This paper formulates a concise, free-to-use Circular Construction Evaluation Framework (CCEF) based upon international design code guidelines to assess and quantify the circularity credentials of an existing or proposed construction project. Central to the principles of circular construction is designing for disassembly and adaptability - the ability of a building's elements and connecting components to be disassembled and reused, or rearranged, after the initial design life. Analysis of modern methods of construction and the compatibility of systems with the concepts of designing for disassembly and material reuse inform the development of the CCEF. Circular construction is facilitated by simplicity, standardisation and modularity in design, sustainably-sourced materials, transparent and accessible mechanical connections and the adoption of a manufacturing-style approach towards durable and reusable standardised components and materials. The CCEF allows users such as clients, consultants, contractors, local and national planning and infrastructure policy professionals to evaluate both whole building and elemental levels at the early design and planning stages in a new-build, refurbishment or renovation project. Implementation of a scoring system is demonstrated by the evaluation of example buildings with varying usage of conventional and bio-based materials. It is shown by use of the framework that a simple standardised construction using reversible connections and previously used material elements rates highly, demonstrating a greater extent of circularity in the construction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number128122
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Early online date29 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Circular Bio-based Construction Industry (CBCI) is an Interreg 2 Seas 2014-2020 project. Interreg 2 Seas is a European Territorial Cooperation programme. The authors of this paper and the partners within the CBCI project gratefully acknowledge the funding from the Interreg 2 Seas programme 2014-2020 co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under subsidy contract No 2S05-036.


  • Adaptability
  • Circular economy
  • Disassembly
  • Evaluation framework
  • Material reuse
  • Modern construction systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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