Reuse of building products and materials – barriers and opportunities

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BRE have been working with the reclamation sector in the UK for around 20 years to promote the reuse of end-of-life building products and materials in preference to recycling and recovery. Much of this has been dedicated to the promotion of pre-demolition and prerefurbishment audits to facilitate targets being set and markets for reusable resources sourced prior to work commencing. Against this backdrop the surveys undertaken to measure levels of reclamation in the UK over a 15 year period showed a significant decline. The cause of this decline was investigated and revealed a number of challenges which were affecting both the supply and demand for reclaimed products and materials. Many of the challenges to reuse are connected to the availability and robustness of data. Therefore, the work currently being undertaken as part of the H2020 funded project BAMB (Building As Material Banks) provides a great opportunity to address such gaps in buildings of the future. However, since the existing built environment will have a major impact on resource flows for many years, it is also important to consider approaches to improve data in this context also. Therefore, this presentation will summarise the challenges for reuse of building products and materials in existing and future buildings. It will then briefly describe the opportunities and solutions to address these challenges in the context of improved data access, management and evaluation. Finally, the BAMB research which should contribute to providing solutions will be explored.