The international research project MOBICCON-PRO was presented at the most representative exhibition for the building industry in Bulgaria “Sofia Architecture Week”. The EU funded project was introduced to wider public by Prof. Dr. Eng. Rumyana Zaharieva, Head of the Department of “Construction Materials and Insulations” at the Faculty of Construction of the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy, Dr. Stefania Butera from the Danish Institute of Technology, David Monique from the Belgian IDEA Consult, and Plamena Nenkova, Deputy Executive “Director Strategies, Communications & International Affairs” at Glavbolgarstroy Holding.
Europe is currently moving towards the so-called selective demolition of old buildings and the aim is to gradually make it mandatory so that the old materials from these demolitions can be put back into use. According to Dr. Stefania Butera from the Danish Institute of Technology even in Denmark selective demolition is still not mandatory.
Dr. Butera said that since 1996 a voluntary agreement between construction companies has been in place in her country, which determines exactly what from the old buildings that are being demolished will be used – bricks, roof elements, etc. A special preliminary audit is carried out before the demolition to determine in advance the material that could be reused.
Recently, digitization has entered this process – old buildings are scanned, 3D images are made, and data on materials and their quantity are entered into databases. The disadvantage, according to Dr. Butera, is that this is a voluntary agreement and therefore the Danish government has decided from 2024 to introduce an obligation to recover the materials from all demolished old buildings if they are over 50 square meters. There are specific obligations for the building owner to draw up a detailed demolition plan, for the project to have an environmental and resource coordinator, etc.
“650 thousand tons of construction waste is generated annually in Brussels, which is approximately the size of Sofia”, reported David Monique from the Belgian IDEA Consult. In Belgium, however, the recovery of materials during the selective demolition of old buildings is also not mandatory for the time being. Monique shares the opinion that the regulatory framework should settle this issue on European level and through economic incentives. If, for example, recycled building materials are 20-30% cheaper, this could be a strong economic incentive for the introduction of the circular economy in construction.
According to Plamena Nenkova, Deputy Executive “Director Strategies, Communications & International Affairs” at Glavbolgarstroy Holding, only about ten percent of unused construction waste will remain after the mobile pilot plant, which is being developed under the European project MOBICCON-PRO, is operational.
The project started at the end of last year and will continue until 2027, but according to Nenkova, the installation is expected to be completed and operational within two years. The idea is that, when the project is finished, there will be not only a ready-made mobile installation, but also a built-up territorial cluster that will unite companies, representatives of academic circles, NGOs, associations and local authorities concerned with environmental protection.