TNO contributes to the design, construction and maintenance of safe structures. Buildings may be damaged during construction, but things sometimes go wrong after completion, too. Years of exposure to the elements and environmental factors can play havoc with historic buildings. Graffiti is another cause for concern. Research into damage and adverse effects is helping TNO advise designers and builders in new building and restoration projects.
TNO views its research in the building industry into cases of damage and degradation mechanisms as a public duty. Damage in today's new development projects may be caused by issues of coordination between the various parties involved. A problem may arise if it is unclear which subcontractor is responsible for the support of a floor panel. Prefab components are a common answer to the high rate of construction being demanded to fill every last square metre in a city. How these elements are joined together requires special attention in design and execution. Where historic buildings show signs of wear, recovery is usually a matter of preservation and cleaning. TNO's advice to designers and builders on repairing and preventing damage is based on research. Using legal codes for structural design will suffice for most buildings, but sometimes detailed algorithms are called for. TNO advises on structural safety assessments for complex constructions.