The Netherlands is on the brink of transitioning to a circular economy. The ambition expressed in the Dutch national scheme 'Nederland Circulair in 2050' clearly indicates the direction: 50% reduction in primary raw material consumption by 2030, and a fully circular economy by 2050. This transition also applies to the construction sector. The objectives for this are set out in the Transitieagenda Circulaire Bouweconomie and the associated Uitvoeringsprogramma. One thing is clear: 'circular' is currently one of the main themes in society, both in the construction sector and elsewhere.
The circular economy is a way to reduce the global consumption of raw materials and reduce waste production. It thus contributes to the integrated sustainability task we are facing: preventing climate change, loss of biodiversity and overburdening our planet. This calls for a change to our current systems, which are currently based on a linear economy. This may have a number of consequences for the construction sector including more and better reuse of construction -materials, -products and -elements and a different approach to the production, tendering for, design and implementation of construction projects.
The need to change has become clear to many people. The answers to the questions of how to jointly achieve this change and what it will take are not yet clear, since we are still in the initial stages of this transition. What is clear, however, is that this change requires a package of unambiguous agreements to anchor circular thinking and actions in daily construction practice.
Platform CB’23 (Circular Construction 2023) is committed to drafting some or all of these agreements for the entire Dutch construction sector: both residential and non-residential construction and civil engineering. Teams consisting of professionals from different parts of the Dutch construction sector, have laid a solid basis for circular agreements on important circular topics. At this stage, they essentially are working agreements, laid down in guides, rather than formal standards.
In working towards a circular construction economy, Platform CB'23 sees the need for unambiguous agreements on - for the time being - seven interconnected main topics, as shown in the image below. The Circular Construction Lexicon serves as the starting points for this. The necessary transformation of the supply chain, i.e. the underlying procedural change that is needed, is the other connecting factor.
The guides 'Measuring circularity in the construction sector' and 'Passports for the construction sector' have been drawn up for the topics Measuring Circularity and Information & Data. Circular design and Circular tendering are the next topics Platform CB'23 is creating guidelines about.
In july 2020 Platform CB'23 launched the 2.0 versions of a lexicon about circulair construction and two guides about Measuring circularity and about Passports for the construction sector. Download them here:
In july 2021 we will expect to launch two new guides (in Dutch): one about circular design and one about circular tendering.