Reuse of Steel in the Construction Industry: Challenges and Opportunities

Alper Kanyilmaz, Mussie Birhane, Roy Fishwick & Carlos del Castillo

The construction industry plays a critical role in tackling the challenges of climate change, carbon emissions, and resource consumption. To achieve a low-emission built environment, urgent action is required to reduce the carbon emissions associated with steel production and construction processes. Reusing structural steel elements could make a significant impact in this direction, but there are five key challenges to overcome: limited material availability, maximizing different reusable materials from demolition, lack of adequate design rules and standards, high upfront costs and overlooked carbon impact of the demolition prior to construction, and the need to engage and coordinate the complete construction ecosystem. This article described these barriers and proposed solutions to them by leveraging the digital technologies and artificial intelligence. The proposed solutions aim to promote reuse practices, facilitate the development of certification and regulation for reuse, and minimize the environmental impact of steel construction. The solutions explored here can also be extended to other construction materials.

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