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MULTI-CRITERIA DECISION MAKING TECHNIQUES IN CIVIL ENGINEERING EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY

I. Navarro Martínez, J.V. Martí Albiñana, V. Yepes Piqueras

Universitat Politècnica de València (SPAIN)
In recent times, a great deal of interest has emerged from different sectors of society towards sustainability and sustainable product design. Decision makers are increasingly encouraged to take into consideration the economical, environmental and social dimensions of reality when dealing with problems. Sustainability is of particular importance in the field of civil engineering, where structures are designed that are long lasting and shall cause significant impacts over a long period of time, such as bridges or dams. Consequently, when addressing a structural design, civil engineers shall account for the three dimensions of sustainability, which usually show conflicting perspectives. Multi-criteria methods allows the inclusion of non-monetary aspects into the design process of infrastructure.

In the postgraduate course ‘Predictive and optimisation models for concrete structures’, offered at the Masters in Concrete Engineering of the Universitat Politècnica de València, civil engineering students are tought how to apply such tools within the framework of sustainable design of concrete structures. The present paper conducts a state of the art review of the main multi-criteria decision making methodologies taught in the course in the context of sustainability. Articles are searched in recognized databases, such as SCOPUS and Web of Science. The most significant methods, such as Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP), Elimination and Choice Expressing Reality (ELECTRE), Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) or Complex Proportional Assessment (COPRAS) are systematically discussed, identifying the actual trends concerning the use of such methodologies in the field of civil engineering. The review provides a deep insight in the multi criteria techniques that are most frequently used when assessing sustainability of infrastructure designs.