Industrialised construction extends the life of buildings and significantly reduces environmental impact

These were the findings of a study developed by UIC Barcelona researchers in cooperation with the Association of Manufacturers of Industrialised Housing

Industrialised construction systems increase the life of housing blocks and significantly reduce the environmental impact, both of the construction process and their subsequent energy performance. These were the findings of a study developed by UIC Barcelona School of Architecture lecturers Ivan Llach Juny and Raquel Colacios Parra, in cooperation with the Association of Manufacturers of Industrialised Concrete High-Rise Housing (VIVIALT), which forms part of the ANDECE prefabricated concrete manufacturers employer’s association.

The study establishes a comparison between the traditional construction system, strongly established in Spain, and the new industrialised concrete systems. To this end, two typified housing constructions are taken as a reference – one linear and one tower-shaped – and their economic, environmental, and social characteristics are compared.

Research shows that industrialised systems reduce the total cost of the process by up to 20%, by cutting down on the execution time. The durability of pre-fabricated concrete elements is another feature highlighted in the study, as it allows for an extended building life and significantly reduces maintenance and rehabilitation costs. At the structural level, this system offers advantages regarding the freeing up of space inside and a better technical quality of the façades. In addition, the industrialised model virtually eliminates the generation of waste in the construction process and also reduces CO2 emissions and energy consumption. The study also found a 50% reduction in the occupational risks associated with the construction of a typified building.   

Antonio Tovar, director of VIVIALT notes, “It is important to emphasise not only the cost savings from the reduction in the execution time of the works, but also the considerable progress that it represents in its environmental and social impact.

“On comparing the systems, it has been shown to have significant advantages for which we believe that there is still a great deal of scope of the industrialised construction market. The UIC Barcelona lecturers Llach and Colacios concluded that “We believe that this model is central to the future of construction of high-rise housing in our country. “

The conclusions of the study will be presented on Thursday, 2 July, within VIVIALT’s cycle of webinars entitled Los jueves de la industrialización (“Industrialization Thursdays”).

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