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Building construction can be regarded as the totality of technical measures taken in order to ensure that the functions of a building required to allow for basic human activities to unfold within them are reliably and durably fulfilled. These functions must be differentiated into separate hierarchical levels depending on whether the whole building is contemplated or a particular constructional solution, or other levels of complexity located in between. The set of functions most relevant to constructional design are the so-called constructional partial functions which encompass the most important protective functions, like against humidity, heat or cold, noise, or fire, but also the fundamental function of load bearing.

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  1. 1.

    Cf. von Weizsäcker et al. (1995) Faktor vier.

  2. 2.

    This makes it clear that there are numerous interactions and mutual dependencies between the sub-functions, as the term hygrothermal already suggests.

  3. 3.

    The constructional sub-functions introduced above are treated as sub-criteria of sustainability in the broader definition of the concept of sustainability. From this perspective, some of them primarily serve the health and comfort of the user, such as thermal insulation for thermal comfort or moisture protection for health. These are assigned to the category of socio-cultural quality. In addition, these two structural sub-functions also serve to maintain the functional efficiency of the structure, such as protecting the building envelope against condensation and moisture penetration. The latter functions are assigned to the technical quality category. This practice corresponds, for example, to the DGNB evaluation system for new office and administration buildings, Version 2015.2 (cf. the list in 3 in 7 Chap. 5 Context). According to this logic, practically all construction-related functions can be attributed to sustainability. However, we do not share this view in this book (see also note 4 below).

  4. 4.

    Durability is also seen as a sub-criterion of the broader definition of sustainability. However, because of its extraordinarily great structural significance and the high degree of detail with which it must be treated in our context, it will be treated as an independent function in the discussion of the functions in detail, which will take place in 7 Chaps. 2630. From this perspective and taking into account what has been said in Note 3, 7 Chaps. 510 Sustainability deals with the sustainability criteria that remain after deduction of the functions 7 Chap. 26 Load Bearing to 30 Durability.


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Standards and Guidelines

  1. EN 1991: Eurocode 1: Actions on structures. (a) Part 1-1: 2010-12 General actions—Densities, self-weight, imposed loads for buildings. (b) Part 1-2: 2010-12 General actions—Actions on structures exposed to fire. (c) Part 1-3: 2010-12 General actions—Snow loads. (d) Part 1-4: 2010-12 General actions—Wind actions

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  2. DIN 1055: Actions on structures. (a) Part 2: 2010-11 Soil properties

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Correspondence to José Luis Moro .

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Moro, J.L. (2024). Spectrum. In: Building-Construction Design - From Principle to Detail. Springer Vieweg, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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