A Delphi survey (a structured group interaction process that is directed in rounds of opinion collection and feedback) has been
conducted to provide expert opinion on the life of components in buildings. Theories on material durability derived from empirical data are few, and hence it was considered useful to obtain subjective judgment and identify important issues in the field. Thirty different components were surveyed with a range of materials, coatings, environments and failure considered. The survey included both service life (with and without maintenance) and aesthetic life, and time to first maintenance. It included marine, industrial, and benign environments, and covered both commercial and residential buildings.
The survey was conducted in two stages. After the first stage, approximately 80% of questions had a consistent answer from the survey group. In Stage 2, 10% of questions were further investigated, with 75% of these remaining questions then having a consistent answer. Examination of the data for internal consistency and comparisons. The study has generated an extensive database on component life. Components covered by the database are a representative subset of building materials ranging from nails and ducting through to roofing, window frames and door handles. The database can be used by people in the construction industry to give indicative lifetimes of components in different environments for use in design and assessment tools. The database is provided in the form of a table, for users to look up predicted lifetimes for metallic components in a comparable environment.