File(s) under permanent embargo

Reason: Pending a request to the author

Drivers and barriers towards circular economy in the building sector: Stakeholder interviews and analysis of five European countries policies and practices

journal contribution
posted on 14.01.2022, 10:05 by Serena Giorgi, Monica Lavagna, Ke Wang, Mohamed OsmaniMohamed Osmani, Gang Liu, Andrea Campioli
Circular economy has become central in the European policy arena, and the Member States have promoted a number of initiatives and programs to shift from their traditional linear economy towards a circular economy. This is particularly relevant for the construction sector, which is the highest producer of waste and one of the main causes of resources consumption. The paper objective is to analyse the present level of application of circularity strategies, identifying the related barriers and drivers, through interviews with building stakeholders across five European countries, Belgium (Flanders), Netherlands, United Kingdom, Denmark, and Italy. The analysis focuses on the building level and assesses the level of application in current policies and practices of circular strategies in three key field: resource and waste management, design for reversible building, and business for the networking of operators in the construction value chain. The results highlight the different and fragmented circular strategies currently applied in the analysed countries analysed, highlighting the need for more effective and coordinated actions and policies promoted by European Commission. In particular, the current legislative framework promotes the waste management strategies, focusing more on recycling practices than on reuse or resource management. The design strategies for reversible building are generally in private initiatives, driven by market competitions, rather than by public incentives. The application of circular business models and the creation of circular networks among the operators of the value chain is still lacking. Furthermore, the use of life-cycle tools to assess the environmental effectiveness (sustainability) of circular strategies is rarely applied. The recommendations that emerged from the comparison of the current applications of circular economy strategies across the countries analysed and demanded by key players in the construction sector interviewed, include the need for greater international coordination in terms of policy, practices and enabling tools (digital data, platforms, traceability). Improvements in both the legislative framework and practices are needed. Future development of research regards, in particular, the fields of digital supporting tools and environmental assessment (LCA), circular relationships and business models and the definition/training of new expertise related to enabling aspects



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Published in

Journal of Cleaner Production




Elsevier BV


VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© Elsevier

Publisher statement

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Journal of Cleaner Production and the definitive published version is available at

Acceptance date


Publication date


Copyright date







Prof Mohamed Osmani . Deposit date: 13 January 2022

Article number