Evaluation of BIM-based LCA results for building design


Digital tools based on Building Information Modelling (BIM) provide the potential to facilitate environmental performance assessments of buildings. Various tools that use a BIM model for automatic quantity take-off as basis for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) have been developed recently. This paper describes the first application of such a BIM-LCA tool to evaluate the embodied global warming potential (GWP) throughout the whole design process of a real building. 34 states of the BIM model are analysed weekly. The results show that the embodied GWP during the design phase is twice as high as for the final building. These changes can be mainly attributed to the designers’ approach of using placeholder materials that are refined later, besides other reasons. As such, the embodied GWP is highly overestimated and a BIM-based environmental assessment during the design process could be misleading and counterproductive. Finally, three alternatives to the established automatic quantity take-off are discussed for future developments.

Automation in Construction
Alexander Hollberg
Alexander Hollberg
Associate Professor

Alexander Hollberg is Assistant Professor in the Division of Building Technology, at Chalmers.