Product Information Quality: A sustainability challenge in design and construction

Soheila Bahrami

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

182 Downloads (Pure)


The adverse consequences of building product performance pose sustainability problems for the built environment. Effective approaches to these problems require a clear understanding of building product information and its provision by manufacturers. This is an essential need for sustainable growth in industrialized construction, a system characterized by the expanded role of the manufacturing sector. Furthermore, a sustainable transition to digitalization in the construction industry needs digital interfaces capable of providing the information required for sustainable design and construction.
The aim of this research is to contribute to an increased understanding of how building product information can support sustainability in the built environment. To this end, two fundamental aspects have been examined: the quality of information on the sustainability performance of building products and the usability of the digital interfaces providing such information. This research relies on critical realism and adopts a qualitative methodology to analyze and explain the mechanisms of creating and providing product information in four sequential case studies. Systems thinking and process tracing method have been applied to analyze the flow of product information in the construction industry, the operative processes that can support sustainability, and the stakeholders involved.
In the first three case studies, the operative process is the diffusion of innovative ventilation products with superior indoor environmental performance. The first case study identifies the problems affecting this process. The second and third case studies, respectively, explore how product information and information exchange on building information modeling (BIM) library platforms can support the process. Influenced by the Grenfell Tower fire in London in 2017, the fourth case identifies the product information problems that can contribute to harmful facade fires threatening sustainability in the built environment. The study examines the capabilities for avoiding the identified problems and explores how an operative process of design, manufacturing, and construction of fire-safe facades can be supported.
The findings reveal problems concerning the quality of information on the sustainability performance of products and the methods used by manufacturers for presenting such information. These problems have limited the availability and usability of the information in product databases and BIM object libraries. This defective flow of information affects the design process and can lead to unacceptable consequences such as facade fires. In addition, the inefficient methods of supplying product information have impeded the adoption of innovative products with improved sustainability performance. To address these issues, this research proposes the standardization of product information in collaboration with effective legislation and establishes a framework for evaluating the provision of information on the sustainability performance of building products.
The theoretical contributions of this work include five tools: (1) a model for applied critical realism towards sustainability, (2) a matrix for the qualitative analysis of BIM object library platforms, (3) a matrix for evaluating the quality of information and digital interfaces, (4) a model of the functions of the standards on product information, and (5) a conceptual model of product information for sustainable design and construction.

Original languageEnglish
  • Landin, Anne, Supervisor
  • Aulin, Radhlinah, Supervisor
  • Atkin, Brian, Assistant supervisor
  • Olander, Stefan, Assistant supervisor
  • Nik, Vahid, Assistant supervisor
Award date2021 Nov 24
Place of PublicationLund
ISBN (Print)978-91-85257-25-6
ISBN (electronic) 91-85257-25-7
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Defence details
Date: 2021-11-24
Time: 13:00
Place: Lecture Hall A:C, Building A, Sölvegatan 24, Faculty of Engineering LTH, Lund University, Lund.
External reviewer(s)
Name: Jansson, Gustav
Title: Docent
Affiliation: Luleå University of Technology, Sweden.

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Civil Engineering

Free keywords

  • Standardization
  • sustanability
  • Product information
  • Building design
  • industrialized construction


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