BB goes circular

Natural resources are finite.
More raw materials are used each year than the earth can produce.
More waste is being produced annually than the earth can process.
The need for new ways of building is therefore high.
Circular construction is one of them.

Circular construction questions our linear logic (mining → producing → using → dumping) and tries to close the cycle of materials, energy and water. Ideally, this should mean that materials are constantly and exclusively reused, without adding any new raw materials.

We are not there yet, but the starting signal has been given

Circular building = a temporary collection of products, components and materials of which the origin and potential re-use are documented.

Step 1 : new construction

Buildings are designed and constructed in such a way that they are easily adaptable to new needs and other functions or destinations during their entire lifespan. More and more use is made of standard modules, prefabricated building elements and a superstructure in layers with a different lifespan that can be removed and renewed independently of each other.

Circular building = material aware and demountable, so that materials can be recovered and reused.

Step 2 : Buildings as material databanks

In the near future, a new construction project will therefore no longer be completely new and not all materials will be the property of the user. If houses become material (data) banks, this means that their building blocks will become available again on the market when they are re-used. Materials receive a passport that also describes their life course after use. Demolition can be done efficiently and without loss of material.

If materials remain the property of the manufacturer, the principal only needs to 'buy' the user right. After dismantling, the manufacturer makes them available again or recycles them.

Bureau Bouwtechniek has been studying circular construction for several years. In a first phase, our focus is on knowledge acquisition. We participate in numerous study days and masterclasses, the knowledge sharing project of the VUB, brainstorming sessions with manufacturers and in the Green Deal Circular Building, a project of the Flemish Government i.s.m. OVAM. It is our intention to implement the principles of circular construction in all our projects.

Our vision on circular construction translates as follows:

Concrete cases

with its partner the Univercity of Antwerp, BB receives funding from Circular Flanders for the research on circular tendering.

Goals :  

  • develop a method for an easy analysis of sites with regard to the reuse of materials
  • gathering knowledge to stimulate circular building within the construction team 
  • strategic circular design 
  • develop tender documents for circular projects containing information that makes a first step towards use, management and maintenance
  • encourage producers and manufacturers to work in a circular manner.  

Case : 

In a circular construction project, the focus on the supply and removal of material is on preservation, reuse, up- and recycle.