ISO 20887:2020 Sustainability in buildings and civil engineering works — Design for disassembly and adaptability — Principles, requirements and guidance



Applying the principles of design for disassembly and adaptability (DfD/A) to the service life planning of buildings and civil engineering works can make a positive contribution to sustainable development. While service life planning is a design process that seeks to ensure that the service life of a constructed asset will equal or exceed its design life, design for disassembly and adaptability is a strategy to optimize both the service life and the design life. The strategy does not suggest overbuilding to meet a vast number of unknowns that a constructed asset might encounter.
Introducing aspects of design for disassembly can be used to reduce and/or prevent waste and increase resource efficiency by encouraging alternative considerations at the project definition phase. The application of adaptability concepts and principles can minimize the need for unnecessary removal and new construction, by repurposing or modifying constructed assets to renew their service life, and result in constructed assets that are able to accommodate a larger variety of uses. From a broader perspective, the recovery and subsequent reuse or recycling of disassembled construction materials and components will support the evolving concept of a circular economy.
The design and construction industry has often trusted/depended upon traditional assembly methods, products, and processes that typically do not consider deconstruction. As such, during a renovation or demolition project, products and materials are often not easily salvaged for reuse, recycling or energy recovery, and therefore, become waste that is landfilled.
Incorporating DfD/A concepts early in the planning and design phase will increase the likelihood that activities during the stages of use, maintenance (including repair, replacement, refurbishment), and end-of-life (e.g., disassembly, reuse, recycling, disposal) will be conducted more efficiently from a total resource perspective (i.e., time and associated costs, labour costs, materials, and energy).
Design for disassembly devises explicit methods, prior to construction, for optimal recovery of specific products and materials without damaging either that which is being removed or surrounding components. The adaptability aspects of DfD/A support the continued use of constructed assets by allowing for and accommodating substantial change (e.g., demographics, social, economic, and technological conditions and physical surroundings and needs) within an existing or expanded physical asset. Designing for adaptability means designing for both present and future uses, encouraging the use of phased developments and matching supply with demand in a timely fashion. The decision to use these methods is usually considered in conjunction with the investment rate of return over time and risk.
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