Joint initiative of the European (ECCE) and the World Council of Civil Engineers (WCCE)

The European Council of Civil Engineers (ECCEEuropean Council of Civil Engineers) – of which TEE is a member – and the World Council of Civil Engineers (WCCE – World Council of Civil Engineers) are joining forces in a joint initiative to raise awareness about need for safe, sound, sustainable buildings: 3S – Safe – Sound – Sustainable, which can be achieved by incorporating structural/seismic upgrading of existing buildings combined with energy efficiency improvements.
In the field of Civil Engineering, the systematic updating of design rules and codes by incorporating data from academic research and elements identified as deficiencies in real hazard situations is a continuous process. Safety and comfort are indeed considered paramount in all Civil Engineering projects. The requirement to satisfy both of these needs leads to buildings that are safer, more economical to operate and more sustainable. The three S (3S) approach, Safe -Sound – Sustainable, focuses on this requirement, while contributing significantly to the achievement of UN Goal 11 for sustainable development and safe and resilient cities.
In addition, adequate housing was recognized as part of the right to an adequate standard of living in article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and article 11.1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966. Much of the existing building stock in in most countries it was built at a time when modern design and construction standards and techniques, including requirements for durability, seismic safety and energy efficiency, had not yet been imposed. Thus, depending on the date of their construction, the vast majority are deficient in terms of energy, durability and seismic resistance. It is clear that there is a large proportion of the existing building stock that is under-designed, both in terms of seismic capacity and energy performance, and that it falls short of the national minimum requirements that have been set over the last fifteen years. These are the properties that should be targeted for structural and energy renovation. This creates a need for society to take immediate action to maintain the aging existing building stock in a functional, reliable and durable condition to ensure the safety of users is paramount.
In recent decades, increased energy consumption has led to adverse environmental effects. The term “energy performance” was introduced in the building sector, in Europe’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% and achieving energy savings of 20% [EPBD recast, 2010/31/EU]. The construction sector is one of the biggest consumers of energy in the EU with European households using almost 70% of the energy consumed in the form of electricity. To enhance the energy efficiency of buildings, the EU has established a legislative framework and presented a number of initiatives aimed at modernizing the building sector in the light of technological improvements and increasing building renovations. Unfortunately, the importance of safety has not been highlighted or taken into account to the extent necessary.
Currently, from a sustainability point of view, emphasis has been placed on the development of an integrated structural and energy design methodology for new buildings, which will prevail over individual actions to ensure a sustainable structural design (Sustainable Structural Design -SSD). However, in aging existing buildings, the issue of structural, seismic and energy inefficiency becomes paramount and a similar comprehensive approach is required to provide an upgrade on both fronts and, if possible, an integrated joint holistic approach.
A common method of assessing the seismic and structural vulnerability of buildings is of utmost importance for government authorities to quantify required resources, plan investment programs and determine prioritization strategies for seismic and structural risk mitigation and corresponding sustainable upgrading. Both ECCE- European Council of Civil Engineers and WCCE -World Council of Civil Engineers aspire to continue their efforts in the future to ensure the sustainability of the world’s existing building stock and contribute to the Basic Human Right to Adequate Housing.
The new trend these days is… smart financing for smart buildings. But a building can only be called smart when it meets the 3S approach “Safe – Sound – Sustainable”. Thus, ECCE and WCCE would like to state the urgent need to follow and implement the 3S approach. As a post on the TEE website informs, the ECCE – WCCE 3S Approach joint initiative was officially presented in celebration of World Engineering Day 2023, during the “Engineering the Cities of the Future” Conference in Madrid. World Engineering Day 2023 on 4 March 2023 is the day that marks ECCE and WCCE’s commitment to continue promoting holistic renovation approaches in support of global policies and the UN SDGs for a safe and sustainable world.
At https://web.tee.gr/int-news/quot-asfali-ygi-viosima-quot-ktiria-i proseggisi-3s-tis/ links to the Manifesto and the summary of the 3S 2023 approach are provided.