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ETH Zürich - Prof.Dr. Catherine De Wolf

Automating reuse in the construction industry

Flanders has a number of promising circular building projects. But the industry is static and has little cross-sector communication. Numerous parties work in separate silos. As a result, it is difficult to make circular principles applicable on a large scale.

Moreover, the building sector is not quick to keep up with digital innovations. However, these can help to dismantle buildings much faster, cheaper and smarter than before. New digital methods such as BIM, parametric design, Big Data, blockchain technology, robotics, Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) have the potential to innovate the current state of the construction industry.

This research project by Prof. Dr. Catherine De Wolf aims to combine digital technologies with circular principles, so that data-driven decisions about material reuse can be automated.
With her team, she will build prototypes and apply their research to real-world examples. The project works with a platform where buildings are virtually represented using real-time data throughout their lifecycle. This data can be used to communicate with fellow stakeholders, from deconstruction workers to architects. The project team will combine the information from these new digital methods

Global implementation on a large scale of a circular model in the construction industry has not yet been successful. Prof. Dr. De Wolf and her team want to demonstrate that a fundamental shift is already possible at the local level.

ETH Zürich - Prof.Dr. Catherine De Wolf

Partners TU Delft, MIT