Implementing the design for disassembly (DfD) principle in the public procurement process of buildings in the Netherlands

Conceptualization of the implementation of the DfD principle in the public procurement process to achieve circular ambitions

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The building industry is stained as unsustainable due to the linear economy model of “take, make and dispose”. There is a need to switch to Circular Economy (CE). One of the ways in which the public clients can stimulate this transition is by implementing the Design for Disassembly (DfD) principle in the public procurement process. However, this stimulation is underexploited, and public clients seem to lack in having an effective system for implementation. Therefore, the objective of this research was to conceptualize a system for the implementation of the DfD principle in the public procurement process to achieve circular ambitions. A mixed research approach was adopted where first a literature study was conducted on the general procurement process of buildings and the aspects of DfD to conceptualize the DfD based procurement process. Following this, two case studies were conducted to understand how public clients have implemented DfD in the public procurement process of known circular buildings. Based on the results of the case study, the conceptualization of the DfD based procurement process was refined. The main findings from refined conceptualization are: firstly, the client needs to hire a design team specialized in DfD. This design team needs to formulate an ambition primarily for flexibility in design and beyond that for future reuse. Secondly, for the tendering phase, the client needs to set eligibility requirements for the selection of the design team asking for training and experience. They also need to set requirements for the inclusion of deconstruction professionals in the consortium. Finally, the client needs to award the contract based on the design principles of DfD. The client needs to assess the offers for these design principles using BIM-based tools. Also, for the assessment of the cost of the offers, the client needs to use life cycle costs. In conclusion, the implementation of DfD does not lead to a fundamental change in how the procurement process is conducted. Only in certain phases, the activities need to be conducted in line with DfD.