The intention here is to provide a parametric global model for generating element alternatives in conjunction with an evaluation procedure to ascertain the best overall performer. Any information pertaining to an object may be encompassed within a conceptual parametric model thereby allowing efficient manipulation for all purposes. The model enshrines three subsystems. 1. Performance requirements comprising the notional entities of life cycle phases, Participants and domains with their respective entities. 2. Design constraints as exogenous factors predicating the requirements indexed to instances. 3. Building objects as elements and their components described by object oriented modeling. The comparative performance evaluation procedure for element alternatives comprises two consecutive parts called physical and statistical evaluation. They employ the same procedure but physical and statistical criteria are substituted, respectively. Thus the distribution of the criteria values for each alternative is accounted for and a rank-ordered shortlist of satisfactory alternatives may be prepared. Generation of alternatives entails the combinatorial steps of Arrangement of components, Material of components, Form of components. An application is included for the purpose of demonstrating the proposal. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.