Digitalization for a circular economy in the building industry: Multiple-case study of Dutch social housing organizations

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Digital technologies are considered enablers of circular economy implementation in the built environment. Literature mainly focuses on conceptual or review studies examining the role of digital tools (e.g., material passport and building information modelling) to close the material loops. There is a lack of understanding of how digital technologies are implemented in real-life and whether they offer value to the industry actors. This study conducted a multiple-case study to collect empirical evidence from Dutch social housing organizations actively applying circular principles in new construction, renovation, maintenance, and demolition projects. Our findings suggest that artificial intelligence, digital twins, and scanning technologies support data collection, integration, and analysis for slowing the loops strategies (i.e., maintenance), while digital marketplaces facilitate material reuse, enabling narrowing and closing the loops. This study identified 12 challenges that hinder the broader adoption of digital technologies that are associated with the technological, cultural, market, and regulatory factors.