Total Quality Design and Assessment of buildings as a strategy to increase the level of know-how with regard to the issue of "sustainable buildings".

Total Quality Design and Assessment is an instrument to increase the demand for high quality buildings; "high quality" in terms of improved comfort as well as decrease in negative environmental impact, at affordable costs. Application of TQ design targets requires additional and new knowledge, thus increasing the level of know-how with regard to the issue of "sustainable buildings".

Content Description




Motivation, target and content

The system of entirely optimised planning and rating of buildings (Total Quality - TQ) has been developed by way of four pilot projects within the project "ECO-Building - Optimierung von Gebäuden 2 " (building optimisation). This project resulted in the TQ Assessment System, the TQ Guideline how to achieve the best scores, and four assessed buildings. The project was completed in 2001, the project report is available at

The project at hand, however, is focused on accelerating wide and cost-efficient implementation of TQ Planning and Rating and its use as a strategy to eliminate learning- and diffusion deficits in the area of sustainable building construction.

The project was processed by the following work packages:

  • Building Rating: Comprehensive quality targets were developed on behalf of 5 building promoters, adequate ratings were effected, and quality certificates issued for the buildings. In contrast to the ratings in the four pilot projects of "ECO-Building - Optimierung von Gebäuden", this marked the transition into a market-compatible process. Subsidies eased this step for the first few businesses adopting the strategy.
  • Database for TQ Building Rating and -Certification: The database serves the continual improvement of the TQ system and, moreover, delivers information on the selected illustration of particularly interesting attributes of specific construction projects. In the interest of a strategy to eliminate learning- and diffusion deficits, the database was designed to allow online access to some sections.
  • Tutorials for Project Managers, Architects and Special Experts: In order to enable all persons involved in planning to meet the requirements of building promoters and building owners, tutorials for project managers, architects, and special experts were designed and held to convey the handling of the TQ planning- and rating tool.
  • Organisational Structure: Practical application of TQ planning and -rating will work in the long run, only, if a procedure for TQ rating exists, trainings are available on a continuous basis, public relations are carried on, and maintenance of the planning and rating system is effected at regular intervals. An organisational structure for the continuation of the activities has been established to cover these aspects.
  • Public Relations: Presentation of the rated and TQ-certified buildings, availability of TQ manuals and TQ tool, and suitable public relations, all serve the distribution of project results and support the continuation of TQ building rating and certification after the project "Total Quality Planung und Bewertung" (planning and rating) has been concluded.

Results and conclusions

Accessibility of the TQ Rating System: Access was eased by transferring TQ-Exceltool version 2.0 into a web-based database. In the interest of a strategy to eliminate learning- and diffusion deficits, the database was designed to allow any interested person to enter data for a specific building and receive the rating result. All those buildings which have already been certified are given a special code and administered within the database for evaluation purposes. Access to the database is possible via, where comprehensive information on the TQ building rating system is available. In addition, the project report and all relevant material is available via the managing organisation of the programme (

  • TQ Certificates: Five TQ certifications were partly subsidised by project resources. Eight TQ planning certifications were effected during the lifetime of the project, a total of 16 projects are currently undergoing the TQ rating process, among them one building, each, in Switzerland and The Netherlands.
  • Utilisation of TQ as an Instrument of Quality Assurance: Experience from TQ ratings, so far, indicate that the instrument of Total Quality Planning and Rating finds great approval. Deficits exist with regard to using the TQ certificate as a marketing instrument.
  • Driving Forces for the Use of TQ: Basel II and Implementation of the EU-Building Efficiency Directive (COM 2001/226): In economically difficult times, the voluntary self-commitment of businesses is extremely difficult to achieve. For this reason, TQ building rating and -certification should be made increasingly compatible with formal requirements. This is expedient with regard to Basel II (proof of risk minimisation for loan allocation) and EU-Building Efficiency Directive (energy pass for buildings).
  • argeTQ as Organisational Structure for the continuation of TQ building rating after the project has ended: Important institutions have been won for further developing the TQ building rating system all over Austria when the "old" TQ project core team (Austrian Institute for Applied Ecology, offices of Dr. Manfred Bruck) was selectively extended by "new" partners: Österreichisches Institut für Baubiologie und -ökologie (Austrian institute for building biology and -ecology") as member of argeTQ, and Zentrum für Bauen und Umwelt der Donauuniversität Krems (centre for building and environment of Danube University Krems) as co-operation partner.
  • Strategic Partners for the propagation of TQ: Zertifizierung Bau GmbH, an institution founded 1995 and offering, among other, quality assurance for residential buildings has been won as strategically important partner.
  • TQ international: Thanks to international presence at important international symposia (and projects), much interest in the ‘Austrian' approach to building rating has been generated.

Project Partners

Project manager:

Mag. Susanne Geissler
Österreichisches Ökologie-Institut


Dr. Manfred Bruck
Kanzlei Dr. Bruck


Robert Lechner
Österreichisches Ökologie-Institut
Seidengasse 13
A 1070 Wien
Tel.: +43 1 523 61 05