Circularity taken into account in more and more architectural projects
Circular construction is a relatively new term within the construction industry, and not everyone is aware yet of what it actually entails. This indicates that we are still at the forefront of a change in the industry, but this change from traditional construction methods towards more sustainable and circular methods is definitely happening. Almost two out of three European architects indicate that principals of their projects are currently asking for circular solutions already. But not in all these projects does that mean that circularity is taken into account. Principals’ willingness to invest in circular solutions is still relatively low. However, approximately one in ten architects note that principals are willing to pay something extra and invest in circular solutions. On an overall European level, architects indicate that in almost a quarter of their projects circular construction is taken into account. In the European Architectural Barometer, USP Marketing Consultancy has asked 1,400 architects in eight European countries about their expectations regarding the development of circular and sustainable construction methods.
Not all countries are equally advanced
With new trends emerging in the market, there are always countries that are already a step ahead of others. With other trends such as Building Information Modeling (or digitalization of the construction process in general) we saw for years that the Netherlands and United Kingdom were at the forefront of BIM usage. Architects in these countries showed that BIM was already used in many projects, and the usage of BIM models is increasing year by year. When it comes to circular construction, the Netherlands again is one of the leading countries. Slightly less than a third of the projects are to some extent already circular construction projects. Other countries where circularity has taken a big part of construction projects already are Italy and Spain. It seems that governmental stimulation in these countries has driven them to the top of the European circular construction chart.
Architects mainly advise on sustainable building methods
Circular construction remains a concept that is understood in different ways. When asked what circularity means, most architects indicate that it is about the re-use of materials and about recycling and limiting waste. But when asked what their role in the process is, it seems that it is still mostly about the usage and specification of sustainable materials and building methods, instead of thinking about a design where the materials can be dismantled and re-used.
In order to become a fully circular construction economy, architects feel that there is a lot that needs to happen still. In all countries, architects strongly agree that the construction industry needs to change its mindset to develop from a traditional process towards a full circular construction economy. To do so, two important things need to happen. First, architects feel that government should enforce on circular solutions and construction methods, otherwise it will not succeed. Secondly, there is an important task for building manufacturers to capture all information about the used products in a resource passport. In the coming years, it will be a challenge to meet a growing demand for sustainable and circular construction solutions.
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