Publications / 2021 Proceedings of the 38th ISARC, Dubai, UAE

Key approaches to construction circularity: a systematic review of the current state and future opportunities

Qian Chen, Haibo Feng and Borja Garcia de Soto
Pages 940-947 (2021 Proceedings of the 38th ISARC, Dubai, UAE, ISBN 978-952-69524-1-3, ISSN 2413-5844)

Circular economy (CE) strategies have been considered to help reduce global sustainability pressures in different sectors; however, there is a gap about how they could be used to contribute to the Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC) domain. Past research used lifecycle assessment (LCA) methods or experts' opinions to partially identify the benefits and drawbacks of specific CE strategies or approaches adopted in construction projects. This study presents a systematic literature review to identify the scope of key approaches to construction circularity. From a rigorous selection and review of 40 journal articles, this study identifies 15 key approaches that emerged from the state-of-the-art. These approaches represent the efforts of using digital technologies, comprehensive mapping and assessment methods, and material experiments to allow construction circularity from 5 different perspectives: material design, building design, construction and facility management, urban sustainability development, and system precondition, which emphasize the communication between project stakeholders concerning what, how and when the materials should be used within the estimated number of life cycles. Findings reveal the importance of integrating the stakeholders, service centers and recycling plants, transportation networks, and local authorities to work together to deliver construction circularity at micro, meso, and macro levels. The legal, risk, financial (funding and taxes), and contractual frameworks need to be further studied to fully explore the different opportunities of circular strategies and approaches in the AEC domain.

Keywords: Circular economy; Construction circularity; Sustainability; Digital enablers; Reuse and recycle