Are we ready for circular economy? Towards zero waste in construction

  • Siew R
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Over the past decade, the concept of circular economy (CE) has emerged encouraging a rethinking of the way products are designed so that they can be “made to be made again”, turning the conveyor belt of consumerism into a circle (a closed-loop supply chain) and hence eliminate waste. The construction sector, especially, is known to be one of the main contributors of material waste-to-landfill. This paper investigates (i) the causes of construction waste and (ii) the readiness of the construction sector in Malaysia to embrace CE. Based on the relative importance index (RII), the five main causes of construction waste in Malaysia identified include frequent design changes (RII = 0.853) by owner or agent during construction followed by poor site management and supervision (RII = 0.835), changes in material specification and type (RII = 0.803), rework (RII = 0.719) and lack of coordination between parties (RII = 0.680). Survey findings also show that a majority (75%) of stakeholders within the Malaysian construction industry is unfamiliar with the concept of CE while 90% of the respondents claim that they are not ready to implement such practices within the next 5 years. It is anticipated that the findings from this paper will be of interest to construction practitioners.




Siew, R. (2019). Are we ready for circular economy? Towards zero waste in construction. Sustainable Buildings, 4, 2.

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