Expandable Houses: An Explorative Life Cycle Cost Analysis

Charlotte Cambier, Waldo Galle, Niels De Temmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
184 Downloads (Pure)


In addition to the environmental burden of its construction and demolition activities, the Flemish housing market faces a structural affordability challenge. As one possible answer, this research explores the potential of so-called expandable houses, being built increasingly often. Through specific design choices that enable the disassembly and future reuse of individual components and so align with the idea of a circular economy, expandable houses promise to provide ever-changing homes with a smaller impact on the environment and at a lower cost for clients. In this paper, an expandable house suitable for various housing needs is conceived through a scenario-based research-by-design approach and compared to a reference house for Flanders. Subsequently, for both houses the life cycle costs are calculated and compared. The results of this exploration support the proposition that designing expandable houses can be a catalyst for sustainable, circular housing development and that households could benefit from its social, economic and ecological qualities. It requires, however, a dynamic perspective on evaluating their life-cycle impact.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6974
Number of pages30
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2021


  • Design for Change
  • Housing
  • Life cycle costing
  • Adaptable building
  • Sustainable building


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