Living Building Concept

Growing pressure from society, European competition and government is forcing the Dutch construction industry, which is currently highly fragmented, traditional and untransparent, to become more innovative and competitive. TU Delft has developed the Living Building Concept, a revolutionary new idea that will help transform the industry.

The Dutch building and construction industry is currently struggling with several major issues. The supply chain is very fragmented, there isn’t much variation in what is on offer, companies mainly fight each other on prices and there is generally very little consideration for future changes in regulations, demands or technology. As a result, the industry is inefficient and hardly offers any room for innovation. This doesn’t coincide with the growing public demand for transparency, sustainability and interaction between supply and demand. In addition, building projects are becoming more and more complex. That is why drastic changes within the industry are needed.  

Living Building Concept
TU Delft professor De Ridder has developed the so-called Living Building Concept (LBC), a new approach to life cycle management of built services that can potentially lead to a substantial reduction of risks and transaction costs. Key element in the approach is the change from demand-driven supply to supply-driven demand. Unlike other industries, the building and construction industry is traditionally one where those who produce (the builders) are not the ones who come up with the initial idea (the client and his architects). Therefore, the client doesn’t get as much as he should or could get, and the builders hardly make any profit. Instead, within the LBC, builders come up with creative solutions and clients choose a builder that offers the best solution to their specific problem or demand. Furthermore, there is the added possibility of entering into a service contract that states the builder will adjust the building to future changes in function and use, but also to changes in technology, climate or building regulations. This way, the client gets a product that will suit his future needs as well.

Practical use
When construction companies start to develop their own specific products, this will increase the quality of these products and clients know right away what they are paying for. Legal battles over warranty issues will be a thing of the past, and transaction costs will decrease substantially, as builders now know exactly how much their product costs. In the traditional approach, builders spend a lot of time calculating risks of things that are not their expertise, often resulting in higher than necessary costs.

We will continuously evaluate and improve the LBC, for instance by taking into account comments and ideas from people within the building and construction industry. In close collaboration with PSIBouw, the Dutch network for building innovations that strongly supports our Living Building Concept, we are currently also testing the LBC approach on several different building projects, including a school and a hospital.  

Name author: webredactie
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