Digital framework for the circular reuse of existing structures for vertical productions

Project description

The robust growth of the Austrian industry is leading to increased construction activity and land sealing. The construction sector is responsible for 60% of raw material extraction, 40% of energy-related CO2 emissions, and 70% of waste generation in Austria - facts that call for the sustainable reuse of existing infrastructure. Despite more than 82,200 existing industrial and storage buildings, 20,000 hectares of unused industrial land, and 6,000 industrial brownfields, new settlements/expansions are rarely integrated into existing structures. Implementing vertical production processes and vertical strengthening of industrial buildings can greatly reduce waste generation and soil sealing. The load-bearing structure is of crucial importance. Information on load-bearing capacity and usability for reuse, as well as methods for precise recording and lifecycle-oriented assessment of structural stocks, are often lacking.

The main goal of RE:STOCK INDUSTRY is to develop a digital methodology for capturing, modeling, and analyzing existing load-bearing structures to determine their potential for reuse, modernization, and strengthening in vertical extensions, considering circular economy aspects. Real use-cases in steel and reinforced concrete skeleton construction methods are captured through LIDAR scans and photogrammetry. New AI algorithms automatically generate an as-built FEM (Finite Element Method) model, which, in addition to traditional structural analysis, also serves for circular documentation and assessment of the reusability of the structure. New concepts for vertical production processes in existing buildings and approaches for vertical strengthening of industrial buildings are integrated as 3D usage models into the FEM models. Modernization and strengthening measures can thus be represented with cost and sustainability feedback, and the reusability of existing structures for new use can be evaluated. An interactive Augmented Reality (AR) application enables the visualization of the reuse concepts at the construction site and promotes the decision for strengthening instead of demolition and new construction. The innovation lies in the coupling of different methods in one framework: the application of AI algorithms for the automated generation of as-built FEM models from scan data, the integration of vertical 3D usage concepts into structural analysis, methods for assessing and documenting structurally relevant information for the reusability of the building, and the integration of AR technology as a visual decision aid for inventory assessment. The main benefit is to specifically reuse the structural stock for new uses instead of recycling or disposing of it. The solutions can be extended to other types of buildings where an analysis of existing structures for reuse is required - office, school, residential buildings. The broad market and customer spectrum consists of industrial companies and municipalities (building owners), architects, production and structural planners, as well as companies in digital infrastructure inspection and demand planning. Through the interdisciplinary consortium of researchers, experienced planners, and users, a high degree of innovation and practical relevance is ensured.