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The development of demand in buildings, apart from demographic data and powerful economic influence is proportional to the required building volume per capita, and inversely proportional to service lifetime and to both manufacture and use. Technically speaking, a durable building that has a lower maintenance load will last longer. However, the “fitness for purpose” ultimately determines the service lifetime.
Taking into consideration a durable asset with a life span of 20 years up to centuries, no one is able to predetermine the time when total replacement becomes technically, economically, and socially necessary.
Therefore the “fitness to adjust to purpose” appears to be a more adequate strategy to achieve durability and, more importantly, conservation of a nation's building stock and limited resources.
The theoretical work carried out by the author focused on the “probability of survival” of dwellings, leading to a renovation strategy and upgrading to a revised standard. This affects the position of the building industry in terms of more employment and a reduction of material consumption. Although it is not possible to go into great detail nor to offer a final solution within the limitations of this paper, an attempt is made to establish the concept and general parameters of work within solutions that might be found to these complex problems.
durability, building materials, dwellings, material consumption, service life, standards
Managing director, Technisch Centrum Waalsteen, Nijmegen,