Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
López-Guerrero S.E, , Vera S., Carpio M. (2022)

A quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the sustainability of industrialised building systems: A bibliographic review and analysis of case studies

Revista : Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews
Volumen : 157
Número : 1
Páginas : 112034
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


The building construction has a significant impact on sustainability worldwide. However, industrialised building systems (IBS) might reduce these impacts compared to traditional building systems (TBS). Previous literature reviews have analysed IBS’s sustainability, based primarily on environmental aspects and through qualitative indicators, disregarding a detailed quantitative comparison between both technologies and nor considering economic and social sustainability indicators. To fill this gap, this paper aims to evaluate vis-à-vis IBS’s sustainability in relation to TBS, based on the quantitative and qualitative indicators studied in the literature. Thus, an exhaustive bibliographic review of IBS and TBS case studies was conducted. In total, 67 scientific papers were selected (papers, book chapters and reports), containing 86 case studies. Major findings indicated that IBS are more sustainable in almost all studied values – except economic construction costs. Nevertheless, this advantage depends on material design, prefabrication levels, transportation, work management and each author’s methodological specificities. These factors were discussed to explain the reasons for IBS’ sustainability. Furthermore, main conclusions indicate that sustainability assessments have been unbalanced in literature, with few analyses of economic and social performance, and some indicators have been poorly studied (e.g., water and acidification potential), so their results are not yet representative. Similarly, reusability, prefabrication levels and the social indicators of IBS were insufficiently analysed in the reviewed case studies. Finally, the current review highlights IBS sustainability indicators that have been less studied in order to motivate new investigations in the broader field, exposing the IBS sustainability outlook and other research gaps.