Options to make steel reuse profitable: An analysis of cost and risk distribution across the UK construction value chain

Cyrille F. Dunant, Michał P. Drewniok, Michael Sansom, Simon Corbey, Jonathan M. Cullen, Julian M. Allwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Although steel reuse has been identified as an effective method to reduce the carbon and energy impact of construction, it is in effect only a marginal practice. A detailed analysis of the costs and risks of reuse in practice in the UK is lacking. We found that although there is a sufficient spread between the price of steel scrap and new steel, this difference cannot be captured by the demolition contractors. Rather, reused steel is somewhat more expensive than new elements, except in certain circumstances such as when the reused elements are available from a nearby site, or when testing elements can be avoided. Further, we show that neither the costs of steel reuse, nor the risks, nor its benefits are spread equitably throughout the construction industry supply chain: most of the substantial and capital-intensive changes required for the widespread adoption of steel reuse are concentrated on steelwork contractors and stockists. Based on this analysis, we suggest helping the emergence of a specialised stockist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-111
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Early online date15 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2018


  • Construction
  • Costs
  • Steel reuse
  • Value chain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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