Development of a framework to assess the reversibility of connections between building elements in BIM

Scriptie/masterproef: Master's Thesis


Extending the lifespan of buildings and valorizing their constituent building products at the End of Life (EoL) can support the transition towards a more sustainable built environment. Practically, this is done by making adaptations to buildings during their lifespan, or ultimately, by deconstructing them in the end. But this is nowadays not common practice because buildings are difficult to adapt and disassemble in a cost-effective way (Guy and Ciarimboli, 2005). When future adaptations of the building are already planned from its construction phase, the possibility to adapt and deconstruct buildings and their building elements increases. This design strategy is known as ‘Design for Disassembly’ (DfD). Computer-aided methods such as the Disassembly Network Analysis (DNA) method (Denis et al., 2018) are being developed to allow quantitative DfD analyses of buildings, supporting a better-informed design. These DfD analysis methods use Building Information Models (BIM) as a platform for geometric and non-geometric building data.
The principles of DfD and the quantitative DfD methods usually rely on information about connections, such as their reversibility , which is the possibility to undo connections in order to disassemble building elements (with no or minimal damage and/or waste creation). However, this information about connections in BIM is often absent or scarcely implemented in a BIM model.
This research aims at clarifying and analysing the DNA parameters used to assess the reversibility of connections in BIM and developing a taxonomy suitable for the disassembly assessment of connections in BIM. For this, a new framework is proposed to assess the reversibility of connections in terms of their detachability, tool availability, accessibility and environmental conditions and accidental disassembly. Each of these parameters are studied and tested iteratively in the commercial BIM software Autodesk®Revit 2020. Since these parameters have to be stored in the BIM model, the modelling approach of connections in BIM is analysed by means of a SWOT analysis.
Originally, reversibility was only evaluated based on the detachability of connections. By broadening the definition of the reversibility, more technically feasible disassembly assessments of connections and their corresponding building elements can be done. The developed framework is implemented in the BIM software Autodesk® Revit 2020 and tested on a structural frame, indicating that it is feasible to model the presented parameters in BIM for the disassembly assessment of buildings. Because the implementation of connections in BIM is an absolute necessity in DfD analyses of buildings, this research contributes greatly to the quantitative disassembly assessment tools by providing a framework to assess the reversibility of connections and a methodology to implement it in BIM.
Datum Prijsjun 2020
BegeleiderNiels De Temmerman (Promotor), Waldo Galle (Co-promotor) & Camille Vandervaeren (Advisor)

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