Rethinking production and the life cycle
Despite much progression and plenty of effort, there is still a very big problem among the construction industry – excessive waste.
The overriding problem with waste in construction is the maintenance and asset management of buildings, with limited data available in order to monitor the building’s condition. When a building nears the end of it’s lifespan, there isn’t enough data to practice selective demolition which could save part of the structure and reduce waste, there is certainly room to develop regulations and procedures to recover some of this waste.
By using the word ‘disassembly’ over ‘demolition’ there’s a larger focus on each part being available to detach easily and separated. This would allow some parts of the construction that are in good condition to be re-used in other projects.
The automotive industry is a prime example for this, and there are some parts of the construction industry that are following suit. Steel, aluminium and copper are recycled into secondary production streams, while concrete is re-used as filler in future mixes. By embracing technology and other digital platforms, this should help the transition into disassembly becoming more common practice.
The circular house project shows that a circular building approach using entirely re-usable components is possible, demonstrated recently by Arup.
While there is plenty of room for improvement in terms making circular buildings more attractive to investors along with mitigating potential risks, regulations can aid this. A governance-level approach should be enough to help transition this in the future along with educating shareholders on the benefits.