Currently only 1% of building materials are reused following their first application, despite a large proportion of these materials being technically reusable, they follow lower value routes such as being recycled or worse still landfilled. The result high environmental impact and a loss of economic value for the local community, what if we could stop materials flowing down the waste hierarchy, increase local opportunities and provide a platform for reuse.
Driven by an ambition to change the current state of play the Interreg NWE project entitled FCRBE began in 2019. The project aims to increase the amount of reclaimed building materials in circulation by 50% by 2032. Focused on the northern half of France, Belgium and the UK, the project also covers, to a lesser extent, the Netherlands, Ireland, the rest of France and Luxembourg.
Thousands of reclamation dealers lay within this territory but despite the obvious environmental benefits these companies provide in saving valuable resources and the current focus on the circular economy, these businesses face significant challenges: visibility, access to large scale projects and integration in contemporary building practices.
An international partnership was set up involving SMEs, research centres, public administrations, and a university to respond to these challenges. Project partners include Buildwise, Bellastock, Brussels Environment, Embuild, Construction Confederation Belgium, CSTB, Rotor (lead partner), University of Brighton and of course Salvo.
To achieve the project's aim of a 50% increase of reuse and save the millions of tonnes of reusable demolition salvage which is currently being recycled, the project is developing forms of reuse that are economically viable and scalable. Taking a collaborative approach and effective cross-industry communication we hope to facilitate the integration of these methods and tools into practice.
The directory highlights 1,500 reclamation dealers and salvage-friendly specialists within the extended NWE area. Compiled by Salvo in the UK and Ireland for the futuREuse directory, Bellastock in France, and Rotor in Belgium and Netherlands for Opalis, the richly documented listings include regular material stocks and images. Hosted on both Salvo and Opalis, the directory was designed to help the professional construction sector’s procurers, specifiers, designers and builders source more efficiently.
Specially created procedures that support building owners, developers and designers integrate reclaimed materials in their construction and renovation projects. Designed particularly in the context of public tenders and large-scale developments, where the adoption of reuse could reap huge results and accelerate the project's goal to increase the current level of reuse by 50%.
A user-friendly guide to assessing the reuse potential of the materials and products in buildings slated for demolition, the method can be utilised by building professionals to organise the reclamation of materials adequately.
Truly Reclaimed label
The Truly Reclaimed scheme will allow customers to tell the difference between authentic reclaimed building materials and newly produced alternatives. The label will increase the visibility and representation of these products by promoting ethical dimensions of the reclamation sector, guaranteeing authenticity and improving customer confidence in reclaimed building materials.
The catalogue will promote commonly found reclaimed building materials and products within the industry. To educate and inform construction professionals about these materials and their viability in large scale projects.
37 Pilot projects
Pilots were carried out in France, Belgium, and the UK to test the methods and tools created by the FCRBE initiative. These live projects of reuse in action offered valuable feedback to fine-tune the methods developed and demonstrate the benefits of reclaiming and reusing building materials to promote these practices further.
The project has published various literature to engage readers around the subject of reclamation and reuse, including the futuREuse series, a collection of 7 booklets written as “short introductions” created to inform and inspire more circular practices within design. Topics range from building regulations to tracing the emergence of the reclamation trade and the trend for reclaimed materials.
Summer School of Re-Construction
The summer school, hosted by The University of Brighton’s School of Architecture & Design, engaged students across the fields of design, architecture, construction and engineering to explore methods to map, reconsider, and reuse materials from construction sites.