Rational selection of building materials for their optimal performance and minimal environmental impact is complex, as materials are multi-functional. Beyond the primary function for which a material or product has been identified, such as insulation, the contribution to additional aspects of building performance may be conservatively overlooked. For example, important properties, such as latent and hygrothermal performance, are rarely considered when selecting insulation materials. Consequently, if materials are to be used optimally, there is a need for reliable and robust ranking methods based on a multi-criteria analysis. This will help to facilitate the most optimal selection of materials for building performance, environmental impact and occupant well-being. This paper describes four statistical methods of comparing and ranking different building materials. A critical appraisal of these methods is presented following implementation with a reference material data set. Finally, recommendations for future development and adoption of material selection tools are outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-58
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Construction Materials
Issue number2
Early online date15 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Buildings structures & design
  • Design methods & AIDS
  • Statistical analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials


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