Performance Appraisal of Sportshalls and Swimming Pool Buildings in Greece

PhD Thesis Abstract. University of Bath , 1994

 [Full thesis in PDF format, 4.6MB]

The selection of the best performing constructional system-among a diverse selection of alternatives- for long spanning (25-60m) sportshalls and swimming pools in Greece initiated this research. Decision making, concerning selection of the constructional system, is difficult in this sector of construction as was explained in the "Long spanning Structures'' conference (Nov. 1990, Athens, Greece). Among the reasons is the availability and cost of locally produced concrete and reinforcing bars in contrast to imported steel and timber, the availability of structural codes and the frequency and strength of earthquakes.

The research objectives set were to develop a model to appraise the performance of sportshalls and swimming pool buildings and to evaluate the performance of such buildings. Following discussions with Greek building professionals, the research hypothesis was formulated as: "The General Secretary of Sports (GSS) evaluation system is effective for the appraisal of 25 to 60 metres long spanning sportshalls and swimming pools in Greece".

From literature, it has been found that most building appraisals end up at the level of data analysis and draw conclusions on the individual aspects they investigate. These approaches usually focus on a fraction of the problem, examining it very deeply and theoretically. Their drawback is loss of comprehensiveness and ability to draw conclusions on an overall level and, consequently, being applicable to the existing conditions. Research on an inclusive level is sparse.

In this research, an inclusive appraisal approach is adopted, leading to the identification of three main variables, resources, user-human satisfaction and technical; consequently to a combination of quantitative and qualitative data. A model of quantification, is developed which is of vital importance if the problem of incompatibility of data is to be solved, overall relation of findings is to be achieved and holistic conclusions are to be drawn. This model facilitated the construction of an overall index of performance by measuring the performance of each building as a whole through its components' performances and comparison to the others in the sample.

Case studies are conducted on a sample of ten existing buildings in order to assess the effectiveness of the evaluation system used by the GSS through the performance of the various alternative constructional systems implemented. The conclusions drawn do not support the initial hypothesis, demonstrating the limitations of the GSS evaluation methodology. Problematic natural lighting specifications, lack of passive energy systems specifications, low priority (relative importance) of the roof's waterproofing and heating systems design, justify the need for revised GSS briefs and fine tuning the GSS model of evaluation.

All three constructional systems (based on timber glue laminated, steel trusses and tents) have similar performance and, therefore, are appropriate in Greece. However, the particularities of their implementation (such as cladding, lighting, heating, energy conservation, colours etc.) are key issues in constructing well performing buildings. The applicability of reinforced concrete framed structures is questioned and prestressed reinforced concrete use is not justified due to the high capital costs and technology involved (except for the foundations and vertical loadbearing structure were it performs well in both technical and economic terms).