Assessment of the reuse potential of existing concrete

Enhancing circularity in the Dutch building sector by harvesting structural elements from demolition projects

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Awareness about our planet is more important than ever before. Thereby, the transition towards a Circular Economy (CE) aims to keep products in use and to design out waste. In the construction industry, one way of reducing the use of raw materials is by transforming waste residuals from demolition projects into resources to be reused. By implementing these resources in new buildings, the supply of harvested (structural) elements and the demand for resources in new buildings can be matched. Due to the high amount of embodied carbon in superstructures, this research focuses on the reuse potential of harvested concrete (structural) elements in the design of new buildings. The demolition and construction of buildings are analysed from the point of view of structural engineers with an extensive literature study, interviews and a case-study. This resulted in the process of ‘Deconstruct & Reuse’, which includes all information required to assess the reuse potential. The assessment is made operational in the Decision Support Tool, which makes this research the first of its kind. For use in practice, the Decision Support Tool is validated and verified with a test-case that considers the disassembling of De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) in Amsterdam. In the Decision Support Tool, the test-case is executed by the researcher and by experts resulting in remarks, opportunities, challenges and further research. In conclusion, the Decision Support Tool has a high practical value as it stimulates the reuse of concrete elements through an operational method. The output provides valuable insights with which a structural engineer can decide if a harvested (structural) element can be reused and implemented in a new building. Hence, the assessment of the reuse potential is considered to be a step towards circularity in the construction industry.