Steel reuse and the circular economy

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The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products (ASBP) is leading on an Innovate UK study: Circular Economy Business Models; Reuse of structural steel within construction.

We’re using structural steel as an example of a durable and high value good and looking to retain that value now and into the future. We are collaborating with SCI, Ellis and Moore and Cleveland Steel and Tubes, with support from the University of Cambridge, University of Sheffield and UCL, NFDC and Cullinan Studio.

The ASBP Reusable Buildings Network will launch under this project, with secretariat from us. We’re using structural steel as an example of a durable and high value good and looking to retain that value now and into the future.

Why?
•    Reused steel has 4% of the environmental impact of new steel (BRE, 2002);
•    Reused steel should offer cost savings;
•    Plus additional social value: job creation, training, Up-Skilling, knowledge sharing, learning, feedback, localism. Fewer product miles = less pollution = improved health and wellbeing.

Overcoming the barriers to reuse:

We have identified many barriers to steel reuse – none of them on their own are insurmountable, but to overcome them all will require a collaborative approach.

The main barriers can be summarised as:

•    No client has ever asked for this;
•    Lack of regulatory drivers;
•    No demand, therefore, no supply;
•    CE marking – barrier or opportunity?

The ASBP Reusable Buildings Network will begin to address these barriers in the following way:

•    We will create a client-facing document on the benefits of retention and reuse and the circular economy;
•    A workshop in May with local authorities and the Network to consider the potential for planning guidance to encourage reuse and the circular economy, over the next 6 months;
•    Innovate UK project 132106 led by SCI, is examining the feasibility of a web-based portal to match supply and demand;
•    We will create a discussion piece around CE marking and create a campaign. Roy Fishwick, Cleveland Steel and Tubes and collaborator, has identified this as a real threat to reuse.

The Reusable Buildings Network will be hosted by ASBP. We will meet twice in May and September. In May, we will issue a report into the multiple barriers that need to be overcome to enable reuse, the business case, client benefits, approaches to the numbers and a snapshot of the steel market.

ASBP will prepare 3 case studies on new business models and approaches; for consideration are:

  • Servitisation: Pay per Lux Phillips/NUS
  • Demountable Housing: PLACE/Ladywell with Lewisham Council
  • Designing to enable reuse: DELTA Developments/ World Steel

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The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products
www.asbp.org.uk
 @asbp_uk

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