Dismantle buildings without losing valuable building materials

Digital Deconstruction project almost finished with development of decision support system for an optimal demolition strategy of buildings

How do you track down building materials that can be reused? How do you optimize the classification and storage of these materials from a demolition building? How do you navigate to this materials file and how do you make it valuable to the market? Project partners and professionals from the design and construction world provided answers to these questions during the Digital Deconstruction (DDC) 'Level Up Circular Building' show case event at the Brightlands Smart Services Campus in Heerlen. The project partners launched the digital software platform and the navigator to the audience.

In the past three project years, a lot of work has been done to develop a digital software platform that can dismantle buildings without losing valuable building materials. The development of such a platform has been tackled by fourteen partners in the Interreg Northwest Europe project Digital Deconstruction.

On Thursday, June 8, 2023, the project partners presented the developments of the individual DDC-modules, which will eventually be merged into one digital software platform. The test period of the various digital technology modules, such as 3D scanning, Building Information Modeling (BIM), digital materials and building database and blockchain technology is done and the results of these tests at various test locations in Belgium, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands have been included in the latest phase of the development of the digital software platform. The integrated DDC-platform is taking shape and will be ready at the end of this project to identify materials in buildings for high-quality reuse and enable circular construction. A navigation system, hosted within the website of Green Transformable Building Lab (GTB Lab) in Heerlen, takes the visitor to this platform. It also provides insight into the project and shows the various test locations.


During the panel discussion, some remarkable answers came from external experts about what the digital software platform can bring to the market and how the market can transform towards a world of circular building.

Jan Boström of Sundahus, Sweden: ‘Create an open source material passport. The big challenge is getting access to the materials. It can be an expensive affair if you do not provide a good system where the materials are designated as valuable for the construction.’

Ron Jacobs from Jansen AG, Switzerland: ‘With a material passport you force the manufacturing industry to transform.’

Gilli Hobbs from Reusefully, United Kingdom: 'It's hard to overcome the barriers, be proud of what you've already achieved. The fastest way to achieve further solutions is to talk to national policymakers. Create transparency.’


Conclusion of the day
The next step is to start using the platform and bring more human experience to it. Measures for the construction and demolition industry must be standardized and qualification on materials is needed to reduce the large gap to reuse. An action plan for the circular economy for the entire EU is needed.

Brightlands Smart Services Campus, communication advisor Marlie Dix

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