Until recently, the available documentation on circular construction in Flanders was mainly aimed at designers and clients. With Actie Bouwbedrijven Circulair (ABC), Bouwunie wants to specifically target contractors. We want to convince SME construction companies to build circularly by providing circular solutions and practical examples tailored to their needs.
We collected some 35 concrete circular solutions centralised around five building components: roofs, outer walls, windows, floors and (integrated) installations. We translated these briefly and clearly into tailored training material, such as training using models, technical sheets, instructional videos, etc. We have solutions both for new buildings, focusing on reusing used materials later, and for renovations, focusing on recovering existing materials.
To raise contractors' awareness, we highlighted inspiring projects by fellow building professionals. With a series of company visits, videos and testimonial articles, they were used as ambassadors for circular construction. We consciously chose small-scale projects such as residential projects and small commercial buildings.
With our hands-on approach, we also hope to make more traditional contractors aware of the need for circular construction, and to accelerate the integration of circular techniques.
To sensitise and inspire contractors, we organised a launch event in September 2020, the Circular Cycling Tour, during which a whole series of small-scale circular construction sites and projects in Ghent could be visited.
We published seven informative articles on circular construction (including remountable roof structures and detachable construction) with case studies in successive editions of Bouwnieuws. All examples were also compiled in a solutions catalogue.
We organised trainingcourses on circular wall, roof and floor structures. Using models, technical sheets and videos, participants received valuable, hands-on information. They also got the chance to roll up their sleeves themselves.
In total, we designed some 35 technical sheets, one for each circular solution of which a model was made in our mobile unit. All sheets are available on the Bouwunie website.
MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED
Our way of working with full-scale models, combined with workshops and demos where interested parties could get to work themselves, was muchappreciated by the target group.
Despite the positive response to our approach, in general there is still little interest among our target group of SME construction companies. So there is still work to be done in terms of awareness-raising.
35technical data sheets
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
We would like to further disseminate the developed training material so that as many construction professionals as possible, as well as teachers, trainees, students ... can use it. The Flanders Circular network can play an important role here.
Furthermore, it will be necessary to keep the models up-to-date, and there is still a need for more information on how all those circular components can be connected in a circular way. A study on building nodes as an extension of this project would certainly be opportune.