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One Nine Elms trial shows worth of Materials Passports

by Mark Cantrell
Multiplex trials Materials Passports at One Nine Elms

A trial of so-called Materials Passports – a database that tracks every facet of a material or component’s lifecycle – has concluded they can be integrated into complex projects.

Multiplex has completed a successful trial at One Nine Elms, the company’s largest on-site, London-based project, and the only development of this scale in the UK, includes Material Passports certification for key elements of the project.

As part of its One Decade to Act Net Zero pledge, Multiplex says it has stepped up the adoption of circular practices as a standard across its construction projects to reduce embodied carbon, which contributes to half of all building-related carbon emissions.

Maria Fernandez Cachafeiro, head of sustainability at Multiplex, said: “Material Passports represent a significant shift in the economics of construction and the wider industry mindset. Multiplex is committed to being at the forefront of progress, and even more so based on our experience at One Nine Elms.

“This project has really showcased the feasibility and benefits of Material Passports on projects of significant scale, and how the circular economy model can be applied along the entire supply chain.”

The company’s trial of Material Passports on Phase One of One Nine Elms, a major-mixed-use scheme being brought forward by R&F Properties, has focussed on the luxury hotel element of the scheme, comprising 267,000 sq ft over 19 storeys, and represents the first UK deployment within a project of this calibre.

It is also the first Material Passport pilot in Britain to expressly focus on difficult-to-manage fit out elements, which included high value bespoke stonework as well as tile, screed, insulation and bathroom fixture elements.

At One Nine Elms, Multiplex has collaborated with the circular consultancy Maconda Solutions, using Upcyclea software to gather building material information. This data was then employed to generate key metrics, which produced scores for the project’s carbon footprint, circularity, material health, and financial residual value, creating the ‘Circular Signature’.

Multiplex says the use of Material Passports has allowed it to calculate the total carbon impact of each item in the fit-out, showing the building’s overall carbon footprint, with the software providing comprehensive detail on reusing materials and their future value; essential in showcasing the financial advantages of a circular economy to potential clients.

For example, digital data from the project revealed the total volume by weight of materials passported was 1.4m tonnes and, in terms of measuring financial residual value of materials, analysis of the cladding elements at One Nine Elms showed that up to 40.8% of the initial material cost could potentially be recovered using existing reuse and recycling pathways, based on information gathered from multiple recycling providers and exchange platforms.

Throughout the Material Passports trial at One Nine Elms, Multiplex has continually assessed progress, gathering data to identify and examine any practical challenges and made these findings available to the wider industry. It has shared its findings and recommendations with the ORMS Material Passport Working Group, as well as at the UKGBC and ReLondon.

Read next: First low-CO2 concrete building 3D printed in Copenhagen

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