UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Integrated life cycle sustainability performance assessment framework for residential modular buildings Kamali, Mohammad


Due to the rapid global growth of sustainable construction strategies, it is important to assess the sustainability of buildings constructed by different methods. In the past few decades, the construction industry has been exposed to the process of industrialization and experimenting off-site construction methods. Modular construction, as the primary method of off-site construction, came into practice as an alternative to conventional on-site construction. This method has been claimed to offer many advantages over conventional construction. However, the continued expansion of modular construction highly depends on the quantification and evaluation of its sustainability and the claimed advantages. In this research, an integrated life cycle sustainability performance assessment framework for single-family residential modular buildings was developed. To this end, the results of a comprehensive literature review, various methodologies and tools, and extensive data collection, were integrated to develop a multi-level decision support framework (DSF). The overall framework commences with the identification and selection of the most applicable sustainability performance criteria (SPCs) for comparing the performance of modular buildings versus conventional buildings. To develop a sustainability index for each selected SPC, relevant sustainability performance indicators (SPIs and sub-SPIs) have been determined, calculated, and aggregated using suitable multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) methods and life cycle assessment (LCA). Subsequently, the same methodology has been used to develop the sustainability indices to represent the performance of a given modular building at higher levels including environmental sustainability, economic sustainability, and overall sustainability. To enable comparisons of the developed indices with the industry’s performance benchmarks, suitable sustainability performance scales (SPSs) have been established at the corresponding levels. This research, which integrated life cycle thinking and decision making, helps the construction industry and governments to make informed decisions on the selection of the most sustainable construction methods by taking into account the regional circumstances. In addition, it assists with identification of the underperforming environmental and economic areas over the life cycle of modular buildings to apply relevant corrective actions on similar projects. Moreover, the methodology outlined in this research can be adopted for sustainability assessment of other practices, processes, or products in the construction filed or any other fields.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International