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Industrial Construction Methods for Cost-Effective and Sustainable Multi-Storey Buildings
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Building Technology.
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

Reduction of the cost of construction is a constant goal for the building industry. One way of reducing the construction cost of buildings is to develop building technologies that will give increased productivity. Reduced construction time at the building-site and waste of materials and resources contribute to furtherreduction of the costs. This is why the sector is developing towards more industrialized construction methods with prefabricated components. The objective of this thesis is development of industrial construction methods forcost-effective and energy-efficient construction of multi-storey buildings. It is important to highlight the difference between cheap or low-cost and cost-effective production. It is possible to produce buildings to a low-cost at the expense of decreased quality and design. Conversely, cost-effective buildings are buildings that are produced to a low cost while maintaining a high standard of design and comfort. While cost reduction efforts are often made based on a, relatively, fixed building process, this research is focused on reducing the costs by changing the building process with the help of innovative building technologies. The construction of a building is a very complex practice with a wide range of interacting processes. The hypothesis is that a holistic approach is advantageous in order to find effective construction methods. To achieve a holistic view, an interdisciplinary approach to the research is required. By approaching the development of construction methods from the point of view of the entire building process, it is possible to achieve optimizations with synergy effects and by that find solutions that are time-efficient, energy-efficient and cost-effective at the same time.

The work started by analysing the building process and the construction methods currently used in order to; discover the most common problems, gain understanding of the strengths and weaknesses in the conventional construction methods and identify the fields where the largest potential for improvements existed. Based on this analysis, a new building concept for industrial construction of multi-storey buildings is formulated called The Symphony concept. The concept involves a holistic view of the whole building process and is based on a prefabricated heavy structure that is covered with a prefabricated building envelope consisting of large, light-weight elements with a high degree of prefabrication and finished exterior surfaces. The concept required development of new types of building-elements and assembly methods. The technology was first evaluated while still on the drawing table. Some of these evaluations have been of a more detailed character and are reported in scientific papers. Thereafter an experimental building in full scale was erected in order to test the developed technology during production and assembly, while measurements and tests were performed in order to evaluate the performance of the building in operation. Based on the obtained results suggestions for improvements could be given in order to upgrade the concept further.

The economic analysis of the building process showed that the largest cost posts in the construction of dwellings are the climatic shell (24 %), the interior finishing, and the management costs. The construction of the climatic shell is optimized through the use of the Symphony elements while the management costs are reduced through the use of prefabricated elements with a high degree of prefabrication which, substantially, increase the construction speed. Results show that it is possible to reduce the construction costs with about 25 % when constructing according to the Symphony concept compared to conventional construction methods.

The construction of the large light-weight Symphony-elements was possible thanks to the CasaBona system. CasaBona is a building system which integrates the thermal insulation with the structural elements in the outer walls by embedding sheet metal profiles into stiff insulation blocks. The results show that the strength of the profile, when embedded in rigid insulation blocks, is increased between 22 % and 33 % when submitted to bending forces, and between 161 % and 210 % when submitted to compressive forces.

Simulations of the annual energy use of buildings show that the energy performance of buildings is improved with increased effective thermal mass. Increased mass is also beneficial from the acoustic point of view. However, it is important that the interior space is separated from the exterior climate with constructions that have low U-values. It could be concluded that the most beneficial design strategy is the combination of a heavy core-construction (which has a large mass and thermal inertia) and a light-weight building envelope (which yields low U-value without adding to the thickness of the outer-wall).

The construction of the experimental building made it possible to test the technology in an inexpensive yet realistic way. However, it is important to bear in mind that the information which can be gathered from an experimental building can be limited depending on the size of the building and its finishing standard. It could also be noticed that industrial construction benefits from an interdisciplinary design process since this render the increased use of prefabricated components possible.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2008. , xiv, 15-101 p.
Series
Meddelande. Institutionen för byggvetenskap, ISSN 1651-5563 ; 08/201
National Category
Building Technologies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9212ISBN: 978-91-7415-122-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-9212DiVA: diva2:37567
Public defence
2008-10-10, Salongen, KTHB, Osquars backe 31, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100906Available from: 2008-10-08 Created: 2008-10-08 Last updated: 2010-11-24Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Symphony: a flexible system for sustainable building
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Symphony: a flexible system for sustainable building
2003 (English)In: Dense Living Urban Structures: Proceedings of The International conference on Open Building in Hong Kong, 2003Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Buildings are not meant to be static objects in time; they should be allowed to evolve together with the city. While three-dimensional flexibility is of uttermost importance it is equally important that movement is allowed along the time axis. Future changes should be incorporated in the buildings erected today. This article is to present Symphony, a concept that makes way for:

  • optimisation of the construction technology to minimize production time, material waste and global environmental impact as well as significantly improving the total economy.
  • buildings with components and material combinations that can literally be dismounted and reused or recycled.
  • an internal space that is possible to reconstruct for future requirements since the construction system makes the plan highly flexible and variable.

The use of multi-floor vertical light weight building elements offers fast assembly and dismounting. Furthermore the façade elements are completely finished on the outside and finished till gypsum board on the inside including windows and all the vertical installations. With time, they can easily be replaced by a glass façade, for example to hold offices. The concept is highly focused on cost effectiveness since the right price will facilitate the sustainable way of building.

Keyword
Multi-family houses, integrated construction systems, sustainable buildings, costeffective buildings, lightweight constructions
National Category
Building Technologies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-6813 (URN)
Note
QC 20100906Available from: 2007-02-27 Created: 2007-02-27 Last updated: 2010-09-06Bibliographically approved
2. Temperature and moisture modelling of rendering on light weight constructions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Temperature and moisture modelling of rendering on light weight constructions
2005 (English)In: Proceedings of the 7th Nordic Symposium on Building Physics in the Nordic countries, 2005Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Rendered light weight constructions have a low thermal inertia witch makes them especially sensitive towards changes in temperature. The lack of thermal inertia causes the construction to give a much quicker response to ambient temperature. Calcium cement rendering is a commonly used material for weather protection but will expand and shrink with temperature and moisture changes. When the changes occur rapidly the fast movement of the material can cause it to crack and lose its moisture-proof characteristics. To study the drying out of the rendering, the phenomena was simulated using numerical calculations. A comparative calculation model with coupled heat and moisture transfer was created to evaluate the effects of mass transport on the heat distribution. The construction studied is a so called Symphony outer wall element which is a light weight construction. The rendering layer is assumed to have been saturated after a rain period. The drying out of the construction during a five day period is then studied. The calculations performed with the first model show large variations in temperature and moisture content which may cause the rendering to crack. The results are then compared with the second calculation model with coupled mass and heat transfer calculations which takes into account the thermal inertia of the moisture and its effects on the temperature variations. The purpose of this is to try to evaluate the significance of mass transfer in temperature simulations.

Keyword
rendered light weight constructions, mass and heat transfer, Capillary suction
National Category
Building Technologies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-6814 (URN)
Note
QC 20100906Available from: 2007-02-27 Created: 2007-02-27 Last updated: 2010-09-06Bibliographically approved
3. Symphony: industrial production of MULTI-STOREY buildings: report from the research tower project
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Symphony: industrial production of MULTI-STOREY buildings: report from the research tower project
2006 (English)In: Proceedings of the Joint International Conference on Computing and Decision Making in Civil and Building Engineering, 2006Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Keyword
industrial construction, prefabrication, multistorey buildings, integrated design, optimized building process
National Category
Building Technologies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-6815 (URN)
Note
QC 20100906Available from: 2007-02-27 Created: 2007-02-27 Last updated: 2010-09-06Bibliographically approved
4. The impact of industrialized construction on the production cost of dwellings
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The impact of industrialized construction on the production cost of dwellings
2008 (English)In: Automation in Construction, ISSN 0926-5805, E-ISSN 1872-7891Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
Keyword
industrialized construction, cost estimation, dwellings, prefabrication, construction costs
National Category
Building Technologies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-24364 (URN)
Note
QS 20120315Available from: 2010-09-06 Created: 2010-09-06 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
5. Energy efficient design of buildings: building envelope performance and thermal stability
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Energy efficient design of buildings: building envelope performance and thermal stability
2008 (English)In: Journal of Building Physics, ISSN 1744-2591, E-ISSN 1744-2583Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
Keyword
thermal capacity, thermal insulation, night ventilation, activated thermal mass, solar radiation, building-envelope performance, heating demand, cooling demand
National Category
Building Technologies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-24366 (URN)
Note
QS 20120315Available from: 2010-09-06 Created: 2010-09-06 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
6. Sheet metal profiles restrained by insulation blocks
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sheet metal profiles restrained by insulation blocks
2008 (English)In: Thin-walled structures, ISSN 0263-8231, E-ISSN 1879-3223Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
Keyword
integrated constructions, sheet metal profiles, expanded polystyrene, local buckling, elastic foundation, finite strip method
National Category
Building Technologies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-24369 (URN)
Note
QS 20120315Available from: 2010-09-06 Created: 2010-09-06 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved

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