English Abstract

Environmental and Health Aspects of Building Materials

In the context of sustainable construction as well as in correlation with European and national development of regulations, health and environmental issues of building materials gain increasing importance. A well-considered selection and assessment of construction products is one of the main challenges for sustainable planning, construction and the adjacent facility management of buildings.

WECOBIS is a web portal providing basic knowledge for healthy and ecofriendly construction. The information is available in German language. Specific information, like the planning & tendering assistance, is configurated for the German market according to relevant German laws and rules. 
You will receive comprehensive product-neutral information on components, hazardous emissions within life cycle phases, interactions of different building materials or legal requirements. Thus, WECOBIS assists with the ecological selection of products and is directed at construction specialists and anyone who is interested in sustainable construction – architects, specialist planners, construction workers and building users.

WECOBIS offers a structure based on specialist information and the various life cycle phases (resources, production, processing, use and reuse). The contents are applied in practice:

• Planning & tendering assistance specific to building materials.
• myWECOBIS for filing and storing contents of user‘s own projects.
• Quick info on classifying building product groups according to BNB requirements.

WECOBIS categorises environmental and health aspects according to the life cycle phases. The right building materials can be selected with the support of the following WECOBIS functions:

• Development of material concepts for sustainable planning.
• Pre-selection of certain product groups based on environmental and health aspects.
• Classification of building material according to criteria under the Assessment System for Sustainable Building (BNB).
• Definition of quality levels in the planning process with regard to the selection of construction materials.
• Planning with building materials in overall comprehensive terms across all life cycle phases.

Main Content and Structure

Information / specialised Knowledge according to Life Cycle Phases

WECOBIS provides basic knowledge on various topics and arranges them in the several categories. Specializes knowledge according to the life cycle phases enable to evaluate a products impact on health and environment throughout its whole life cycle.

Planning & Tendering Assistance

WECOBIS will continuously develop more specific support for planning and tendering. The comprehensive information in WECOBIS will help planners and developers in different ways in choosing materials and products in terms of the environment, health and quality. By the end of 2014, floorings and adhesives will be the first groups to offer the newly developed aid:

Building Product Group-Specific Assistance
In the WECOBIS building product groups the user can find information on tendering assistance of other providers. Statutory requirements can also be found there, such as on issues relating to safety in the workplace in connection with processing problematic building products.

General Planning and Tendering Information
“Planning & Tendering Assistance” contains an overview of all relevant aspects of several planning phases. You can find advice on e.g. which necessary ecological material criteria must be decided during the certain planning phases.

Ecological Material Requirements for Certain Areas of Performance
WECOBIS offers text modules that can be used to phrase ecological material requirements for planning and tendering purposes. The structure is based on the material groups, their fields of application and possible harmful substances.

myWECOBIS

With myWECOBIS, the planner has frequently used contents “handy” and can apply the WECOBIS knowledge actively to his/her planning routines.

Convenient Functions
myWECOBIS offers functions like “Remember”, “Last Viewed” or the “Media Pool” that allow for structured working with extensive contents.

Project Folder
Registered users can create their own projects in order to store and manage individual environmental and health data. The project folder is structured by building components in accordance with German Standard DIN 276.

Project Folder Output
Information assigned to building components is fi led in a structure manner and is quick to retrieve. For example, printed project folders can be integrated directly into a planning meeting

BNB-Relevant Content

By the end of 2014, WECOBIS will offer specific contents for processing the following BNB criteria profiles:

Criteria Risks to the Local Environment – New Construction (BN_1.1.6)
The objective is to reduce or avoid materials dangerous to ground water, surface water, soil and air in connection with new buildings. WECOBIS offers an overview for this purpose showing, for example, which groups of hazardous materials could be relevant to a group of building products.

Criteria Risks to the Local Environment – Refurbishment (BK_1.1.6)
In this module, the user will find information on hazardous materials contained in products that are no longer approved, but may still be part of the existing building stock.

Criteria Indoor Air Quality (3.1.3)
The main focus is on ensuring indoor air quality with respect to VOCs and formaldehyde. WECOBIS provides information on the installation, processing and interactions of building products.

Criteria Dismantling, Separation and Utilisation (4.1.4)
As for the BNB criteria profile 4.1.4, WECOBIS provides concentrated information on possible environmental and health aspects concerning relevant building products.

Organisation

Integration with Federal Sustainable Building
WECOBIS is part of the planning tools that are used in the implementation of the Guideline for Sustainable Building and in the application of the Assessment System for Sustainable Building (BNB) in the federal sector.

Operator
The web page is operated by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) in cooperation with the Bavarian Chamber of Architects (ByAK). The WECOBIS administrative office has been set up in the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR), Division II 6 Construction and Environment.

Editor
The Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) and the Bavarian Chamber of Architects (ByAK) act as the editor-in-chief. The contents are edited by an international group of specialized editors.

Scientific Advisory Board
A Scientific Advisory Board specifies the main contents and proposes topics for further development.

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