Despite the enormous amount of raw or secondary materials flowing within the construction industry, the actual available volume of materials and their respective End-of-Lifecycle (EoL) treatment is not regulated nor uniform. On top of that, the EoL responsibility of different stakeholders after the future building deconstruction is confusing and disputable. Consequently, different sustainability policies and metrics suffer from inaccurately reported volumes of circulating materials in the economy. Hence, this article aims to find a new way to improve and regulate the EoL treatment of recyclable materials and to create value for them. The ultimate goal of the proposed framework is to make original manufacturers responsible for the EoL treatment of their recyclable construction materials and products under the Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) policy that is enacted in the European Union for sustainable management of waste streams. Adhering to the EPR is difficult for buildings as they are long-term and complex assets. A high degree of transparency, accuracy and security is required to correctly track the lifecycle information of building parts and their respective manufacturers for the EPR implementation. For this purpose, a framework is conceptualised based on the immutability and transparency of blockchain technology to remove trust and trace barriers in the current supply chain. The proposed conceptual model results from the synergy of Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology, material and component banks, blockchain technology and smart contracts for the EoL treatment of recyclable materials. As a result, a datadriven and closed-loop material cycle will be accomplished. This paper demonstrates that through self-executing smart contracts, a clear line of responsibility and ownership could be defined while manufacturers could be made accountable in the postconsumer phase of their construction products.

Authors: Arghavan Akbarieh, William Carbone, Markus Schäfer, Danièle Waldmann, Felix Norman Teferle

Published in: World Congress on Sustainable Technologies (WCST-2020)

  • Date of Conference: 8-10 December 2020
  • DOI: 10.20533/WCST.2020.0004
  • ISBN: 978-1-913572-25-9
  • Conference Location: London, UK