Evaluation of the use of lightweight concrete panels for post disaster house reconstruction using Building Information Modelling

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Alicia Flores Salas


A large number of natural disasters affects hundreds of thousands of people each year in their housing around the world. Therefore, there is a call to find more appropriate strategies for housing reconstruction following a disaster. This study aims to reduce the construction time and cost of housing affected by such disasters.The academic literature on the 3 Dimensional Lightweight Panels construction system (3D-LPs), Building Information Modelling system (BIM) and experiences gained in post-disaster housing reconstruction strengthens the argument that here is an opportunity to contribute to solve the housing reconstruction problem. The study points out that the combination of these systems and community participation presents an option to produce both affordable and sustainable housing in the shortest time on a large scale by the affected people after overcoming the emergence phase of a disaster.A holistic philosophy was used to study the housing reconstruction problem as a whole to understand all parts of the problem and three research questions were set up to explore the possible solution to this problem. The research strategy to address the problem was based on a survey of worldwide experts, interviewing a forum of lightweight concrete panel manufacturers and the modelling of a basic housing prototype in BIM. Research question (1) How can displaced people use their own labour to save money and time? and research question (2) How does the 3D-LPs construction system contribute to housing recovery after natural disasters? Research questions (1) and (2) were answered by 17 open-ended questions conducted with 22 housing experts from 11 countries and 7 semi-structured interviews composed of 14 questions with 7 manufacturers of construction materials respectively which collected rich qualitative data (15,419 words) that were analysed in Nvivo 10 through pattern matching and validated by triangulation techniques to give reliability to the study. The housing prototype modelling was used to answer the research question (3) Can the BIM model show the cost-benefit in building housing with the 3D-LPs construction system and displaced people's own labour?The main findings of this study are that a housing prototype built with 3D-LPs is 36.82% cheaper in comparison to houses built with bricks and reinforcement elements and could be built by unskilled people in 90 days. The study provides novel in-depth knowledge of how unskilled people from communities affected should participate in housing reconstruction and how new construction systems can be implemented after disasters, which contributes to the body of knowledge. In addition, the study provides guidelines to implement a system directed at unskilled people and also Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in a novel way, to help to solve the housing reconstruction problem and engage the displaced people in the housing reconstruction.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2016