There is a growing concern in society for the environmental impacts of a built environment. In this regard, the use of building information modelling (BIM) tools has arisen as a new trend in the construction industry to improve the sustainable assessments of buildings in the design phase. For that purpose, current approaches either focus on the use of BIM together with several programs, or solely use it for an automatic quantity take-off. However, as noted in the literature, the lack of semantic information within BIM models can lead to ineffective decision-making processes and models that are unsuitable for the operation and maintenance stages. Therefore, the present study explores the potential of BIM as a repository for the life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC) information, and how that information should be used for an environmental and economic analysis. By doing so, the authors intend to discuss the potential of BIM as a data repository and its capacity for supporting an automatic/semi-automatic environmental and economic assessment.
A BIM-LCA/LCC framework was proposed, which led to the development of an information delivery manual and a model view definition (IDM/MVD), using the industry foundation classes (IFC) schema, for the integration and exchange of information within a BIM-based environment. Finally, the authors implemented the proposed framework with a case study. It is observed that, although most recent IFC schemes already consider some of the required information, a considerable number of properties are still required to conduct a comprehensive LCA and LCC analysis. Thus, the work presented here contributes to the existing background knowledge necessary for future implementations of BIM-based LCA/LCC and for software developers to develop a suitable BIM-LCA/LCC tool.