Procurement of Products and Services

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This step of the Building Life Cycle deals with the acquisition of building materials and related services.

Conventional versus sustainable building material

The effects of many conventional building materials materials on the environment and the quality of life are negative: For example, producing one ton of steel consumes more energy than one household needs in a year. Even natural building materials like marble often harm the environment because they have to be exploited and are transported over a long distance from the stone quarry to the construction site. The perspiration of constituents like formaldehyde can have a negative effect on health for craftsmen and end users. Thus, they are still utilized.

This talbe shows Disadvantages of conventional building materials and advantages of sustainable building materials

Conventional Building material Sustainable Building material
Non-recyclable Recyclable
Long-Distance transport to construction site Local materials
Health hazard Promotion of health
High energy consumption for building material production Renewable resources from sustainable exploitation
Examples: steel, marble, PVC Examples: Wood, local natural stone, wool, hemp


It is therefore important to pay attention to a consistent sustainable choice of building materials. Sustainable building materials have a long lifetime, consist of renewable resources that are managed sustainably; their production requires minor energy and the materials have a short distance to travel to the construction site. Furthermore, sustainable building materials are not harmful and recyclable10. Timber, clay, wool, hemp and flax are examples for sustainable material that are not inferior to conventional materials. At this stage, craftsmen and subcontractors have to be detailly informed on the sustainability of different building materials and on alternatives to conventional building material.


The following movie shows an example for sustainable procurement:

CESBA Building Cycle

  1. Purpose and Target Definition
  2. Design Tendering and Architectural Competition
  3. Planning Process
  4. Procurement of Products and Services
  5. Implementation and Building Process
  6. Commissioning of a Building
  7. Monitoring and Usage of a Building

EU Project Outputs on Procurement