Building science may be defined as the body of scientific knowledge that focuses on the investigation of the many physical phenomena that have an effect on structures. The field of knowledge that overlaps with building science is referred to by a number of different names, including building physics, architectural science, and applied physics.
Traditionally, the study of building science encompasses the investigation of topics such as the inside temperature climate, the indoor acoustic environment, the indoor light environment, the indoor air quality, and the use of building resources such as energy and building materials. These regions are investigated in terms of physical principles, their link to the health, comfort, and productivity of building occupants, and how the building envelope, electrical systems, and mechanical systems may be used to exert control over these aspects. Additionally incorporated into the purview of the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) are the subfields of building information modelling, building commissioning, fire protection engineering, seismic design, and resilient design.
The application of building science seeks to provide a capability for prediction that will optimise the building performance and sustainability of new and existing buildings, understand or prevent building failures, and guide the design of new techniques and technologies. This is the practical purpose of building science.