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Integrating processes and teams – a key for achieving sustainable buildings

Contributed by: EEIG

This insight and many others were given during the DIRECTION final event which brought together experts from the field of sustainable buildings to share the outcomes of the four years of work.
Hosted on 17 February 2016 by the Technische Universität München (TUM), in Munich, Germany, the event was also designed to target future architects, developers and engineers including master and doctoral students. Julia Vicente from DIRECTION coordinator CARTIF gave an overview about the project, the demo sites, the partnership and the ambition to bring energy consumption under 60kWh/m2/ year.

Three consecutive roundtables tackled the major outcomes of DIRECTION. The first roundtable was chaired by Carlos Bárcena from Dragados and brought in Oliver Vietgen from Domagk, Michael Krause from Fraunhofer IBP and Ulrich Filippi Oberegger from EURAC . Focussing on the Smart and integrated design-construction-management process, Carlos introduced the current state of affairs. He emphasised that “…despite the construction industry’s capability of delivering complex and novel projects, conventional construction processes tend to be highly inefficient. These are often largely sequential and separated, and the structure of the industry is sustained on a contractual and confrontational culture”.

A mitigating factor would be to focus more on meeting the needs of the end-user, which would lead to more integrated processes. At the DIRECTION demo sites, designers worked in close collaboration with the other partners so that their creative and analytical skills were used to best effect in the project delivery as a whole, and not only in the final building design. Designers, constructors and suppliers need to work together across the whole value chain.

Other important factors in the process are product development and building life cycle. Product development requires detailed knowledge of clients and their aspirations, a factor particularly borne in mind in the processes implemented during the project. Designers need to integrate the costs of the whole life cycle, including costs of energy consumption and maintenance. Simulation models to measure end-product performance before and after actual construction are highly recommended. Wrapping up this first roundtable, Carlos concluded: “We must bear in mind that real change will not just be about getting the construction partners to meet the client’s demands, but also about pushing back the boundaries of client aspirations” and he continued “We need to make sure our products incorporate the most innovative and efficient technologies, and that the client will be willing to invest in these technologies.”

The second roundtable examined how to control costs during the building and operational phases. It was chaired by Oliver Vietgen from FACIT and was composed of Sergio Sanz CARTIF, Norberto Gonzalez Hildalgo 1AI, Alexander Alber BLS, and Carlos Bárcena Dragados. Oliver started the discussion by asking “Why control costs at all?” From the perspective of sustainable buildings designers, controlling costs helps to generate reasonable profit or to avoid financial loss for the client. It can affect building characteristics and end-users’ business models.

How to estimate the costs? At the DIRECTION demo sites, the cost estimation tools focused on energy costs as these were key to the project. Energy building simulation played at central role at the German demo site as a decision-making tool. As an example, Oliver described the decision about the window sizes on the north façade: “At NuOffice, (we discussed) from an energy efficiency point of view, small windows were desirable to reduce potential heat loss and increase sunlight capture; from a functional point of view, large windows were preferable to provide optimum day light in all working areas independent of their size and layout; from an economic point of view, identical window sizes on all facades (North, South, East West) were considered to reduce the overall production costs of the product.”

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Organisation EEIG
    Drève du Pressoir 38
    B-1190 Brussels


Related information



  • Germany, Spain, Italy


sustainability, energy efficiency, costs, building envelope, NZEBs
Record Number: 131517 / Last updated on: 2016-03-08
Category: Policy making and guidelines
Provider: WIRE
Revision: 0