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Stimulating the reuse of building materials by developing a connection between non-graphical BIM data and cloud-based software towards a circular built environment



Last Updated: 10-2020


The need for stimulation of the reuse of building materials in the construction sector is growing. Since the construction sector has a major part in the total amount of waste that is generated in the Netherlands, it tries to be more sustainable over the years. But since the reuse feedback loop is defined as the highest potential over the recycle feedback loop, the construction sector needs to focus on the reuse loops to reduce its waste production. This is in line with the vision of the Dutch government to have a fully circular economy, with only using reuse processes by 2050. The implementation of the Building Information Management (BIM) process increased the collaboration and interoperability potentials within the Architecture Engineering Construction Operations & Maintenance (AECO) industry. But it is now shifting towards the usage of cloud-based software technologies. To enable the AECO industry to realize a connection with cloud-based software and with the need for the stimulation of the reuse of building materials, this research aimed to combine both problems. By realizing a connection between non-graphical information and cloud-based software and use this connection to stimulate the circular built environment to reuse its building materials. This research is concentrated on existing buildings since these will be deconstructed soon and have the highest potential for the extraction of reusable building materials.

This research proposed an online application that was developed as well as a guide (Re-Use Index – ILS; inspired by the basis-ILS) in which circular-based exchange requirements are listed. The guide can help de AECO industry to attach circular-based non-graphical information to the objects in the BIM models. The online application was developed using an MVC (Model View Controller) framework, which was fundamental in the connection between Node.js, Javascript, JSON, MongoDB, Application Programming Interface (API), and the web browser. The online application is a digital marketplace for reusable building materials, which is in line with the circular as well as the economic part of the circular economy. The online application enables project owners to upload their projects and to add the building materials as products to the webshop. The webshop customers on the other hand can buy these building materials. With the Re-Use Index – ILS guide, for increasing the circular-based non-graphical information in BIM models and the online application where the supply and demand of reusable building materials meet using cloud-based software, it is concluded that the research goal is accomplished.

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