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Developing a framework to integrate circularity in construction projects Creating a framework for project managers to integrate circularity in the initiation and definition phase of construction projects



Last Updated: 6-2021


This study provides a first approach to integrate circularity in the early stages of a construction project
by the project manager. The circular ambition of the Dutch government stimulates a different
approach in project management compared to traditional projects. To manage circular projects,
project managers need to have knowledge about how to integrate circularity in the initiation and
definition phase of a construction project. This research tries to design a solution by creating a
framework for the project managers to integrate circularity in the initial phases of construction
projects. The solution is designed by using the Design Science Research (DSR), which divided the
research in three steps: (1) investigate the problem by literature, interviews and case study analysis,
(2) design solutions by a Fuzzy Delphi method, interviews and design propositions and (3) validate the
design by expert interviews.
The study identified the differences between circular construction and a circular building, important
circular models and the differences in project management in terms of working method, management
aspects and the role of the project manager. In addition, project managers have limited knowledge of
the circular concept, are open to innovate, but need some tools to support them in adopting new
working methods. The Fuzzy Delphi Method assessed success factors, which resulted in 27 factors that
should be included in the initiation and definition phase when adopting circularity.
A framework has been designed with the help of design propositions and this has resulted in two
pages of A3 format. To approach a circular project successfully, knowledge of circular economy in the
construction sector is needed, circularity has to be integrated in the project preparation and circularity
has to be integrated in project management. Furthermore, the framework incorporates extra
background information and the 27 identified success factors in the format of a checklist. The
framework reflects the identified circular approach, could be used interactively by both client and
project manager, is validated by expert opinions as effective, is ready to be implemented and is
described as useful for the current challenges, demands and questions of the market.

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