Life Cycle Analysis of Building Materials Against Flood

life cycle analysis of building materials
Flood is a problem for building construction that needs to evaluation with life cycle analysis of building materials. 

Life cycle analysis of building materials

Damaged material after the flood needs to be treated or replaced. This creates additional costs and environmental impacts during construction. Assessing costs in parallel with environmental impacts can provide some insight into materials that are sustainable against flooding

There are 5 kinds of structure products consisting of regular utilize in Malaysia such as bricks, concrete obstructs, steel wall surface panels, wood, and precast concrete frameworks were evaluated with a complete life cycle assessment (LCA) and a life process set you back evaluation (LCC) under non-flood, low-flood problems. , and high floodings.

The findings from this paper prove that wood as a building material in flood zones is not ideal and that alternative materials such as bricks have a better function in mitigating global warming and LCC.

In addition, due to rapid urbanization and population growth, buildings are increasingly subject to flooding in urban areas.

Why Flood are increasing?

Monsoon floods only affect wall material and most structures remain stable after flooding.

Therefore, the assumptions of this study about life cycle analysis of building materials are that the structure is available for repair, and that houses near flood-prone areas should use different materials in their structures to reduce damage and promote sustainable maintenance and demolition.

The number of presidential disaster statements related to floods in Malaysia has increased substantially over the past 50 years (Saifulsyahira, 2016).

Enhances in populace and seaside possessions add to enhanced financial losses, and big quantities of residential or commercial homes are shed every year because of the enhanced size of Flood intensified by severe environmental alter.

What is the risk of Flood for the structure?

Among these indicators associates to the use of structure products in flooding area locations.

However, the government and private sector still use conventional building materials after the flood disaster without considering what material is the best choice for an area.

The likelihood of a potentially destructive flood occurring is called a flood hazard, because base on life cycle analysis of building materials, the damage depends on the vulnerability of the assets being exposed.

There are several important studies on flood risk assessment. The results clearly show that the hydrodynamics of flood water should not be neglected in the vulnerability assessment of buildings located in flood prone zones.

All new construction and repair in the flood zone must be constructed with materials that are resistant to flood damage.

Therefore, local residential building owners need to adapt to monsoon flooding by selecting the most appropriate local building materials that are less affected by flooding.


In this study, the vulnerability of the structure type of a building is only determined by the damage to the walls of a building, without considering other parts of the building, for example structural columns, roofs and ceilings.

The vulnerability of the structure type of a building is determined by the percentage of wall material damage due to flooding.

The difference between the calculation of GHG emissions and costs arising from normal buildings and from buildings located in the flood zone is related to the amount of wall material that needs to be exchanged or replaced after a flood.

The purpose of this study focuses on repairing post-flood damaged buildings by using different types of building materials for the same structure.

First, in the life cycle analysis of building materials perspective, objective data have been collected to identify the elements at risk that are relevant to flood vulnerability assessments in residential areas.

Initially, this study classified the elements at risk into two main elements: the type of structure of the building and the contents of the building.

The aim is to assess the damage to each type of building structure. In the first stage, residents were asked to determine the extent of the damage and in the next step the estimation of damage was surveyed by the researcher

Cost Assessment

structure  (ringgit Malaysia)      Non Flood     Low         High

Block-Work System BW1         228,740        242,464     249,326

Precast Concrete Frame P1        264,112        279,958     294,485

Steel Frame Work System S1    245,101        286,768     302,699

Precast Timber T1                     205,010         250,113     323,915

Brick e Ordinary (Clay) BC1     224,105        246,515     250,773

Sustainability Assessment

The materials are compared using global warming emissions and costs based on their resistance to flooding in the tropics.

From the life cycle analysis of building materials we know that all building schemes have higher emissions and costs in the second and third phases of flooding because damaged materials need to be repaired and replaced.

Therefore, it is not recommended for use in flooded areas, because the cost of repairs and repairs is a quarter of construction costs.

Although the researchers believe that wood is the friendliest material, the results show that the effects of flooding at the maintenance stage make it good unreliable training for construction.

What is meant by sustainability in the context of this research is the most sustainable material in terms of costs and emissions in the flood zone.

This study investigates the sustainability of the material under three conditions of non-flood, low-flood, and high-flood.


Historically, flood disasters in Malaysia indicate that flood disasters have not been adequately prepared for in the country. Increasing population and urban growth have led to the conversion of open spaces, which can lead to flooding. 

As preventing flooding seemed impossible, the building sector had to implement new regulations to reduce damage to buildings located in flood zones. This study determines the contribution of each material after the flood to greenhouse gas emissions, maintenance, and refurbishment costs. This study helps select suitable materials for buildings located in flood zone areas. The purpose of this study is to identify what type of material is more suitable as a wall material in flood conditions in Malaysia.

Initially, life cycle analysis of building materials SimaPro software application is utilized to evaluate greenhouse gas discharges and life process expenses are utilized to offer the complete set you back of the job bonus the number of damages connected with each structured product.

Products were evaluated based upon repair work expenses and greenhouse gas discharges in 2 circumstances (reduced flooding and high flooding).

The greenhouse gas discharge evaluation determines timber as a perfect structure product in non-flood problems. After flooding, the upkeep stage enhances upkeep expenses because of substitutes and transport of brand-new products. 

However, its replacement requires the use of new materials that increase greenhouse gas emissions in the building sector. Hence, prefabricated wood has been featured as the worst among the alternatives.

Precast concrete frames are the ideal choice in flood zones because of their low emissions but not the cost. The blockwork system also shows fewer variables in terms of costs and greenhouse gas emissions among the alternatives, meaning less damage during flooding. However, because the blockwork system has high initial costs and emissions, it cannot be recommended for construction.

Ordinary bricks show the most stable costs and emissions after a flood at the repair stage. Lastly, although the steel framework system exhibits predictable variables under flooding, it still exhibits the highest levels in the category of costs and greenhouse gas emissions compared to other alternatives.

The criteria utilize 3 phases, specifically non-flood problems, reduced flooding problems, and high flooding problems. To total a choice production based upon an evaluation of life process and life process expenses, the block is one of the most suitable products, and steel and timber wall surface panels are the the very least suitable in the flooding area.

Base on life cycle analysis of building materials, the greenhouse gas discharges from steel wall surface panels are somewhat greater compared to timber however the expenses are a lot reduce. Although the majority of the structures in the swamped location about the river are made from timber, there ought to be a plan to develop brand-new structures utilizing bricks.

First of all, buildings in high-risk areas should be different from buildings in inland areas (where the risk of flooding is minimal). This study recommends the use of wood for flood-prone areas and brick for flood-prone areas as building materials.

An alternative design in the flood zone area base on life cycle analysis of building materials is a brick structure, as it shows fewer variable changes in environmental costs and emissions issues. Other materials that have recently been assessed as having higher costs or greater emissions are under repair after the flood.

The findings from this study about life cycle analysis of building materials can be used to propose that the government should help develop further policies for high flood risk areas, ensuring sustainable buildings are built to tackle climate change.

Source: Balasbaneh et.al. 2019. Sustainable materials selection based on flood damage assessment for a building using LCA and LCC. Journal of Cleaner Production. Elsevier 

Also read: Life Cycle Assessment Carbon Footprint of Food Portion

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