A CAS in the repairability of buildings and products

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(Photograph: ETH Zurich)
(Photograph: ETH Zurich)
ETH is offering a new continuing education programme in the serviceability and repairability of buildings and products. The CAS is backed by an architect, a product developer and a production technologist.

Not only is it barely possible these days for mobile phones, toasters and vacuum cleaners to be repaired, but buildings are also frequently constructed in such a way that demolishing and rebuilding them pays off more than a repair. Yet repairing - and thereby reducing the consumption of materials - is the overriding principle for a sustainable handling of resources.

Silke Langenberg, ETH Professor for Construction Heritage and Preservation, has therefore developed a new continuing education programme together with Mirko Meboldt, ETH Professor for Product Development & Engineering Design, and Markus Bambach, ETH Professor for Manufacturing Technologies.

Students of continuing education studying for the CAS in Repair and Maintenance (CAS ReMain) learn how to develop repair concepts and strategies that are resource-friendly and economical while at the same time meeting requirements in terms of durability, comfort, building culture and aesthetics.

Dialogue between different experts

The programme is addressed not just at architects and civil engineers, but also at product and industry designers, mechanical engineers, process engineers and environmental scientists.

The students work jointly on a model repair project, while contributions from experts from the fields of architecture and design, engineering, sustainability, entrepreneurship, law and economics offer supplementary specialist knowledge.

The continuing education programme places a strong focus on dialogue between the students. Silke Langenberg: "In order to develop practical and efficient repair concepts, we are dependent on the expertise of a large number of industry specialists. Alongside the experts, the participants in the course help to identify the critical factors for the repairability of products and buildings."

Laboratory building as a case study

The continuing education programme is thus not just intended to convey knowledge, but also to enable the students to develop their own approaches in dialogue with specialists from industry and design.

A high-tech laboratory building belonging to ETH that will be due for refurbishment in around ten years’ time has been selected as a case study for the first cohort’s project work. Based on analyses of the fašades, domestic engineering and laboratory technology, the students will develop concepts for refurbishing and maintaining as many parts of the building as possible.
Michael Walther