University of Twente Student Theses


Design framework for transitioning from linear to circular in the construction industry: focussing on the installed base

Pelt, T.A.J.C. van (2019) Design framework for transitioning from linear to circular in the construction industry: focussing on the installed base.

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Abstract:The construction industry, based on a linear production model, is the most resource intensive sector in the world and thereby responsible for depleting the global resources of the planet Earth. The Circular Economy (CE) is considered to be a solution that should reduce these negative environmental impacts. To date, most academic and grey literature on CE primarily assumes that designs are created from a blank sheet, as if one would start from scratch. However, considering the built environment, there already is an installed base as a starting point (i.e. present infrastructure). Hence, in improving the level of circularity in the construction industry, researchers overlooked a field of high potential; namely the residual value of the installed base. As such, this paper focusses on identifying the aspects ought to be available in order to optimise the circular value of currently existing bridges and viaducts when (re)designing for maintenance & replacement tasks. Using Design Science Research, the results of a literature study, multiple interviews and a design workshop led to an established design-framework. This framework is validated by a management team and thereafter verified in a case study with the help of design engineers. The main results that derive from this study are that reliable data as input for design trade-offs is crucial in order to provide transparency and guidance in decisions during the design process. Moreover, a wider inventory of available an releasing assets in the region would facilitate supply and demand streams for reused components. Deeper cooperation and involvement of multiple partners in the supply chain and proper client-contractor-owner conversations on expectations can further stimulate the shift towards a CE in the construction industry. Thus, when improving CE in the construction industry, a key element lies in optimising the circularity of the built environment by fully utilising its residual value.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:56 civil engineering
Programme:Construction Management and Engineering MSc (60337)
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