievement of zero-energy constructions. However, the principles of this strategy are not yet sufficiently known among architects. The purpose of this study is to enhance their [...] Read more.
The application of photovoltaic systems is becoming a dominant feature in contemporary buildings. They allow for the achievement of zero-energy constructions. However, the principles of this strategy are not yet sufficiently known among architects. The purpose of this study is to enhance their expertise, which cannot be widened due to the shortage of targeted publications. The issue presentation was structured in a way that follows the typical design stages, beginning with large-scale urban problems up to the scale of building forms and components. Different types of photovoltaic (PV) systems are considered, based on their efficiency, relations with building fabrics, potential for thermally protecting buildings and their impact on esthetic values. The focus was mainly on the most popular PV modules. The application of these systems requires in-depth analyses which should be carried out by designers at the initial stage and through the next stages of the design. A method to analyze zoning plan regulations and site planning in view of PV modules’ efficiency is novel. This paper also contains considerations with regard to some other untypical applications of these systems. There is need for changing attitudes in architects and investors regarding the issue of promoting the systems through further elucidations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Engineering: the Challenges - Trends - Achievements)
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Open AccessArticle
The Application of 3D-Printing Techniques in the Manufacturing of Cement-Based Construction Products and Experiences Based on the Assessment of Such Products
Buildings 2020, 10(9), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10090144 - 19 Aug 2020
Viewed by 1258
Abstract
The construction industry has embraced digitisation and industrialisation in response to the need to increase its productivity, optimise material consumption and improve workmanship. Additive manufacturing (AM), more widely known as 3D printing, has driven substantial progress in these respects in other industries, and [...] Read more.
The construction industry has embraced digitisation and industrialisation in response to the need to increase its productivity, optimise material consumption and improve workmanship. Additive manufacturing (AM), more widely known as 3D printing, has driven substantial progress in these respects in other industries, and a number of national and international projects have helped to introduce the technique to the construction industry. As with other innovative processes not covered by uniform standards, appropriate assessments and testing methodologies to control the quality of the 3D-printed end products, while not obligatory, are advisable. This article shows that regulation is not an obstacle to the use of an innovative product, such as 3D printing, by proposing quality-control tests and an assessment methodology, in the understanding that standardisation ensures the viability of a technology. The information, including the methods and results, is based on the authors’ experiences in the development of three research projects pertaining to 3D printing. This paper also discusses whether the performance of the materials used in 3D printing could be superior to traditional ones. Full article
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