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Five basic steps for generating Building with Nature designs




Five basic steps for generating BwN Design ideas

Five basic steps for generating BwN Design ideas

Step 1. Understand the system (physical, socio-economical and governance)

Acquire a better understanding of the system in which a project is planned. In depth knowledge of the physical system (biotic and a-biotic), as well as the socio-economic system and the governance context are crucial to identify potential win-win solutions.

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Step 2. Identify realistic alternatives

Identify realistic alternatives that provide true win-win solutions providing services beyond mitigation and compensation, alternatives that make maximum use of the system’s potential (physical, socio-economical and governance-wise) while safeguarding or even enhancing sustainability.

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Step 3. Valuate the qualities of alternatives and pre-select an integral solution

Assess the inherent qualities of the alternatives and combine them into one optimal integral solution. Valuate the BwN alternatives and compare them with traditional designs.

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Step 4. Elaborate selected alternatives.

Elaborate selected alternatives considering practical restrictions and governance context.

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Step 5. Prepare the solution for implementation in the next phase on the road to realisation

Handle the practical bottlenecks to get the solution included in the next phase on the road to realisation: inclusion in request for proposals, inclusion in the detailed design, inclusion in the project delivery, inclusion in maintenance and monitoring scheme.

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Practical approaches to realisation phases

Numerous project life cycle descriptions exist. The Building with Nature programme adopts a definition distinguishing the following phases:


Overview of the project realisation phases

Overview of the project realisation phases


During each phase opportunities for integration of BwN solutions do exist, with maximum potential and flexibility in the earliest stages of development. To optimally 'seize opportunities', a life-time analysis is encouraged, considering information on BwN potentials from later phases in earlier phases.


Initiation Phase

Building with Nature Design may be introduced in a project development process as early as the Initiation Phase. The Initiation Phase deals with a first definition of the problem or opportunity at hand and the scoping of potential solutions.

Planning and Design Phase

Where the Initiation Phase focused on the problem definition and project scope, the more detailed Planning and Design Phase deals with developing alternative strategies within this given scope and handles the selection of the preferred alternative(s).

Construction Phase

In previous phases the problem definition, project scope, project strategy and design have been addressed. The construction phase elaborates and discusses the project execution approach. EDD can be used to optimize the work method and the selection of materials.

Operation and Maintenance Phase

The application of Building with Nature Design is extended as far as the Operation and Maintenance Phase. Considering maintenance aspects early on in the design process may optimize the design and reduce lifecycle cost significantly. But also Operation and Maintenance an BwN approach may lead to forms of adaptive management and development that will generate additional environmental and cost benefits.

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