Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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posted on 2023-07-23, 00:07 authored by Greenslade, Belinda

Growing demand for raw materials puts increasing pressure on the Earth’s natural resources and global supply chains. This poses a challenge both to procuring the necessary construction materials and to minimising adverse environmental effects during the process. Governments are increasingly legislating to address these issues. Regarding the construction industry, they are focusing on circular economy principles and the operational efficiencies of buildings. While these are viable solutions in the long term, in reality, industry practices and regulations are currently insufficient, and inefficiencies in our construction process are not being addressed with urgency. Designers and architects play a key role in determining the resource consumption of our built environment. Yet, few resources provide practical ways to minimise material use in the design process.

This research aims to iteratively explore the possibilities in the design process for minimising excess material consumption and improving designers’ ability to make informed design decisions regarding material use. Firstly, three fundamental waste minimisation principles are selected and researched for further exploration; designing for materials optimisation, designing for offsite construction and designing to use standardised parts. Each principle is then investigated in a design iteration, focusing on how the design approach allows for material efficiencies, aiming to develop practical strategies for designers. The design iterations are undertaken at three scales, allowing them to build on the knowledge gained at each stage.

A key outcome of this research is that designers need to increase engagement with the construction methodology they propose to use. If a construction methodology is known early, its limitations and constraints are more effectively implemented in the design. It is more challenging to reduce material waste by adjusting an already proposed design than using a framework to inform the process from the beginning.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

120205 Residential construction design

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

3 Applied research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


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