Home Ideas The Circular Economy: another tsunami of information need

The Circular Economy
another tsunami of information need

The construction world is facing several tidal waves of information need. The Building Safety Act calling for a Golden Thread, the Construction Playbook requiring the use of digital Information Management and the Value Toolkit seeking data on Natural, Social, Human and Manufactured value for public projects have been joined by the Circular Economy requirements in the London Plan.

The construction world is facing several tidal waves of information need to meet emerging standards of good practice. The Building Safety Act calls for a Golden Thread of as-built information to support safe occupation and maintenance of many building types. The Construction Playbook requires the use of digital Information Management as part of its rules. The Value Toolkit seeks data on four kinds of value, Natural, Social, Human and Manufactured (Economic) to be created and managed on public projects. Biodiversity Net Gain has its data needs. Now we have Circular Economy requirements in the London Plan, aiming to foster the re-use of material from deconstructed buildings as well as new building design for ultimate recycling.

The London Plan sees circularity as one route to Net Zero Carbon. Construction material and product making embodies 10% of UK carbon emissions whilst causing 40% of mineral extraction and a similar amount of waste. Re-use and recycling of materials from end-of-life structures cuts down all three. The stock of buildings thus represents an ‘urban mine’ of material for re-use. New buildings and new elements added to remodelled buildings need all to be designed for eventual re-use of those elements.

How will this requirement add to the information needing to be attached to models? For strategic projects in London the GLA will ask for a Circular Economy Statement. This needs to show how the proposed building will be designed in lifecycle layers, so that elements with shorter lives, like the fitout and services, can be demounted easily from the longer life elements. A bill of materials will be expected, to show the stock being created, together with that part being achieved through re-use from this and other project deconstructions. A minimum of 20% of project cost should be from re-used material. The end-of-life strategy needs to be laid out for all the lifecycle layers.

So, data will need to be attached to model objects to answer these needs. Environmental Product Declarations will be needed for new elements, together with audited analysis of retained and re-used elements. Material quantities and specifications, together with their cradle-to-gate embodied carbon costs and credits, will need to be available for inspection. Tracking of carbon data through the design and construction stages will be essential to avoid performance falling as substitutions are suggested to the initial specification.

Rigorous information management will be an ally to the team, enabling data to be added, found again easily and analysed to demonstrate compliance and performance. Deploi can help clients and their designers to tame the tsunami. Send for our free guide ‘Taming the Tsunami’ and talk to us about your projects and portfolios.

Richard Saxon 06.09.23