How to conduct consistent environmental, economic, and social assessment during the building design process. A BIM-based Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment method

B. Soust-Verdaguer*, I. Bernardino Galeana, C. Llatas, M. V. Montes, Endrit Hoxha, A. Passer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
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The built environment is significantly responsible for the current climate crisis, thus developing more sustainable projects is becoming an urgent objective. One widely recognized method that supports achieving this objective is the Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA), which enables a holistic, quantitative evaluation of building sustainability, including environmental, economic, and social dimensions. The integration of this method in digital design tools such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) facilitates its use during the building design stages. However, data granularity is not the same in every design stage, and consequently data consistency cannot be assured. Hence, the margin of unexpected variation of the results shall be avoided and robust results from the early design stages should be obtained. During the early stage, the level of details is generally limited to the element definition, while during the detailed stages, the volume of information regarding the building increased. This paper aims to fill in the informational gaps during the early design stage and align those results with a detailed data structure developed for cost estimation during the detailed stages. Thus, based on a case study analysis, we can demonstrate the consistency of the method by determining the variation of material quantities and comparing the LCSA inventory indicators during the early and detailed stages. This method can estimate more than 60% of the LCSA inventory indicators during the early design stage and the total results during detailed design stage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103516
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Gabriel Verd Arquitectos and EMVISESA to provide the needed information to use the building case study. The authors also thank to the participants of the research project (ref. BIA2017-84830-R) and the IEA EBC Annex 72 for providing direct and indirect inputs for this study. The authors thank Laura López Escobar, Álvaro Velasco Acevedo and Alejandro Ayala Carmona for providing help with data curation and Nora Hoti for supporting with graphics editing and illustrations. The authors also appreciate the support from the University of Seville and the VI Plan Propio de Investigación ( VIPPIT-2021-I.3 ) that financially supported the research visit of the first author at the Graz University of Technology .

Funding Information:
The authors thank the Spanish Ministry of Economy for support the research project entitled “Development of a unified tool for the quantification and reduction of environmental, social and economic impacts of life cycle buildings in Building Information Modelling platforms (BIM)” Grant BIA2017-84830-R funded by MCIN / AEI / 10.13039/501100011033 . The work presented here has partial financial supporter of the National Research Plan.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors


  • Building Information Modelling (BIM)
  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
  • Life Cycle Costing (LCC)
  • Life Cycle Inventory (LCI)
  • Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA)
  • Triple Bottom Line Sustainability Assessment (TBL)


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