An engineering and environmental consultancy has launched a new framework for so-called materials passports, it says will help the construction industry achieve reduced carbon emissions.
Waterman Group says its framework provides the first standardised approach, setting up a clear path for the re-use of materials in the construction industry, and boosting a circular economy in the built environment.
Materials passports set about documenting and managing materials throughout their life cycle. As Waterman explains, they are essentially digital data-sets, which create a “comprehensive database” of information. This contains the identity, specifications, and performance data for materials, products and building elements.
According to the company, materials passports could play a “pioneering” role in advancing sustainability within the construction industry.
The data they contain will – Waterman says – facilitate informed decision making on efficient material reuse, while resolving the ambiguity around specification, performance, and warranties of used materials.
Mark Terndrup, Waterman’s managing director for building services south, said: “With the launch of our materials passports framework, we aim to drive material circularity and kick-start the circular economy throughout the construction industry with a robust process any scheme can follow.
“The impacts of the climate emergency are more prevalent than ever, and extending material lifespans is fundamental to minimising the embodied and whole-life carbon impact of development schemes across every sector.”
Spearheaded by sustainability expert Anastasia Stella, with technical contributions from CIRCuIT project partners BRE, the Waterman’s framework aligns with the forthcoming Digital Product Passport (DPP) requirements under the proposed Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) in the European Union’s European Green Deal.
Materials Passports are currently being trialled at Fletcher Priest Architects-designed Edenica, a City of London sustainability-focussed construction scheme by YardNine and BauMont Real Estate.
Waterman is providing multidisciplinary support, including sustainability strategy, building services, structural engineering and environmental specialist input, all whilst working in close collaboration with the project team, including Mace Construct, to enable the circular reuse of building materials.
Employing a circular economy strategy led by Waterman, the 8,700 sqm office development is designed to minimise environmental impact during construction and in operation.
Waterman says it is working with software developer Circuland to deliver a digital platform designed to host materials passports data, which can be linked directly with BIM models, paving the way for the creation of a UK-wide building materials stock database.
The platform’s transparency in material types, recycled content, disassembled materials for reuse and an online marketplace for selling materials are all expected to enhance the resource-efficient use of materials and lead to a more sustainable future in construction.
Image credit: Asada Nami/Shutterstock
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