This Housing Rehabilitation Technologies study was conducted from February through September 1995. Its goals and objectives derive from the fact that rehabilitation of housing is essential for meeting the need for affordable housing, and that little research has been conducted on technologies to reduce the cost of rehabilitation. The rehabilitation industry is extremely fragmented and it tends to adopt new technologies slowly. A survey of new technologies could help promote more cost effective practices. This includes advances in materials, products, and systems and their applications, methods used during design and construction, and new and improved equipment used
in diagnostics and construction activities.
The study is limited to the building industry. While its focus is the full range of building types and uses within the residential occupancy category, technologies applicable to other occupancy types were also investigated in the hope that housing rehabilitation could benefit. Site work technologies were not sought, but where found, they were included. Technologies limited to entire residential communities were not studied.
Inquiries were made of trade and professional associations, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Institute of Building Sciences, and the testing and evaluation services of the three model code organizations. Manufacturing sources were also contacted. A questionnaire was used to assure some uniformity in information gathering. In addition, articles, advertisements, product directories, and related publications were researched; the exhibition, Restoration 95, was attended and relevant literature databases were searched.
To select candidate technologies, three categories of benefits were broadly applied: cost (lower capital costs, lower maintenance costs), time (less time to manufacture, assemble, install, and longer service life), and quality (improved appearance, greater durability, higher level of performance).
It was pointed out by respondents that a completely new technology was extremely rare and incremental improvements and adaptations of existing technologies were far more common. However, results of this study indicate that many new building products and practices continue to become available, especially in the building envelope area. In addition to products and construction practices, there are many design and evaluation tool improvements that are continuing to develop. Examples of major areas where these improvements are occurring include computer software, seismic retrofit, hazardous materials abatement, accessibility, home automation, and energy efficiency labeling.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development