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Buildings, Volume 11, Issue 1 (January 2021) – 34 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Construction robots have become a popular research topic. However, there is still a gap in their ubiquitous application due to various reasons such as cost concerns. Therefore, this research presents a practical framework for the cost–benefit analysis of construction robots based on a case study of a cable-driven parallel robot for facade installation. The results show that this robot is a worthwhile investment in the UK, as well as in most developed countries. This framework can be easily adapted to assess the economic implications of other construction robot systems. The research was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 732513 – HEPHAESTUS. View this paper
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Open AccessArticle
Indoor Daylighting and Thermal Response of a Passive Solar Building to Selective Components of Solar Radiation
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010034 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 353
Abstract
Solar radiation provides the most significant natural energy in buildings for space heating and daylighting. Due to atmospheric interference, solar radiation received at the Earth’s surface consists of direct beam and diffuse radiation, where diffuse can be further broken down into longwave and [...] Read more.
Solar radiation provides the most significant natural energy in buildings for space heating and daylighting. Due to atmospheric interference, solar radiation received at the Earth’s surface consists of direct beam and diffuse radiation, where diffuse can be further broken down into longwave and visible radiation. Although each of these components co-occurs, their influence on the indoor visual and thermal conditions of a building differ. This study aims to analyze the influence of the various components of solar radiation on the indoor thermal and daylighting of a passive solar building. Thus, a pyrheliometer, pyranometer, shaded-pyranometer, and pyrgeometer mounted on a SOLYS 2 (Kipp & Zonen, Delft, Netherlands) dual Axis sun tracker, were used to monitor direct, global horizontal, diffuse and downward longwave radiation, respectively. The seasonal indoor air temperature and relative humidity were measured using an HMP 60 temperature relative humidity probe. A Li-210R photometric sensor was used to monitor the indoor illuminance. The summer and winter indoor air temperature, as well as relative humidity, were found to be influenced by diffuse horizontal and global horizontal irradiance, respectively. In summer, the indoor air temperature response to diffuse horizontal irradiance was 0.7 °C/ħW/m2 and 1.1 °C/ħW/m2 to global horizontal irradiance in winter, where ħ is 99.9 W/m2. The indoor daylighting which was found to be above the minimum office visual task recommendation in most countries, but within the useful daylight illuminance range was dominated by direct normal irradiance. A response of 260 lux/ħW/m2 was observed. The findings of the study support the strategic locating of the windows in passive solar design. However, the results show that north-facing clerestory windows without shading device could lead to visual discomfort. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgment to Reviewers of Buildings in 2020
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010033 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 443
Abstract
Peer review is the driving force of journal development, and reviewers are gatekeepers who ensure that Buildings maintains its standards for the high quality of its published papers [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Investigating the Impact of Actual and Modeled Occupant Behavior Information Input to Building Performance Simulation
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010032 - 17 Jan 2021
Viewed by 528
Abstract
Occupant behaviors are one of the most dominant factors that influence building energy use. Understanding the influences from building occupants can promote the development of energy–efficient buildings. This paper quantifies the impact of different occupant behavior information on building energy model (BEM) from [...] Read more.
Occupant behaviors are one of the most dominant factors that influence building energy use. Understanding the influences from building occupants can promote the development of energy–efficient buildings. This paper quantifies the impact of different occupant behavior information on building energy model (BEM) from multiple perspectives. For this purpose, an occupant behavior model that uses agent–based modeling (ABM) approach is implemented via co-simulation with a BEM of an existing commercial building. Then, actual occupant behavior data in correspondence to ABM output, including operations on window, door, and blinds in selected thermal zones of the building are recorded using survey logs. A simulation experiment is conducted by creating three BEMs with constant, actual, and modeled occupant behavioral inputs. The analysis of the simulation results among these scenarios helps us gain an in–depth understanding of how occupant behaviors influence building performance. This study aims to facilitate robust building design and operation with human–in–the–loop system optimization. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Systematic Review of Design Creativity in the Architectural Design Studio
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010031 - 17 Jan 2021
Viewed by 481
Abstract
Creativity is fundamental to design problem-solving. This paper sets out a systematic review of the literature in relation to its role in the architectural design studio in order to identify central issues that impact upon this activity. Challenges and best practices in relation [...] Read more.
Creativity is fundamental to design problem-solving. This paper sets out a systematic review of the literature in relation to its role in the architectural design studio in order to identify central issues that impact upon this activity. Challenges and best practices in relation to systematic reviews are outlined, and the procedure followed in this context is set out in detail. This involves an iterative evaluation process that resulted in a pool of 17 papers for analysis. Eleven themes emerged in the analysis of the papers, which were organized into five key categories dealing with: pedagogy, cognitive approach, interaction and socialization, information representation, and measuring ideation and creativity. A discussion of these categories contributed to the comparison and connections between the selected papers, and the identification of critical issues and directions for promoting creativity in the architectural design studio. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design Creativity in Architecture and Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
An Approach to Data Acquisition for Urban Building Energy Modeling Using a Gaussian Mixture Model and Expectation-Maximization Algorithm
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010030 - 16 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 587
Abstract
In recent years, a building’s energy performance is becoming uncertain because of factors such as climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic, stochastic occupant behavior and inefficient building control systems. Sufficient measurement data is essential to predict and manage a building’s performance levels. Assessing energy [...] Read more.
In recent years, a building’s energy performance is becoming uncertain because of factors such as climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic, stochastic occupant behavior and inefficient building control systems. Sufficient measurement data is essential to predict and manage a building’s performance levels. Assessing energy performance of buildings at an urban scale requires even larger data samples in order to perform an accurate analysis at an aggregated level. However, data are not only expensive, but it can also be a real challenge for communities to acquire large amounts of real energy data. This is despite the fact that inadequate knowledge of a full population will lead to biased learning and the failure to establish a data pipeline. Thus, this paper proposes a Gaussian mixture model (GMM) with an Expectation-Maximization (EM) algorithm that will produce synthetic building energy data. This method is tested on real datasets. The results show that the parameter estimates from the model are stable and close to the true values. The bivariate model gives better performance in classification accuracy. Synthetic data points generated by the models show a consistent representation of the real data. The approach developed here can be useful for building simulations and optimizations with spatio-temporal mapping. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Net-Zero/Positive Energy Buildings and Districts)
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Open AccessReview
A Critical Review of Computational Creativity in Built Environment Design
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010029 - 15 Jan 2021
Viewed by 363
Abstract
Computational creativity in built environment (BE) design has been a subject of research interest in the discipline. This paper presents a critical review of various ways computational creativity has been and can be defined and approached in BE design. The paper examines a [...] Read more.
Computational creativity in built environment (BE) design has been a subject of research interest in the discipline. This paper presents a critical review of various ways computational creativity has been and can be defined and approached in BE design. The paper examines a comprehensive body of contemporary literature on the topics of creativity, computational creativity, and their assessment to identify levels of computational creativity. The paper then proceeds to a further review of the implications of these levels specifically in BE design. The paper identifies four areas in BE design where computational creativity is relevant. In two areas—synthesis (generation) and analysis—there is considerable literature on lower levels of computational creativity. However, in two other areas—interfacing and communication—even the definition of computational creativity is not as defined and clear for the discipline, and most works only consider the role of computers as a supporting tool or medium. These open up future research opportunities for the discipline. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design Creativity in Architecture and Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of Retrofitting Solutions: Remedial Wall Ties for Masonry Enclosure Brick Walls
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010028 - 13 Jan 2021
Viewed by 319
Abstract
The external envelope walls of a significant percentage of the residential building stock in Southern European countries is commonly constituted by infill masonry walls. However, thousands of square meters of this masonry wall typology presents severe issues of cracking and instability, related to [...] Read more.
The external envelope walls of a significant percentage of the residential building stock in Southern European countries is commonly constituted by infill masonry walls. However, thousands of square meters of this masonry wall typology presents severe issues of cracking and instability, related to the incorrect and deficient support conditions of the outer brick panel of the double-leaf wall solution. In this work, an experimental campaign divided in two phases has been performed to evaluate the effectiveness of two different remedial wall ties retrofitting techniques (Solution A and Solution B) used for double leaf horizontally hollowed clay brick masonry façades. The first phase of the experimental campaign was performed on 120 isolated specimens of horizontally hollowed clay bricks, resorting to post- and pre-NP EN 771-1 brick exemplars (that is, new and pre-existent aged bricks, respectively), as well as on 4 square wallettes, with a side length of 1.20 m, considered as representative of a real scale scenario, for evaluating the two remedial wall ties retrofitting techniques. The second phase of the experimental campaign was performed to fully characterize the different failure types as well as the slipping phenomena observed in the first phase of the experimental campaign, focusing solely on the retrofitting technique Solution B and comprises 24 tests performed on isolated specimens, resourcing to new and pre-existent aged bricks as well. The results obtained by the use of these techniques revealed an average anchorage strength value ranging from 0.25 to 2.5 kN for each tested tie-bar. Solution B reveals an increase of double of the anchorage strength value in comparison to Solution A. In this sense, the global results revealed a suitable applicability of both retrofit studied solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buildings: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessArticle
Most Frequent Problems of Building Structures of Urban Apartment Buildings from 2nd Half of 19th Century and the Start of 20th Century
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010027 - 12 Jan 2021
Viewed by 413
Abstract
An urban residential building from the second half of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century, the so-called tenement house, is a significant representative of the architecture of the developing urban fabric in Central Europe. The vertical and horizontal load-bearing [...] Read more.
An urban residential building from the second half of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century, the so-called tenement house, is a significant representative of the architecture of the developing urban fabric in Central Europe. The vertical and horizontal load-bearing structures of these houses currently tend to show characteristic, repeated defects and failures. Their knowledge may, in many cases, facilitate and speed up the design of the historic building’s restoration without compromising its heritage value in this process. The article presents the summary of the most frequently occurring defects and failures of these buildings. The summary, however, is not an absolute one, and, in the case of major damage to the building, it still applies that, first of all, a detailed analysis of the causes and consequences of defects and failures must be made as a basic prerequisite for the reliability and long-term durability of the building’s restoration and rehabilitation. An integral part of the rehabilitation of buildings must be the elimination of the causes of the appearance of their failures and remediation of all defects impairing their structural safety, health safety and energy efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessment, Diagnosis and Service Life Prediction)
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Open AccessArticle
Structural Behavior of Reinforced Concrete Slabs Containing Fine Waste Aggregates of Polyvinyl Chloride
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010026 - 12 Jan 2021
Viewed by 420
Abstract
In several areas worldwide, the high cost and shortage of natural resources have encouraged researchers and engineers to explore the serviceability and feasibility of using recycled aggregates in concrete mixtures, substituting a normal aggregate percentage. This technique has advantages for the environment by [...] Read more.
In several areas worldwide, the high cost and shortage of natural resources have encouraged researchers and engineers to explore the serviceability and feasibility of using recycled aggregates in concrete mixtures, substituting a normal aggregate percentage. This technique has advantages for the environment by reducing the accumulation of waste materials, while it impacts the fresh and hardened concrete performances, reducing workability, flexural strength, compressive strength, and tensile strength. However, most studies have investigated the influence of replacing normal aggregates with waste aggregates on the concrete mechanical properties without examining the impact of using waste materials on concrete structural performance. The aim of this research is to investigate the effect of replacing 75% of sand volume with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) fine waste aggregates on the performance of reinforced concrete slabs. Different thicknesses of the concrete layer (0%, 25%, 50%, and 100% of slab thickness) containing PVC fine waste aggregates are investigated. Based on the reductions in the toughness and flexural strength capacity due to incorporating 75% PVC fine aggregate dosage, two approaches are used to strengthen the slabs with 75% PVC fine aggregates. The first approach is adding polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) to the PVC fine aggregate concrete mix to improve the mechanical properties of the concrete. The PVA increases the water viscosity in the concrete, which reduces the dry out phenomenon. With that said, the PVA modified fresh concrete does enable the use of the limits of the PVC fine aggregate dosage for high dosage plastic aggregate concrete. The second approach uses two fiber wire mesh layers as an additional reinforcement in the tested slab. Results show that the PVC-30 slab exhibits an 8% decrease in total area toughness compared to the control (Con) slab, while for PVC-60 slab toughness, the total area shows 26% less. Additionally, the inclusion of PVA in the concrete with 75% PVC plastic waste fine aggregate replacement greatly influences the pre-and post-cracking ductile performance among other slabs, representing that using PVA with higher contents might increase the flexural performance. Therefore, due to the substantial effect of PVA material on the concrete flexural performance, it is proposed to utilize PVA with an optimum PCV fine aggregate dosage in the concrete mix. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Concrete Materials in Construction)
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Open AccessArticle
Understanding the Operation of Contextual Compatibility through the Relationships among Heritage Intensity, Context Density, and Regulation Degree
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010025 - 09 Jan 2021
Viewed by 308
Abstract
It is easy to assume that historic environments consist mainly of traditional pre-modern style buildings; however, contemporary architecture is continuously added to historic environments, and its construction is positively encouraged by international heritage organizations such as UNESCO and ICOMOS. The conditions required for [...] Read more.
It is easy to assume that historic environments consist mainly of traditional pre-modern style buildings; however, contemporary architecture is continuously added to historic environments, and its construction is positively encouraged by international heritage organizations such as UNESCO and ICOMOS. The conditions required for introducing contemporary architecture to historic urban environments manifest through the concept of contextual compatibility. This paper examines the meaning and operation of this compatibility in changing urban historical and cultural environments. It offers an empirical interpretation of ‘compatibility’ using three new conceptual parameters: the level of conservation value and importance designated by the heritage conservation system (heritage intensity), the ratio of contemporary architecture in a historic environment (context density), and the range of controlling measures available for conservation (regulation degree). Based on a content analysis of the relevant literature and a case study of 24 sample sites, this paper illuminates how ‘compatibility’ operates in the field, which sometimes contradicts our common assumptions. The notable findings reveal that heritage intensity and context density in the historical environment are not directly proportional to regulation degree. Meanwhile, low context density tends to correspond with highly detailed regulations and emphasise the physical realization of traditional elements. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Seismic Upgrading of a Historical Masonry Bell Tower through an Internal Dissipative Steel Structure
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010024 - 09 Jan 2021
Viewed by 372
Abstract
Masonry towers are part of a valuable architectural heritage characterizing the landscape of many historical areas. These towers are vulnerable structures that are prone to earthquake damage. Hence, the design of effective seismic upgrading interventions is an important task for preserving such architectural [...] Read more.
Masonry towers are part of a valuable architectural heritage characterizing the landscape of many historical areas. These towers are vulnerable structures that are prone to earthquake damage. Hence, the design of effective seismic upgrading interventions is an important task for preserving such architectural forms for future generations. In view of that, the objective of this study is to contribute a possible addition to the portfolio of available approaches for seismic upgrading of masonry towers. This goal was pursued by exploring an innovative structural solution that does not alter the external appearance of the tower and its static scheme under gravity loads, yet is able to increase its capacity to withstand seismic actions through added damping. Specifically, the proposed solution consists of a steel structure internal to the masonry tower that incorporates fluid viscous dampers. In order to evaluate its potentialities, a real case study was taken as a testbed structure, historic analysis as well as geometric and architectural surveys were undertaken, an initial design for the upgrading was made, and numerical simulations were performed. The obtained results, although preliminary, highlight the potentialities of the proposed structural solution for the seismic upgrading of masonry towers and might open the way to future developments and applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Methods for Structural Rehabilitation)
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Open AccessArticle
How Long Can a Wood Flooring System Last?
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010023 - 07 Jan 2021
Viewed by 437
Abstract
Wood is a natural, sustainable, and renewable material, which has been used as flooring for centuries, but not enough is known about its durability and performance over time when subjected to different degradation agents. This study proposes a methodology for the service life [...] Read more.
Wood is a natural, sustainable, and renewable material, which has been used as flooring for centuries, but not enough is known about its durability and performance over time when subjected to different degradation agents. This study proposes a methodology for the service life prediction of wood flooring systems, considering the impact of different factors that influence the floors’ durability. For that purpose, a fieldwork survey is performed to evaluate the degradation phenomena of 96 indoor wood floorings in-use conditions, located in Portugal. The data collected are converted into degradation patterns that graphically illustrate the loss of performance of wood floorings over time. An estimated service life of 44 years is obtained. This study thus allows quantifying the impact of various characteristics on the indoor wood floorings’ service life. The results reveal the high importance of the type of protection, the type of wood, and the type of floor (with a range of estimated service life values of around 18, 17 and 16 years, respectively). This study is a first step to understanding the degradation mechanisms of the wood flooring systems, in order to extend their service life, while allowing optimising of maintenance actions, thus promoting the durability and sustainability of these floorings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessment, Diagnosis and Service Life Prediction)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Ausforming Treatment on Super Elasticity of Cu-Zn-Al Shape Memory Alloy for Seismic Energy Dissipaters
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010022 - 06 Jan 2021
Viewed by 353
Abstract
In order to develop the application of the more cost-effective copper-based shape memory alloys (SMAs), rather than nickel–titanium as earthquake energy dissipaters, the influence of ausforming-induced plastic deformation on phase transformations, microstructure, super elasticity and mechanical properties of the shape memory alloy Cu-26Zn-4Al [...] Read more.
In order to develop the application of the more cost-effective copper-based shape memory alloys (SMAs), rather than nickel–titanium as earthquake energy dissipaters, the influence of ausforming-induced plastic deformation on phase transformations, microstructure, super elasticity and mechanical properties of the shape memory alloy Cu-26Zn-4Al was examined. These specific SMA properties were targeted by applying appropriate parameters of the thermomechanical (the so-called ausforming) process: beta-phase homogenization at 800 °C for 20 min, one-step hot rolling at 800 °C and water quenching. The results showed significant microstructural changes, increased mechanical resistance and change in the phase transformation behavior. The SMA treated by ausforming retained the reversible austenitic–martensitic transformation ability, with the appearance of the super-elastic effect up to 6% of strain recovery. Although some strengthening occurred after hot rolling (an increase in true yield strength of 125 MPa was detected), all phase transformation temperatures were decreased. The smallest decrease was detected for the austenite finish temperature (32.8 °C) and the largest for the martensite finish temperature (42.0 °C), allowing both the expansion and the lowering of the temperature range of super elasticity, which is favorable for construction applications. It is concluded that it is possible to achieve an optimal combination of adequate strength and improved transformation behavior of Cu-Zn-Al alloy by applying the ausforming treatment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Proposal for Tower Crane Productivity Indicators Based on Data Analysis in the Era of Construction 4.0
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010021 - 06 Jan 2021
Viewed by 648
Abstract
This article proposes a methodology to measure the productivity of a construction site through the analysis of tower crane data. These data were obtained from a data logger that records a time series of spatial and load data from the lifting machine during [...] Read more.
This article proposes a methodology to measure the productivity of a construction site through the analysis of tower crane data. These data were obtained from a data logger that records a time series of spatial and load data from the lifting machine during the structural phase of a construction project. The first step was data collection, followed by preparation, which consisted of formatting and cleaning the dataset. Then, a visualization step identified which data was the most meaningful for the practitioners. From that, the activity of the tower crane was measured by extracting effective lifting operations using the load signal essentially. Having used such a sampling technique allows statistical analysis on the duration, load, and curvilinear distance of every extracted lifting operation. The build statistical distribution and indicators were finally used to compare construction site productivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Construction 4.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Seawater-Neutralized Bauxite Residue–Polyester Composites as Insulating Construction Materials
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010020 - 06 Jan 2021
Viewed by 347
Abstract
Bauxite residue (BR) is one of the most commonly generated industrial wastes in the world. Thus, novel techniques for its proper utilization must be urgently developed. Herein, seawater-neutralized BR–unsaturated polyester resin (UPR) composites are presented as insulating construction materials with promising mechanical performance. [...] Read more.
Bauxite residue (BR) is one of the most commonly generated industrial wastes in the world. Thus, novel techniques for its proper utilization must be urgently developed. Herein, seawater-neutralized BR–unsaturated polyester resin (UPR) composites are presented as insulating construction materials with promising mechanical performance. Composites with different BR content (0–60 vol.%) were prepared to evaluate the influence of BR content on the compressive, tensile, and flexural strengths as well as the moduli of BR–UPR composites. Experimental results revealed that adding BR particles to the polyester matrix increased the compressive properties (strength, modulus, and strain). The composites containing 20 vol.% BR showed the maximum compressive strength (108 MPa), while the composites with 30 vol.% BR exhibited the maximum compressive modulus (1 GPa). Moreover, the reduction in tensile and flexural strengths with an increase in the BR content may be attributed to the lower efficiency of stress transfer between the BR particle–polyester interface due to weak adhesion at the interface, direct contact between particles, and presence of voids or porosity. Although the tensile strength and failure stress decreased with increasing filler content, the produced composites showed outstanding tensile strength (4.0–19.3 MPa) compared with conventional insulating materials. In addition, the composite with 40 vol.% BR demonstrated a flexural strength of 15.5 MPa. Overall, BR–UPR composites showed excellent compatibility with promising mechanical properties as potential insulating construction materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Utilization of Waste Materials in Building Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
Positioning Positive Energy Districts in European Cities
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010019 - 04 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 888
Abstract
There are many concepts for buildings with integrated renewable energy systems that have received increased attention during the last few years. However, these concepts only strive to streamline building-level renewable energy solutions. In order to improve the flexibility of decentralized energy generation, individual [...] Read more.
There are many concepts for buildings with integrated renewable energy systems that have received increased attention during the last few years. However, these concepts only strive to streamline building-level renewable energy solutions. In order to improve the flexibility of decentralized energy generation, individual buildings and energy systems should be able to interact with each other. The positive energy district (PED) concept highlights the importance of active interaction between energy generation systems, energy consumers and energy storage within a district. This paper strives to inform the public, decision makers and fellow researchers about the aspects that should be accounted for when planning and implementing different types of PEDs in different regions throughout the European Union. The renewable energy environment varies between different EU regions, in terms of the available renewable energy sources, energy storage potential, population, energy consumption behaviour, costs and regulations, which affect the design and operation of PEDs, and hence, no PED is like the other. This paper provides clear definitions for different types of PEDs, a survey of the renewable energy market circumstances in the EU and a detailed analysis of factors that play an essential role in the PED planning process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Net-Zero/Positive Energy Buildings and Districts)
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Open AccessArticle
Future Housing Identities: Designing in Line with the Contemporary Sustainable Urban Lifestyle
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010018 - 04 Jan 2021
Viewed by 458
Abstract
Over the past decade, urban housing typologies have evolved from being a feature of modern life to an essential postmodern issue, questioning future housing identities. One of the ways in which architecture can become engaged in this ever-changing process of urban regeneration is [...] Read more.
Over the past decade, urban housing typologies have evolved from being a feature of modern life to an essential postmodern issue, questioning future housing identities. One of the ways in which architecture can become engaged in this ever-changing process of urban regeneration is to challenge the inherited traditional housing typologies with the newly recognized values of contemporary lifestyle. This paper presents research and design aimed at exploring contemporary sustainable urban lifestyles as a resource for positioning housing structures as cultural urban infrastructure. The main focus of this study is design principles and strategies for generating future housing identities in accordance with sustainable urban development and sustainability of life in urban areas. It is about finding housing conceptual models for an interaction between housing and identity as a response to the impact of increased cities, changed lifestyles in contemporary cities and the requirements for the preservation of the city image and the public space within the housing areas in the city center. The main goal of this study is to understand whether and how an architectural design can preserve a sustainability of life within the city center and become a valuable agent of place identity in the process of urban regeneration. The paper indicates that the contemporary development of society requires a new architectural paradigm, in which lifestyle and architecture create a unique elastic open-ended system with the ability to adapt and change over time and throughout the place. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Architecture of Collective Housing)
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Open AccessReview
Review of the Construction Labour Demand and Shortages in the EU
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010017 - 02 Jan 2021
Viewed by 626
Abstract
This paper reviews the recent literature on skill and labour shortages in the labour market with special emphasis on the construction sector in the European Union Member States, foreseeing the Construction 4.0 era. The free movement of people is one of the rights [...] Read more.
This paper reviews the recent literature on skill and labour shortages in the labour market with special emphasis on the construction sector in the European Union Member States, foreseeing the Construction 4.0 era. The free movement of people is one of the rights of all citizens of the EU which also includes the free movement of workers. Labour shortages in the EU are expected to increase in the future due to a declining population and an ageing workforce. In order to recognize and forecast labour shortages, EU Member states use a variety of instruments but they do not answer as to whether it is possible to use migrant labour to appease those shortages. There are several systems used to classify labour shortages in the EU Member states. Most of the countries classify labour shortages in relation to different sectors or occupation groups as well as by skill levels, but in some Member States, classification is made according to the type of employment. Instruments used to measure labour shortages significantly differ from country to country. Several criteria are used for creating lists of shortage occupations and most of the criteria include demand side and supply side criteria. A majority of the Member States are facing labour and skill shortages in various sectors and the construction sector is not an exception. As total employment in the construction sector decreased, so did the share of employed migrants. Labour shortages in the construction sector can be eased by the availability of a labour supply willing to accept unqualified and low-paying jobs. The construction sector seeks low-, medium-, and high-skilled individuals and is most likely the sector where most of the incoming migrants will be working, which has an impact on the development and implementation dynamic of Construction 4.0. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Construction 4.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Relief Method: The Analysis of Architectonic Façades by Fractal Geometry
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010016 - 31 Dec 2020
Viewed by 613
Abstract
This paper explores the working hypothesis that fractal patterns that closely match those found in nature are more likely to convey a strong sense of genius loci to humans by comparison with ‘Euclidean’ patterns that do not occur in nature frequently. A part [...] Read more.
This paper explores the working hypothesis that fractal patterns that closely match those found in nature are more likely to convey a strong sense of genius loci to humans by comparison with ‘Euclidean’ patterns that do not occur in nature frequently. A part of this survey is concerned with showing the pattern-conscious thinking, regarding the façade composition and material textures, of historical buildings compared to different ecological or geological scenes. We also examine the background of pattern-design from architectural theory, and extrapolate the matter to certain questions about spatial quality, tectonics, and the phenomenon of place. Our most important concern is an attempt to enhance architectural arguments regarding place and character with mathematical calculations. We introduce ‘relief method’ as a possible way to capture the haptic nature of architecture beyond the patterns of its two-dimensional projections. Through this approach, façades are considered as reliefs and pictures at the same time, thus reflecting the tension between their materiality and visual representation. Fractal geometry also helps to understand how architectonic layers define scale, and by which means architecture could be translated into the human level of physical existence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Mathematics to Architecture)
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Open AccessArticle
Vibrations Induced by Mechanical Rock Excavation on R.C. Buildings in an Urban Area
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010015 - 31 Dec 2020
Viewed by 361
Abstract
The paper describes the numerical approach adopted to investigate the effects of vibrations induced on reinforced concrete (R.C.) buildings by the excavation works needed to bury an existing railway line crossing an urban area in the south of Italy. The construction works are [...] Read more.
The paper describes the numerical approach adopted to investigate the effects of vibrations induced on reinforced concrete (R.C.) buildings by the excavation works needed to bury an existing railway line crossing an urban area in the south of Italy. The construction works are carried out in dolomitic rocks, characterized by a high resistance to excavation. Therefore, they may have a great impact on the surrounding environment in terms of induced vibrations. The study is conducted through an uncoupled approach, investigating the dynamic response of the geotechnical system and the above-surface structure, separately. The impulse force equivalent to the dynamic action of a breaker hammer is used as input motion for 2D finite element (FE) geotechnical simulations of the wave propagation process occurring during the excavation. Then, the acceleration time histories obtained from the geotechnical analyses are adopted to study the dynamic performance of an “index” R.C. building, representing the most recurrent structural typology in the examined area, through a 3D FE model. The results show how the adoption of a mitigation strategy consisting in the execution of a preliminary vertical cut followed by a rock crushing treatment allows to significantly reduce the vibrations induced by the excavation processes on existing buildings. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Numerically Evaluation of FRP-Strengthened Members under Dynamic Impact Loading
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010014 - 31 Dec 2020
Viewed by 429
Abstract
Reinforced concrete (RC) members in critical structures, such as bridge piers, high-rise buildings, and offshore facilities, are vulnerable to impact loads throughout their service life. For example, vehicle collisions, accidental loading, or unpredicted attacks could occur. The numerical models presented in this paper [...] Read more.
Reinforced concrete (RC) members in critical structures, such as bridge piers, high-rise buildings, and offshore facilities, are vulnerable to impact loads throughout their service life. For example, vehicle collisions, accidental loading, or unpredicted attacks could occur. The numerical models presented in this paper are shown to adequately replicate the impact behaviour and damage process of fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP)-strengthened concrete-filled steel tube (CFST) columns and Reinforced Concrete slabs. Validated models are developed using Abaqus/Explicit by reproducing the results obtained from experimental testing on bare CFST and RC slab members. Parameters relating to the FRP and material components are investigated to determine the influence on structural behaviour. The innovative method of using the dissipated energy approach for structural evaluation provides an assessment of the effective use of FRP and material properties to enhance the dynamic response. The outcome of the evaluation, including the geometrical, material, and contact properties modelling, shows that there is an agreement between the numerical and experimental behaviour of the selected concrete members. The experimentation shows that the calibration of the models is a crucial task, which was considered and resulted in matching the force–displacement behaviour and achieving the same maximum impact force and displacement values. Different novel and complicated Finite Element Models were comprehensively developed. The developed numerical models could precisely predict both local and global structural responses in the different reinforced concrete members. The application of the current numerical techniques can be extended to design structural members where there are no reliable practical guidelines on both national and international levels. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Fast Checking of Drift Demand in Multi-Storey Buildings with Asymmetry
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010013 - 28 Dec 2020
Viewed by 583
Abstract
Buildings possessing an asymmetrical arrangement of structural elements are torsionally unbalanced and can be vulnerable in a seismic event. Building codes of practices typically recommend the use of three-dimensional dynamic analysis to determine the seismic demands of a multi-storey building. Whilst most design [...] Read more.
Buildings possessing an asymmetrical arrangement of structural elements are torsionally unbalanced and can be vulnerable in a seismic event. Building codes of practices typically recommend the use of three-dimensional dynamic analysis to determine the seismic demands of a multi-storey building. Whilst most design practices are well equipped with commercial software for undertaking such analyses, designers often find it difficult to verify results. Much of the published technical articles present findings for buildings based on an idealised single-storey model. As a result of challenges in dealing with real multi-storey buildings, there has been very limited uptake of research findings in design practices. This article presents a three-tiered approach of estimating the displacement behaviour of the building in term of 3D/2D displacement ratio. The estimate can be used for verifying results reported from a computer package conveniently. The quick method provides predictions of the 3D/2D ratio and only requires the gross plan dimensions of the building to be known. The refined method requires knowledge of the torsional stiffness properties to be known, whereas the detailed method requires the eccentricity properties to be known as well. The proposed methodology is robust and reliable, as is demonstrated by case studies undertaken on six real multi-storey buildings. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Evaluation of the Environmental Payback Times and Economic Convenience in an Energy Requalification of a School
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010012 - 28 Dec 2020
Viewed by 422
Abstract
The majority of Italian schools (70%) were built in the absence of any legislation related to energy efficiency, and therefore have very low energy performance due to aging or poor quality of construction. An energy retrofit of this building stock is needed to [...] Read more.
The majority of Italian schools (70%) were built in the absence of any legislation related to energy efficiency, and therefore have very low energy performance due to aging or poor quality of construction. An energy retrofit of this building stock is needed to meet the current European goals on greenhouse gas emission reduction. The retrofit is also needed in order to guarantee adequate comfort levels in indoor spaces and good conditions for learning and educational activities, that are often not reached in poor quality constructions. This work presents the results of an interdisciplinary study related to the energy requalification of a school located in Ostia, near Rome in Italy, built in the 1960s with a steel structure and Eternit infill. The scope of the analysis is to verify the economic and environmental effectiveness of four proposed retrofit interventions concerning the replacement of fixtures and the installation of an insulating coat. The current thermal transmittance of the walls was evaluated through thermofluximetric measurements conducted in situ; dynamic simulations were performed to determine the current energy performance and the energy performances following the four proposed retrofit scenarios. Energy and carbon payback times were evaluated (by means of the life cycle analysis (LCA) approach) and the economic value was determined for each of the four proposed retrofits, using a probabilistic approach. The results show that the replacement of windows is the most convenient intervention from all points of view. The study provides evidence that an assessment of schools’ energy retrofits should include both economic and life cycle aspects. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Critical Review of the Evolution of Project Delivery Methods in the Construction Industry
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010011 - 26 Dec 2020
Viewed by 528
Abstract
Selecting the appropriate project delivery method (PDM) is a very significant managerial decision that impacts the success of construction projects. This paper provides a critical review of related literature on the evolution of project delivery methods, selection methods and selection criteria over the [...] Read more.
Selecting the appropriate project delivery method (PDM) is a very significant managerial decision that impacts the success of construction projects. This paper provides a critical review of related literature on the evolution of project delivery methods, selection methods and selection criteria over the years and their suitability in the construction industry of today’s world. The literature review analysis has concluded that project delivery methods evolve at a slower rate compared to the evolution of the construction industry. The paper also suggests features of an evolved project delivery method that is digitally integrated, people-centered, and sustainability-focused. Moreover, the paper highlights the latest selection criteria such as risk, health and wellbeing, sustainability goals and technological innovations. Furthermore, the paper concluded that advanced artificial intelligence techniques are yet to be exploited to develop a smart decision support model that will assist clients in selecting the most appropriate delivery method for successful project completion. Additionally, the paper presents a framework that illustrates the relationship between the different PDM variables needed to harmonize with the construction industry. Last, but not least, the paper fills a gap in the literature as it covers a different perspective in the field of project delivery methods. The paper also provides recommendations and future research ideas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buildings: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessArticle
Automated Positioning of Anchors for Personal Fall Arrest Systems for Steep-Sloped Roofs
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010010 - 25 Dec 2020
Viewed by 385
Abstract
Falls account for about one-third of all construction fatalities with most fatalities in the roofing trade. Even though a personal fall arrest system (PFAS) is required for fall protection, proper placement of PFAS anchor points is an issue evidenced by the high number [...] Read more.
Falls account for about one-third of all construction fatalities with most fatalities in the roofing trade. Even though a personal fall arrest system (PFAS) is required for fall protection, proper placement of PFAS anchor points is an issue evidenced by the high number of fatalities caused by incorrect anchor positioning. The research goal was to proof the concept of optimizing the location of the PFAS anchor points on steep-sloped roofs. This goal was achieved by: (1) Developing an algorithm for converting the required local jurisdiction construction regulations and standards for PFAS anchor positioning into machine-readable rules; and (2) Developing and validating an algorithm for optimizing the location of PFAS anchor points. The K-Nearest Neighbor Search (KNNS) optimization algorithm was selected in this research and was implemented into a standalone computer tool using Python programming language. The tool calculates the potential anchor locations that satisfy the fall clearance and swing hazard requirements and then displays the anchor locations both graphically and numerically. The optimization algorithm was validated using the K-fold Cross-Validation method, which proved the algorithm was adequately accurate and consistent. The research contribution is the proof of the concept that the development of an optimization algorithm and automated field-level tool for optimal selection of PFAS anchor points is possible, further research and refinement could help steep-sloped roofing companies improve their safety practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Computer Technology in Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle
Nonlinear Static Seismic Response of a Building Equipped with Hybrid Cross-Laminated Timber Floor Diaphragms and Concentric X-Braced Steel Frames
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010009 - 24 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 507
Abstract
Simplified seismic design procedures mostly recommend the adoption of rigid floor diaphragms when forming a building’s lateral force-resisting structural system. While rigid behavior is compatible with many reinforced concrete or composite steel-concrete floor systems, the intrinsic stiffness properties of wood and ductile timber [...] Read more.
Simplified seismic design procedures mostly recommend the adoption of rigid floor diaphragms when forming a building’s lateral force-resisting structural system. While rigid behavior is compatible with many reinforced concrete or composite steel-concrete floor systems, the intrinsic stiffness properties of wood and ductile timber connections of timber floor slabs typically make reaching a such comparable in-plane response difficult. Codes or standards in North America widely cover wood-frame construction, with provisions given for both rigid and flexible floor diaphragms designs. Instead, research is ongoing for emerging cross-laminated-timber (CLT) and hybrid CLT-based technologies, with seismic design codification still currently limited. This paper deals with a steel-CLT-based hybrid structure built by assembling braced steel frames with CLT-steel composite floors. Preliminary investigation on the performance of a 3-story building under seismic loads is presented, with particular attention to the influence of in-plane timber diaphragms flexibility on the force distribution and lateral deformation at each story. The building complies with the Italian Building Code damage limit state and ultimate limit state design requirements by considering a moderate seismic hazard scenario. Nonlinear static analyses are performed adopting a finite-element model calibrated based on experimental data. The CLT-steel composite floor in-plane deformability shows mitigated effects on the load distribution into the bracing systems compared to the ideal rigid behavior. On the other hand, the lateral deformation always rises at least 17% and 21% on average, independently of the story and load distribution along the building’s height. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Timber Structures: Latest Developments, Challenges, and Perspectives)
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Open AccessArticle
A Simple Framework for the Cost–Benefit Analysis of Single-Task Construction Robots Based on a Case Study of a Cable-Driven Facade Installation Robot
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010008 - 24 Dec 2020
Viewed by 538
Abstract
Single-task construction robots (STCRs) have become a popular research topic for decades. However, there is still a gap in the ubiquitous application of STCRs for onsite construction due to various reasons, such as cost concerns. Therefore, cost–benefit analysis (CBA) can be used to [...] Read more.
Single-task construction robots (STCRs) have become a popular research topic for decades. However, there is still a gap in the ubiquitous application of STCRs for onsite construction due to various reasons, such as cost concerns. Therefore, cost–benefit analysis (CBA) can be used to measure the net economic benefit of the STCRs, compared to traditional construction methods, in order to boost the implementation of STCRs. This paper presents a simple and practical framework for the economic evaluation of STCRs and conducts a case study of a cable-driven facade installation robot to verify the method. The results show that the cable-driven robot for facade installation is worth investing in in the UK, as well as in the majority of G20 countries. Furthermore, other socioenvironmental implications of STCRs and the limitations of the study are also discussed. In conclusion, the proposed method is highly adaptable and reproducible. Therefore, researchers, engineers, investors, and policy makers can easily follow and customize this method to assess the economic advantages of any STCR systems, compared to traditional construction technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture: Integration of Art and Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
Numerical Simulation and Parametric Analysis of Precast Concrete Beam-Slab Assembly Based on Layered Shell Elements
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010007 - 24 Dec 2020
Viewed by 485
Abstract
Precast concrete (PC) plays an important role in the industrialization processes of buildings, so it is critical to study the seismic performance of such structures. Several experimental and numerical studies have been conducted to investigate the behavior of PC beam-to-column connections. However, most [...] Read more.
Precast concrete (PC) plays an important role in the industrialization processes of buildings, so it is critical to study the seismic performance of such structures. Several experimental and numerical studies have been conducted to investigate the behavior of PC beam-to-column connections. However, most of the previous studies neglect the contribution of slabs. In light of this, this paper presents a numerical simulation method for dry connected beam-slab assemblies based on the layered shell element available in OpenSees. The beams were modeled with fiber elements, while the slabs were modeled with layered shell elements. The developed model was validated by simulating a typical beam-slab assembly test, with the characteristics of hysteretic performance found to be well reflected by the model. Moreover, a parametric study was performed to quantify the influence of slab parameters. The results showed that the thickness of the slab had a significant effect on the hysteretic performance of the specimen and that the influence of the slab width was obviously reduced after it exceeded a certain limit. Besides, the effect of the reinforcement ratio on stiffness and loadbearing capacity was not obvious and was accompanied by a slight positive correlation with the energy dissipation capacity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structural Analysis for Earthquake-Resistant Design of Buildings)
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Open AccessReview
Life Cycle GHG Emissions of Residential Buildings in Humid Subtropical and Tropical Climates: Systematic Review and Analysis
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010006 - 24 Dec 2020
Viewed by 504
Abstract
Improving the environmental life cycle performance of buildings by focusing on the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions along the building life cycle is considered a crucial step in achieving global climate targets. This paper provides a systematic review and analysis of 75 [...] Read more.
Improving the environmental life cycle performance of buildings by focusing on the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions along the building life cycle is considered a crucial step in achieving global climate targets. This paper provides a systematic review and analysis of 75 residential case studies in humid subtropical and tropical climates. The study investigates GHG emissions across the building life cycle, i.e., it analyses both embodied and operational GHG emissions. Furthermore, the influence of various parameters, such as building location, typology, construction materials and energy performance, as well as methodological aspects are investigated. Through comparative analysis, the study identifies promising design strategies for reducing life cycle-related GHG emissions of buildings operating in subtropical and tropical climate zones. The results show that life cycle GHG emissions in the analysed studies are mostly dominated by operational emissions and are the highest for energy-intensive multi-family buildings. Buildings following low or net-zero energy performance targets show potential reductions of 50–80% for total life cycle GHG emissions, compared to buildings with conventional energy performance. Implementation of on-site photovoltaic (PV) systems provides the highest reduction potential for both operational and total life cycle GHG emissions, with potential reductions of 92% to 100% and 48% to 66%, respectively. Strategies related to increased use of timber and other bio-based materials present the highest potential for reduction of embodied GHG emissions, with reductions of 9% to 73%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Building Energy Consumption in the Global South)
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Open AccessReview
A Review on the Factors Affecting the Use of Offsite Construction in Multifamily Housing in the United States
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010005 - 24 Dec 2020
Viewed by 468
Abstract
The increasing demand for multifamily housing in the United States requires alternatives for building more affordable and sustainable housing to improve the quality of life for millions of families. Offsite construction (OSC) strategies may be a viable alternative for tackling this problem. Although [...] Read more.
The increasing demand for multifamily housing in the United States requires alternatives for building more affordable and sustainable housing to improve the quality of life for millions of families. Offsite construction (OSC) strategies may be a viable alternative for tackling this problem. Although the use of OSC is significant in the multifamily housing market in the world and it is also very promising in the US, a scarce amount of literature has focused on this topic. The purpose of this study is to identify specific factors that affect decisions on the use of OSC in multifamily housing in the US. Focusing on the sustainability dimensions of construction—social, environmental, and economic—the authors reviewed literature that was published between 2000 and 2019 and identified factors that are related to OSC adoption in general construction, in housing construction, and, more specifically, in multifamily housing construction in the US. Subsequently, a discussion on some important factors affecting decisions on the use of OSC in the American multifamily market is provided. The discussion focused on factors that, although important, have been under explored in the literature that addresses the use of OSC in multifamily projects, especially in the US, which are: customer’s attitude, building performance, and building comfort and indoor environmental quality (IEQ). In addition, a brief discussion regarding the importance of design to the uptake of OSC in multifamily projects is provided. This is one of the first studies dedicated to exploring the social, environmental, and economic factors that affect the use of OSC in multifamily housing in the US. The study also identifies research gaps, which serve as a roadmap for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Architecture of Collective Housing)
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