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TUD COST Action C16
Improving the quality of existing urban building envelopes

The COST Action C16 “Improving the quality of existing urban building envelopes” is directed to multi-storey residential blocks from the period after World War II, especially those built during the period when the need for housing in Europe was at its greatest. That is why the COST Action C16 focussed on the period 1950 to 1980. The aim of the COST Action C16 is to improve techniques and methods used to adapt the envelopes of buildings constructed during the second half of the 20th century in the COST countries. This study was based on the following scientific programme: * Description and analysis of the types of system related to the factors influencing urban building envelopes; * Analysis and comparison of the legislation and technical regulations relating to renovation in European countries; * Analysis of how urban building envelopes have been changed to date in relation to relevant factors; * A survey of existing engineering techniques that can be used, modified or developed to reach this goal; * A synthesis of possible global approaches leading to guidelines on how to reach maximum value for money in relation to the desired quality and working conditions in the urban environment and also how this approach can be reached for other types of buildings. The main production of the COST Action C16 is gathered into four books. The first book entitled 'The state of the art' is divided into two parts. The first part comprises a survey on the housing stock for each country. It contains data related to the building period, main typology and technologies. In the second part the topics covered describe the quality of the housing stock. The 'state of the art' depends on the time at which a survey takes place. That is why we consider it an advantage to also publish the two keynote lectures in this first book. These describe approaches to the modification of the multi storey family stock that is currently under investigation. In the second book, 'The needs', the method used to obtain precise information was to develop a table that includes the needs, solutions and priorities for each country. It is evident that these needs and priorities will differ greatly from country to country, as illustrated for example by comparing Sweden to Malta. To determine these aspects, criteria such as land use, architectural aspects and building physics are used, as well as aspects relating to finance and management. In the third book, ‘Structures’, a framework for possible solutions has been set up. It contains 20 case studies in which changes in bearing structures to fit for future purposes was the goal. Examples include descriptions of how to build extra floors onto existing buildings for both financial reasons and also to make the installation of elevators more profitable. Another example illustrates the need for greater flexibility, and shows how a part of the bearing structure can be changed to provide this. In the fourth book, 'Facades and roofs', which is based on the results of the working groups 'The state of the art' and 'Needs', two documents have been developed, 'Technical Improvement of housing Envelopes' and 'Country Criteria in the form of a matrix'. Relations between the most frequently used refurbishing solutions and their impact on sustainability have been worked out in depth. Sustainability is described in a set of performances such as, technical, economic, functional/social and environmental. Case studies illustrate these theories.

(Descriptions are provided by the Actions directly via e-COST.)

General Information*

Chair of the Action:

Prof. Leonardus G.w. VERHOEF (NL)

Science officer of the Action:

Dr Mickael PERO

Administrative officer of the Action:

Ms Carmencita MALIMBAN


Action Fact Sheet

Download AFS as .RTF

Memorandum of Understanding

Download MoU as PDF

Final Report

Download Final Report as PDF


Action website:

* content provided by e-COST.
Data is synchronised once per night.


Last updated: 02 May 2011 top of page