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Circularity in the built environment: an impossible dream?

The integration of a circular economy and materials resource efficiency on building and infrastructure projects is critical to construction industry’s aim to tackle over-reliance on, excessive disposal of, and unsustainable use of resources. While there is growing awareness of the concepts among clients, designers, contractors and supply chains, a key challenge remains in adoption.

At CIRIA’s fourth annual debate held on 23 May 2019, a multi-talented and varied panel of industry figures discussed how the construction industry needs to change embedded practices to embrace new approaches to sustainability.

 The CIRIA debate was sponsored by Grosvenor and hosted and chaired by AECOM. Panellists included:

  • Robert Spencer, Director, Sustainable Development, AECOM (Chair)
  • Dr Jacquetta Lee Reader in Sustainable Systems Analysis, Director – Practitioner Doctorate in Sustainability Programme, Centre for Environment and
    Sustainability, University of Surrey
  • Nitesh Magdani, Group Director Sustainability, Royal BAM Group nv
  • Emily Hamilton, Senior Sustainability Manager, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland
  • Dan Epstein, Consultant Director of Sustainability, Useful Projects.

Early in the discussion debate attendees were asked to look at a view from AECOM’s Aldgate offices from the 16th floor and asked “Is much really changing in how buildings are constructed?” While there have been many discussion about circular thinking, across the construction industry there are still relatively few examples where circular economy principles, along with the required level of collaboration, joint ownership and shared values across the project team have been embedded from the start of the project. This is what continues to make the London Olympic venues such a rare success.

Read the full event report write up from the pdf download below.