Build for Adaptability and Reuse

Groups: 
  • Design Projects
Category: 
  • Materials

Basic

Requirements and Criteria Type: 
  • Technical Specification (Requirement Specifications)

Main Objective: 

Motive  

The construction sector accounts for a significant proportion of Norway's consumption of resources and climate footprint. Large quantities of building waste are also produced by construction activities, which require a lot of resources to deal with. 

Argument 

One of the most effective means of reducing the construction sector's climate footprint is to reduce the production of new construction materials, another is to build buildings with longer service lives that can fulfil different functions in the future. It should also be simple to reuse construction materials when they are replaced or a building is rehabilitated or demolished. Reuse offers great potential with respect to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from construction materials and a circular construction industry is an important part of a circular economy. Adaptable buildings and the reuse of construction materials reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the production of new materials and the amount of waste. 

Requirement Specification: 

Contractors must explain how an adaptable building can be facilitated and the materials reused after the end of the service life of the building and materials. Relevant measures must be implemented in the design project. As a minimum, the following elements must be included in such a study, ref. table: 

a) Adaptable building 

b) Correct lifetime of components 

c) Flexible joints 

d) Marking of materials and components for reuse 

e) Sources of hazardous chemicals that restrict future reuse 

The study must be prepared in the preliminary project and fleshed out in the detailed design project. Possible measures and how these can be carried out and implemented in the building must be specified for every issue in Table 4.30.1 that requires explanation. Relevant measures must be implemented in the design project. If proposed measures have a major impact on costs or progress, this must be described in the study. 

Table 4.30.1: the points that must be included in the study and what they entail.  
Issue that must be explained Description of issue Reasons 
a. Adaptable building  

Achieve a high degree of generality by creating flexible room solutions and using modular design and standard dimensions for components and building elements. 

Design low complexity components and plan for the use of normal tools.  

Flexible use reduces the probability of the unnecessarily early demolition of the building.  

Increases the chances of the reuse of the entire building due to architectonic flexibility. 

Promotes self-assembly and local reuse, which in turn reduces transport needs. 

b. Correct lifetime of components 

Design building elements and components with the correct lifetime and durability suitable for their function and expected service life. Use durable materials that can be reused after their service life in the building.  

Design components and building elements with suitable tolerances for repeated disassembly and reassembly.

Increases the quantity of reusable elements. 

Simplifies disassembly and reassembly. 

Increases the chances of correct maintenance and reuse. 

Reduces unnecessary demolition and replacement. 

c. Flexible joints

Use reversible joints between components and building elements.   

Examples: 

  • Use push-in strips instead of expanding foam insulation to seal between windows and walls  

  • Join components together mechanically (screws and bolts) rather than chemically (welding and adhesives) 

  • Brickwork: use weak, cement-based mortars rather than strong cement-based mortars 

Simplifies disassembly and the reuse of materials after demolition of the whole building or parts thereof. 
d. Marking of materials and components for reuse

Mark materials and component types and coordinate this with information about the building system. 

Mark fastening points and ensure that these are visible and accessible. 

Simplifies planning of the demolition process and eases disassembly and source separation.  
e. Sources of hazardous chemicals that restrict future reuseAssess and minimise the use of construction materials that may contain hazardous chemicals, even if the quantities are within permitted threshold values. Some types of chemical that are within current threshold values may mean that the construction materials cannot be reused after future demolition/rehabilitation.  Choose products with official type 1 environmental labelling. Reduces the probability of the materials being classified as hazardous waste in the future. Threshold values are constantly changing and it is difficult to predict what will apply when the building is demolished.  

Advanced

Requirements and Criteria Type: 
  • Technical Specification (Requirement Specifications)

Main Objective: 

Motive  

The construction sector accounts for a significant proportion of Norway's consumption of resources and climate footprint. Large quantities of building waste are also produced by construction activities, which require a lot of resources to deal with. 

Argument 

One of the most effective means of reducing the construction sector's climate footprint is to reduce the production of new construction materials, another is to build buildings with longer service lives that can fulfil different functions in the future. It should also be simple to reuse construction materials when they are replaced or a building is rehabilitated or demolished. Reuse offers great potential with respect to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from construction materials and a circular construction industry is an important part of a circular economy. Adaptable buildings and the reuse of construction materials reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the production of new materials and the amount of waste. 

Requirement Specification: 

Contractors must explain how an adaptable building can be facilitated and the materials reused after the end of the service life of the building and materials. Relevant measures must be implemented in the design project. As a minimum, the following elements must be included in such a study, ref. table: 

a) Adaptable building 

b) Correct lifetime of components 

c) Flexible joints 

d) Marking of materials and components for reuse 

e) Sources of hazardous chemicals that restrict future reuse 

f) Homogeneous materials 

g) Sensible layering 

The study must be prepared in the preliminary project and fleshed out in the detailed design project. Possible measures and how these can be carried out and implemented in the building must be specified for every issue in Table 4.30.1 that requires explanation. Relevant measures must be implemented in the design project. If proposed measures have a major impact on costs or progress, this must be described in the study. 

Table 4.30.1: the points that must be included in the study and what they entail.  
Issue that must be explained Description of issue Reasons 
a. Adaptable building  

Achieve a high degree of generality by creating flexible room solutions and using modular design and standard dimensions for components and building elements. 

Design low complexity components and plan for the use of normal tools.  

Flexible use reduces the probability of the unnecessarily early demolition of the building.  

Increases the chances of the reuse of the entire building due to architectonic flexibility. 

Promotes self-assembly and local reuse, which in turn reduces transport needs. 

b. Correct lifetime of components 

Design building elements and components with the correct lifetime and durability suitable for their function and expected service life. Use durable materials that can be reused after their service life in the building.  

Design components and building elements with suitable tolerances for repeated disassembly and reassembly.

Increases the quantity of reusable elements. 

Simplifies disassembly and reassembly. 

Increases the chances of correct maintenance and reuse. 

Reduces unnecessary demolition and replacement. 

c. Flexible joints

Use reversible joints between components and building elements.   

Examples: 

  • Use push-in strips instead of expanding foam insulation to seal between windows and walls  

  • Join components together mechanically (screws and bolts) rather than chemically (welding and adhesives) 

  • Brickwork: use weak, cement-based mortars rather than strong cement-based mortars 

Simplifies disassembly and the reuse of materials after demolition of the whole building or parts thereof. 
d. Marking of materials and components for reuse

Mark materials and component types and coordinate this with information about the building system. 

Mark fastening points and ensure that these are visible and accessible. 

Simplifies planning of the demolition process and eases disassembly and source separation.  
e. Sources of hazardous chemicals that restrict future reuseAssess and minimise the use of construction materials that may contain hazardous chemicals, even if the quantities are within permitted threshold values. Some types of chemical that are within current threshold values may mean that the construction materials cannot be reused after future demolition/rehabilitation.  Choose products with official type 1 environmental labelling. Reduces the probability of the materials being classified as hazardous waste in the future. Threshold values are constantly changing and it is difficult to predict what will apply when the building is demolished.  
f. Homogeneous materials 

Minimise the number of different materials, components and connection means. Design material components in which all component parts consist of the same material.  

Avoid surface treatments where these are not required to reduce wear or decay of the materials. 

Simplifies disassembly and source separation. 

Enables quality control. 

Increases attractiveness for reuse and reduces pollution and recovery 

g. Sensible layering Design the constructive layers as independent systems and organise layers in relation to the expected lifetime of the components. 

Simplifies disassembly.  

Reduces damage to materials, especially when only individual component is going to be replaced. 

Related links: 

Supporting documents/references

"Prosjektering for ombruk og gjenvinning", SivilarkBente Nuth Leland 2008:16 

The most environmentally-friendly waste measure that can be implemented in the longer term is to prevent waste occurring. If you can utilise a resource multiple times during its lifetime, you have reduced waste to a minimum. This will be especially important where stock resources and energy intensive resources are consumed. 

This guide deals with the facilitation of future reuse and recovery in the planning and design process, and to a lesser degree the cost and environmental aspects of raw materials production, material production and transport. 

Collection of case studies, Circularity in the built environment: Case studies, a compilation of case studies from the CE100:

The case studies provide examples of the circular economy in projects and how experiences from earlier projects can be used subsequently.  

Published: 07. Feb 2018, Last modified: 31. May 2019