The CSTB is bolstering the circular economy in the construction sector throughout Europe

50% more reclaimed building elements in use in Northwestern Europe by 2032. Quite a challenge given that only 1% of building elements are currently reused after their initial use. The reuse of materials is the focus of the European project FCRBE (Facilitating the Circulation of Reclaimed Building Elements in Northwestern Europe), which is part of the Interreg North-West Europe Program. The CSTB is a partner along with seven other European contributors to guide the transition of the construction industry in the circular economy.


The low reuse of building elements directly impacts the environmental performance of projects and their economic value. To advance even further in optimizing resources and buildings, the Interreg North-West Europe Program is launching a project partnership to increase the proportion of reclaimed building elements by 50% by 2032. The project is called FCRBE (Facilitating the Circulation of Reclaimed Building Elements in Northwestern Europe).


The FCRBE project is an international collaboration between specialized organizations, trade associations, research centers, a school of architecture and public administrations. The CSTB is one of eight major partners. It is responsible for statistical analysis of reuse in the flow of construction materials in France, Benelux and the United Kingdom and contributes to the auditing of reusable elements.

Project partners: Salvo Ltd. (UK), Construction Confederation (Belgium), Belgian Building Research Institute (Belgium), Scientific and Technical Center for Building (France), Brussels Environment (Belgium), University of Brighton (UK), Bellastock (France).

The project receives about 50% of its funding from the European Union, for a total budget of €4.33 million over four years (2018–2022).


The FCRBE project seeks to:

  • Create an online directory with over 1500 operators specializing in reuse.
  • Devise a method to identify reusable elements before demolition.
  • Offer four specification methods.

These tools will be tested and promoted through 36 pilot operations in large construction and demolition projects. This will result in the reuse of more than 360 metric tons of elements by 2022.

Communication efforts to reach stakeholders in the construction sector, including public authorities, will facilitate the inclusion of the outcomes in standard practices and public policy.

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