This research project performed an innovative BIM- LCA- procurement methodology, which measures the embodied carbon content of the procured building materials and compares it with the facility-specific average benchmark to certify the low carbon products and to fulfil the government of Canada’s low carbon procurement policies.
Reviewing the recent studies on procurement of low carbon building materials policies, tools, and technics along with the recent progress in the BIM and LCA integration area, limited practices are witnessed related to implementing innovative technologies into low carbon policies issued by public services. Each of the abovementioned areas is separately investigated in previous studies. BIM-based LCA studies are mostly focused on manual and semi-automatic solutions at the early design stages as well. It is also specified that all design variations still have not been addressed in order to enhance the validation of the results to complete the automation of the LCA process. The need for combining the low carbon materials procurement policies through an integrated design and construction platform from the early stages of building projects is considered an important challenge, which is required to be addressed. The environmental impact of building materials using LCA techniques should be considered to minimize embodied carbon and the use of hazardous and toxic materials in construction and renovation. This research is important since it brings several contributions from conceptual to practical to the current low carbon procurement measurements, policies, and practices. Implementing such a BIM-based procurement framework for low carbon ready-mixed concrete as a case example along with exploring its technical perspectives for Canadian procurement and public services is considered an academic contribution, which could be extended to other low carbon materials used in various infrastructure types.
This study proposed several theoretical and practical approaches to provide a low carbon procurement methodology and framework and to propose precise contributions to public services and procurement process in order to meet low carbon policy criteria with adaptation potential for other governmental jurisdictions. Several areas and technical processes in cleaner production are considered by proposing a framework to procure low carbon construction materials by customizing such a framework in procuring low carbon ready-mixed concrete. The development of a BIM-LCA- procurement application enhanced the sustainability approach by leveraging the smart design and construction applications to procure sustainable materials. Environmental and sustainability assessment was also part of this contribution since the embodied carbon of the ready-mixed concrete was measured in different assemblies of the building project by conducting an environmental life cycle impacts assessment. The governance, legislation, and policy for sustainability were also addressed as one significant contribution in this paper to enhance the current procurement policies in public services and government jurisdiction to lower the embodied carbon at different stages of the project life cycle.