BIM-Based Life Cycle Assessment of Buildings—An Investigation of Industry Practice and Needs

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The climate debate necessitates reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. A common and standardized method of assessing this is life cycles assessment (LCA); however, time and costs are a barrier. Large efficiency potentials are associated with using data from building information models (BIM) for the LCA, but development is still at an early stage. This study investigates the industry practice and needs for BIM–LCA, and if these are met through a prototype for the Danish context, using IFC and a 3D view. Eight qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted with medium and large architect, engineering, and contractor companies, covering a large part of the Danish AEC industry. The companies used a quantity take-off approach, and a few were developing plug-in approaches. Challenges included the lack of quality in the models, thus most companies supplemented model data with other data sources. Features they found valuable for BIM–LCA included visual interface, transparency of data, automation, design evaluation, and flexibility. The 3D view of the prototype met some of the needs, however, there were mixed responses on the use of IFC, due to different workflow needs in the companies. Future BIM–LCA development should include considerations on the lack of quality in models and should support different workflows.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5455
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2021


  • life cycle assessment (LCA)
  • building information modeling (BIM)
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Sustainability
  • building life cycle
  • Integrated Design Process
  • Digitalization
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • IFC
  • Visualization


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