UBC Graduate Research

Materials and Resources in Buildings at UBC : Identifying and Reducing Harmful Material Abdelaziz, Mohammed; Zhang, Emma; Likhite, Suyog; Liu, Guanchu; Davari, Salar


The research began with studying the current “Red-List” framework created by “Lorena Polovina”. The framework was based on giving each material hazard classification a certain color code for easy identification. Her developed framework targeted the reduction in using hazard material within UBC context across the different material usage life cycle periods. By, deep-diving into the framework formulation, it has been noticed that the framework lacks critical factors, tools, and concerns to enable it to fulfill its function. These missing factors have been summarized as follows. The lack of additional considerations in selecting materials. Also, the framework did not rely on any quantifiable measurements. There were many data gaps addressing many materials. Despite mentioning the material usage phases, there wasn’t a solid prioritization for every single phase. As a whole, the list was a long table which signs impracticality when being used as an actual selection aiding tool. The team investigated firstly the LEED V4 framework addressing building material hazard mitigation which is a common goal with UBC’s “Red-List”. It has been found that the concerned framework would benefit from a solid credited scoring system which will encourage the use of healthier material and reward compliant designers and renovators. It drew our sight into how to mitigate the manufacturer’s resistance in releasing data by various methods as hazard screening and third-party verification. We have concluded that by having an easy to a research tool, the system will be used in a practical way. Post collecting these data from the LEED V4 framework, life cycle strategies from Life building challenge, Elixir, IDP and International Living Future Institute have been studied. The study resulted in very promising takeaways that would directly improve the “Red-List” framework. The study outcomes promoted the favoritism of renewable, recyclable and local building materials over the others. Also, phases prioritization and UBC influence in each phase have been pointed out giving the majority of priority to the occupancy phase, followed by the installation and recycling phases and identifying the sourcing and manufacturing priorities as the least concern in UBC context. At the end of this study, it has been concluded that UBC can use its influence in filing the framework’s data gaps at certain usage phases. After collecting the above-mentioned insights the team has prepared a specific improvement strategy for UBC “Red-List” framework consisted of six steps. It started by adding vital selection consideration to the hazard category as exposure, renewability, durability, and origin. The second step is giving percentile prioritization to material usage phases followed by constituting an effective scoring system for each building material. Afterward, options have been given to UBC policymakers on how to use their influential power in filling the data gaps with the red list. A material selection tool was then introduced to cultivate the fruitfulness of the improved framework. Moreover, the team ended the improvement sequence by proposing search easiness methodology to make transform the whole system into a practical platform. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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