ON THE EFFECTS OF BUILDING LIFE CYCLE ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: A CASE FOR THE ADOPTION OF A BIM BASED LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT TOOL

S C Ugochukwu, F C Emoh, J O Duluora, B N Iheama

Abstract


This paper appraises the need for proper planning of the building life cycle via a Building Information Modeling (BIM) based building life cycle assessment (LCA) tool in order to ameliorate adverse impacts of the various stages on sustainable development, specifically the environmental dimension. The study was based on anecdotal evidence/the researcher’s firsthand experience/observation and a literature survey of building life cycle stages and sustainable development/environmental impacts as well as the building life cycle assessment as the key issues. Findings revealed that all stages of a building life cycle consumes energy and impacts on the environment via emission of greenhouse gases, waste generation and pollution, thereby affecting sustainable development. A life cycle assessment planning tool is also in existence, which is essentially aBIM software that enables users or built environment professionals to predict the impact of building materials such as the carbon footprints and processes on the environment. It can evaluate the life of building production from -cradle to grave, hence looking holistically at the life of such a building, thereby encouraging and informing better alternative ways and materials to reach such a product with fewer amounts of environmental impacts. This study expects not only to serve as a reminder or new knowledge to built environment stakeholders of how their activities cost the environment, it may also prove valuable to protecting Nigeria’s built environment, construction industry, infrastructure development and/or sustainable urban development. However, challenges still abound that there is the lack of political will of the government to implement sustainability/environmental protection initiatives like promoting the mandatory adoption of LCAs as a construction planning tool, encouraging research into eco-friendly building materials and punitive measures on erring clients, designers and contractors on use of non-environmental friendly building materials and practices. Though, LCA tool is still very much at its infancy especially in the developing parts of the world like Nigeria, there is the urgent need for construction/built environment professionals and stakeholders to embrace it during project planning in order to ensure environmental protection and ultimately sustainable development.
Keywords: Building life cycle, Life cycle assessment, Sustainable development, Planning, Environmental impacts


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