A Few Words

About lifeMacs

Refurbishment and retrofitting of existing structures in industrialized countries are currently gaining in importance while new construction rates stagnate. This is due to the ageing patrimony of many developed countries. In Flanders for example, 69% of the building stock was constructed before 1981 and 28% even before 1945. Currently, the biggest challenge lies in the assessment and management of these ageing structures considering costs for inspections, repair and upgrading, while also keeping in mind human safety. Therefore, the development of an adequate framework for an efficient through-life analysis of structures on the basis of quantitative date is highly desired.  

Life cycle design, assessment and management of concrete structures
In order to fill this gap in the current state-of-the-art, lifeMACS will focus on developing a life-cycle methodology for the assessment of existing concrete structures. In order to accomplish that, several frameworks are developed, such as the condition assessment and modelling of damage (WP1), the prediction of the structural performance (WP2), the assessment and optimization of combined inspections and monitoring strategies (WP3), and the optimization of maintenance strategies and repair or strengthening interventions (WP5). In these frameworks, time-dependent degradation, spatial variability and updated information based on results from investigations, monitoring and degradation modelling will be incorporated. In order to do this, a multi-layered Bayesian approach will be used. Furthermore, a novel integrated BIM-environment for life-cycle management will be developed (WP6), allowing for a more efficient interaction between the stakeholders and a continuous data management over the lifetime of the structure. The combination of these frameworks will allow to perform a coherent through-life performance quantification, life-cycle management and decision making for existing concrete structures, considering all available information from inspections, monitoring and structural modelling. To validate the developed methodologies, an experimental test program will be set up (WP4) and the methodologies will be applied to several benchmark case studies.

The results from the lifeMACS project will create important opportunities for several industry sectors, such as companies offering damage diagnostics and monitoring, engineering design offices, control and certification bodies, contractors, material suppliers, construction software providers, owners and asset management firms. It will furthermore significantly improve durability and sustainability, by facilitating high-level service-life management, promoting longer lifespans. This proves the relevance and importance of the lifeMACS project, as it will create potential for many industries, contribute to a longer and safer lifetime of existing concrete structures and improve durability and sustainability.

lifeMACS consortium

This project is unique in a way that it combines the strengths of Ghent University, KU Leuven and Buildwise. Together with the expertise of the industry partners in the advisory board, this multidisciplinary research will surpass the innovation capacity of the individual stakeholders, arriving at an integrated assessment, repair and management of existing concrete structures. Moreover, the results will ensure further ground-breaking industrial developments in the construction industry.