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Systems for reuse, repurposing and upcycling of existing building components

Rose, Colin; (2019) Systems for reuse, repurposing and upcycling of existing building components. Doctoral thesis (Eng.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The construction industry uses natural resources intensively, and causes significant carbon emissions in processing resources to supply useful materials and components. Demolition generates considerable physical waste, accompanied by wastage of the impacts embodied in existing building components. This project explores the failure to capitalise on these embodied impacts, and adopts a mixed methods approach to develop interventions and identify potential mechanisms for change. The main contributions of the thesis are: Firstly, an exploration of the notion of ‘component management’. This challenges the assumption that components removed from the building stock must either be: a) directly reused, which can often be impractical, and is rarely given due attention, or b) sent to waste management, which wastes embodied impacts. Instead, the role and implementation of repurposing and upcycling are described, alongside a procedure for comprehensively checking the practicality of direct reuse; Secondly, the development of an urban-level ‘triage’: a process to separate out components for reuse, repurposing and upcycling, from those for which downcycling or energy recovery are the best option. Key to the triage is an information system; the thesis reviews current means of understanding existing buildings as material banks and presents a new approach to gathering this information; Thirdly, a proposal for an innovative manufacturing enterprise using secondary timber in a new product: cross-laminated secondary timber. This provides an exemplar case study of the potential for industrial-scale upcycling. A proof of concept study is presented, with a preliminary examination of technical feasibility and leading the way for additional investigation of socio-economic and environmental sustainability, and, ideally, future pilot- and commercial-scale implementation. The implications of this product case study are synthesised with the other parts of the thesis in a discussion of areas for future research, policy and practical action to evolve a more nuanced and sustainable management of existing building components.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Eng.D
Title: Systems for reuse, repurposing and upcycling of existing building components
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Civil, Environ and Geomatic Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10072754
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