A-05 Transport of products to the construction site – complete LCA


A-05 Transport of products to the construction site – complete LCA

This aspect is related to the transport of building products from the manufacturer’s production plant (or from regional storage) to the construction site. In practice, the assessment of transportation impact depends on the number of manufacturers or the number of regional storage providing a given building product. Such detailed information may be impossible to obtain without close cooperation with the building industry.Should the transport of products to construction site be included? What could the transportation distance be for each building product? Should losses be allowed for?

Related study objective

stand-alone LCA comparative assertion

Related study phase

goal and scope definition inventory analysis (LCI) impact assessment (LCIA) interpretation reporting

Relevant for

new buildings existing buildings building products screening LCA simplified LCA complete LCA
Provisions Transport of products to the construction site should be included for complete LCA.The practitioner should use specific transport distances and load factors, or average distances and load factors if data are missing. The rules provided in EN 15804 should be applied. This includes the impacts of the transport and the impacts of any transport-related losses of material and its disposal (i.e. the impact of manufacturing material that is wasted as a result of transport and the impact of disposing of the waste). Losses should be documented, where these occur.
Rules from:
EN 15978 Boundary of the Transport to and from site (Module A4)

EN 15804: 
6.2.3 A4-A5, Construction process stage, information modules

The practitioner should use specific data, such as that available in national EPD programmes (e.g. such specific data are available in France). Data on distance traveled and mode of transport (road, rail, sea container etc.) should be collected for each input material and waste generated. Transports should be covered all the way from the producer or to waste treatment, not just from a depot or storage warehouse. For example, the transport of timber from the sawmill in Scandinavia should be included, not just from the local timber merchant’s depot. Unless transport is likely to be very significant, generic datasets for transport per tonne-kilometre can be used. These take account of typical vehicle size, fuel efficiency, typical loading, and percentage of empty return journeys. More detailed data on the number of deliveries, size of truck, Euroclass, actual load, return journey etc. can be gathered and used to generate more specific data, but this is rarely useful unless the transport phase is particularly important. Impacts of waste that is created within the transport phase should be considered. This means that if material is wasted during this phase, its manufacturing impact and the impacts of disposal should both be considered in Module A4.

1) Specific guidance for building LCA studies
Specific distances should be collected and used for complete LCA of buildings, otherwise default average transport distances of 300 km can be assumed for all building products, based on previous works [Nemry 2008; Lasvaux 2010]. However, most building products, particularly bulk products such as aggregates and ready-mixed concrete, are likely to travel shorter distances. For example, Eurostat freight transport statistics show that, for almost all member states, more than 50% (by mass) of ‘Other non-metallic mineral products’ travel less than 50 km per trip.

2) Specific guidance for product LCA studies
The practitioner interested in obtaining detailed guidance on transport distances and load factors of lorries can look for PCR documents of national EPD programmes, and in national transport statistics.

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