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Physical constitution of the built environment – Databank of Buildings and Infrastructure

Germany’s total stock of buildings and infrastructure can be viewed as a material repository that changes every year due to new construction as well as renovation and demolition work. A new focus is being placed on knowledge of this material repository to aid the German government’s strategy of sustainability, which aims to conserve and use resources efficiently (Resource Efficiency Strategy, Waste Management and Product Recycling Act). How much material is contained in built structures? Which materials can be captured during demolition, and are these recyclable? What are the trends in today’s building sector? Which material flows can be expected? In order to answer these and other questions, we require resource-based information on built structures.

The website of the IOER Databank of Buildings and Infrastructure assists scientists, urban planners and politicians by providing them with information on the physical characteristics of our "built environment", i.e. data on buildings and infrastructure as well as on the composition of built structures, broken down by material and building product.

The resource-based information is based on empirically-surveyed individual objects (representatives) of Germany’s total stock of buildings and infrastructure. Basic data on these individual objects has been used to derive synthetic structural data on the total built environment at medium scale as well as to create a practical typology of buildings (domestic buildings, non-domestic buildings, building services, transport infrastructure, infrastructures for water supply and sewage removal).

Users of the IOER’s online databank can select building types and can create diverse compositions of buildings for their particular case, whether this is a regional application or for some urban sub-space. The desired information can be easily copied.

The IOER online Databank of Buildings and Infrastructure will be continually updated and developed. In future it is planned to integrate planning parameters related to urban structures (e.g. building density) as well as information to help estimate the damage caused by extreme weather events (e.g. damage to building functions). Furthermore, the website provides many references to relevant publications, sources of data and examples of applications.