Circular economy construction Ellis Fox Blog

Can construction learn to bend?

As the world rethinks business strategies, many are hinting that the only sustainable way of rebuilding the economy is if industry starts to embrace the circular economy. Most senior professionals are aware of the concept of the circular economy, reducing reliance on new resources and reducing waste. Yet the primary adoption of circular strategies remain limited to recycling waste. Is there a better approach?

Better design

The implementation of circular economy strategies is where things start to fall apart. What may start off as a seemingly simple strategy can get tied up in complexity, especially when trying to change existing systems. This is where the pandemic may have a silver lining. With many companies having to reset and carefully look at all the aspects on their operations including their supply chains, it is the ideal opportunity to redesign from the ground up with circular strategies in mind.

The simple truth is that better design is a far more effective approach than trying to change things retrospectively. Considering how the government plans to stimulate the economy through infrastructure development and construction, circular strategies have a key role to play.

Better use of resources results in less waste, reducing costs and improving project efficiency. And considering how tight the purse strings are at present this should be a primary focus of project design. Being able to outline in clear terms a more sustainable and efficient way of operating could be the deciding factor in winning tender opportunities.

Encouraging smarter thinking

It’s not going to be easy to achieve though. It may require rethinking traditional approaches and allowing for more innovative thinking. Not just in terms of the supply chain but also in terms of operations.

Another key element is enabling key personnel with a detailed understanding of what a circular economy involves, that it goes far beyond recycling or using renewable resources. That every element of construction has a part to play. Having an understanding of circular thinking will create opportunities for people directly involved in operations to identify opportunities for efficiencies for a more sustainable future.

Taking into consideration machinery and technology in use, processes and opportunities for collaboration. Looking at every available resource critically and asking the question: Is there a better way to use this? Every decisive step towards creating a circular strategy can help the company move closer to making a stronger economic recovery.