The transition from linear façade to Façade-as-a-Service (FaaS) model: the responsibilities of the Façade supplier in the planning phase                                                          

MSc, Wael Ahmed Mohamed Mohamed Soliman

Prof. Jürgen M. Volm | Dr. Raffaello Furlan

Winter Semester 2022/23

Best of 2023 by HFT Stuttgart

The linear economy in the construction industry prioritizes short-term profits over long-term performance and has significant environmental, economic, and social consequences. It depletes finite resources, creates waste and pollution, leads to inefficient resource use, and higher costs, and can negatively impact worker health and safety. To achieve sustainable development, a transition to a circular economy model is more necessary than before. The circular economy offers several benefits over the linear economy, including more efficient resource use, reduced waste and pollution, new revenue streams and innovation, cost savings, and improved social outcomes.

The concept of "facade as a service" combines the principles of the circular economy and the product-as-a-service paradigm to transition from the traditional linear facade approach to a circular model where the supplier owns and manages all components of the facade throughout its lifecycle. The thesis identifies five potential opportunities resulting from this transition, including Business expansion based on improved environmental sustainability, remanufacturing for material scarcity, creating a win-situation for other stakeholders, retaining the value of the façade during its lifecycle, and stabilized revenue streams for the supplier. However, the thesis also recognizes five potential impediments to this transition, such as high initial investment especially in the production phase, no market demand, long-term involvement in such a project, the uncertainty laying ahead for long-term involvement, and ownership mindset as a resistance to change. To address these opportunities and barriers, the thesis proposes several strategies, including rethinking the whole supply chain, learning from a successful implementation of product-as-a-service models in other sectors, the incremental transition towards Façade-as-a-service to reduce risk, and closing the financial gap between high initial investment and long-term cash flow.

The thesis presents a useful framework for both suppliers and customers to successfully navigate the complexities of the facade-as-a-service model by considering the organizational, technical, and financial responsibilities involved in this process, highlighting the potential benefits for the construction industry, while also acknowledging the challenges and potential impediments that must be addressed to achieve success.