CIRCULAR ECONOMY AND COST MANAGEMENT IN CIVIL ENGINEERING

Abstract

The building industry has a substantial influence on the environment. Construction and maintenance of buildings and non-building structures need natural resources and technological nutrients. The limitation of their use in building projects is one of the most significant obstacles. In light of a scant understanding of the most successful leadership patterns for sustainable building projects, one may ask whether construction businesses constitute a single dominating management style. In turn, the difficulties experienced by these businesses might be connected to how to successfully apply the circular economy (CE) idea and so decrease the negative externalities of the construction sector. Transformation to the sustainable building requires the participation of change agents. On the basis of literature analysis and questionnaire, it was discovered in this paper that it is very difficult to identify a dominant leadership style in construction organizations. In addition, a road to CE maturity has been shown as an ongoing goal. The uniformity helps the building business to promote the notion of CE effectively. The study enabled the identification of three distinct stages in becoming a CE-matured construction company: discord, exhilaration, and harmony.

Introduction

Numerous municipal, regional, and worldwide regulations presently prioritize the collection of building and demolition debris (López Ruiz, Roca Ramón, and Gassó Domingo, 2019). Although many problems related to energy efficiency are being extensively researched in the construction industry, approaches for resolving the pollution problem are still in their infancy (Leising, Quist and Bocken, 2018). The circular economy is getting growing awareness, particularly among legislative decision-makers in the European Union (CE). Its application in many industries is a clear benefit. The adoption of BIM in the building sector consists primarily of a new design philosophy in which diverse disciplines are merged in advance to determine their applicability and constructability. A system theory’s approach is predicated on the basic premise of organization. In a systems-based approach, the organization is seen as a full, purposeful system comprised of interconnected elements, rather than as a collection of distinct pieces to be dealt with individually. Similarly, building organizations have a number of subsidiary processes in addition to their primary ones (managerial or supporting). Figure 1 depicts a model of the CE-oriented construction business system.

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National Policy

The UK Government has issued a number of policy and strategy papers associated with establishing a more circular economy, with the 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy being the most important. The 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy (RWS) outlines the current Government perspective on waste management in England, including how the UK must reduce waste and manage it more efficiently by maximising chances to produce value from material prevented from entering waste streams and material retrieved from waste streams. RWS gives a helpful example of the circular economy, which is shown on the following page:

circular-economy-2

The RWS identifies the waste hierarchy as a crucial concept to be implemented when promoting circular economy principles as a natural consequence of the government’s goal to manage trash more effectively via a circular economy. The waste hierarchy offers a framework for dealing with trash effectively and demands that as many resources as possible be recovered and reused, emphasising the need of avoiding waste from developing in the first place. Implementing the waste hierarchy is necessary for more effective resource management and the establishment of a circular economy. RWS provides the following depiction of the nation’s progress toward waste management in line with the waste hierarchy. The RWS recognises the construction industry as a critical area where resource efficiency must be enhanced in order to maximise resource productivity and achieve waste production and management objectives. RWS believes that the construction industry is on the verge of a major transformation due to the increased use of novel building materials and methods. The application of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for specific building materials is seen as a means of optimising resource use.

National Planning Policy Framework

While the most recent edition of the NPPF (2021) does not mention the transition to a circular economy directly, it does indicate that “planning policies and actions must also incorporate applicable international commitments and legislative requirements”. This confirms that planning policy and choices should be matched with law and policy, such as the Resources and Waste Strategy, leaving flexibility for future or additional policy, strategy, and requirements to be incorporated in plan formulation and decision making. Moreover, the NPPF’s primary purpose is sustainable development. The Framework defines this as“filling the requirements of the present without jeopardising future generations’ capacity to satisfy their own needs”. Even if this is a broad statement, it is consistent with circular economy ideas.

The environmental aim of the NPPF asks for “using natural resources judiciously, minimising waste and pollution, and mitigating and adapting to climate change, including transitioning to a low carbon economy”, all of which may be accomplished by transitioning to a circular economy. The other two NPPF goals (economic and social) are interrelated and must thus also be addressed. Circular methods to development are congruent with the economic goal of constructing a “strong, responsive, and competitive economy… to sustain growth, innovation, and enhanced productivity.” The social purpose is largely focused on housing, but it also asks for a “well-designed and safe built environment,” which circular economy activities would also assist to achieve. The NPPF expects planning policy and application decisions to support the transition to a low carbon future, noting that the planning system should help “shape places in ways that contribute to radical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, minimise vulnerability and improve resilience; encourage the reuse of existing resources, including the conversion of existing buildings; and support renewable and low carbon energy and associated infrastructure”. This clearly supports circular methods to development by encouraging reuse.

Circular Economy and Global Warming

While the major objective of the circular economy is to bring environmental advantages, increase resource supply security, and stimulate the economy, it also plays a significant role in minimising the effects of climate change. This is acknowledged in the government’s Net Zero Strategy(Bonome and Filho, 2016), which contains a section on the sustainable use of resources and states, “Net zero will imply maximising the value of resources in a more efficient circular economy.”Adoption of a circular economy means detaching development from the prevalent culture of wasteful consumption in the United Kingdom by incorporating sustainable metrics into policy. By embracing a circular economy and minimising wasteful activities, GHG emissions may be drastically decreased, therefore protecting Kent’s residents from the most severe effects of climate change.

COST MANAGEMENT IN CIVIL ENGINEERING

As these sectors account for 55 percent of GHG emissions (de Freitas et al., 2018), current climate policies often include an emphasis on transitioning to the decarbonization of energy supply and transport and pushing for higher energy efficiency. However, decarbonizing these industries alone will not be sufficient for the United Kingdom to satisfy its legal requirement and 2050 goal of reaching net-zero emissions. The other 45 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from the production of items such as automobiles, clothing, and food (industrial, agricultural, and land use activities), and these sectors must also decarbonize in order to meet the government’s net-zero emissions goal. Two-thirds of these industries’ GHG emissions might be decreased by 2050 via technical innovation and a change in consumer behavior, according to projections. Increasing the pace at which assets are used and recycling the resources used to create them would lower the emissions caused by their creation. Nonetheless, the remaining one-third (10 billion tonnes of global GHG emissions) must also be decreased considerably if global net-zero emissions are to be realized.
Together, building and construction are responsible for 39% of global carbon emissions, while operating emissions (from energy required to heat, cool, and light buildings) account for 28% (Kent County Council, 2021). The remaining 11 percent comes from embodied carbon emissions, or ‘upfront’ carbon linked with materials and construction procedures during the building’s entire lifecycle. 11 % of urban GHG emissions come from the refurbishment and construction of buildings using materials such as aluminium, steel, and concrete, of which 15 % is wasted during construction and disposed of in landfills when structures are demolished.Each year in Kent, around 3 million tonnes of construction, demolition, and excavation debris are generated18.Reducing this waste in line with circular economy principles decreases the demand for basic raw materials (including minerals), which in turn reduces the GHG emissions related with their extraction and manufacturing of aluminium, steel, and concrete.

Renovating existing structures, as opposed to constructing new ones, is an important strategy for reducing carbon emissions. Forty percent of residential buildings in Europe were constructed before to the 1960s, and the majority of these structures lack energy-saving and usage technologies. However, rather than destroy and replace historic buildings with new structures that feature energy efficiency and waste reduction measures, renovation may integrate these elements while ensuring that demolition debris is not landfilled. Therefore, the construction sector’s GHG emissions may be reduced by moving to a circular economy via more refurbishment of current projects rather than the construction of new structures.

REALISING VALUE

The Business Opportunity

London will reap substantial advantages from implementing a circular economy strategy in the built environment sector. LWARB believes that the adoption of circular economy principles might contribute between £3 billion and £5 billion to London’s development by 2036 and produce up to 12,000 new employment (Mayor of London, n.d.). Material optimisation and waste minimisation will help developers by increasing the productive use of resources and decreasing material and disposal expenses. By recycling excavation and demolition trash on-site and minimising construction waste, developers like Clarion may save millions of pounds by decreasing construction waste andreusing excavation and demolition waste. Innovation in material optimisation, designing lighter structures, and reducing embodied carbon; reusing and recycling demolition and excavation materials; designing out waste through both design and construction; ensuring that buildings are adaptable; and collaborating with suppliers to lease and replace rather than sell products and systems will generate both short- and long-term value. Reducing the amount of fresh materials brought into the city and the amount of garbage discharged to the outlying boroughs would help London. It will assist London in becoming less dependent on imported materials and exported garbage. https://ellenmacarthurfoundation

Smart technology, improved waste reprocessing, storage, and logistical infrastructure will promote more efficient material use and reuse.Utilizing resources more efficiently and minimising waste would aid in reducing vehicle traffic, congestion, related air andnoise pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and the health effects of pollution, which have a disproportionately negative impact on low-income neighborhoods. It will also liberate and maximise the use of land designated for trash management. LWARB’s Circular Economy Route Maps illustrate how the circular economy affords firms the chance to become market leaders. The transition to a circular built environment will need time and the active participation of the whole built environment industry.

COST MANAGEMENT IN CIVIL ENGINEERING

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