Real and perceived barriers to steel reuse across the UK construction value chain

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (SciVal)


Although steel reuse has been identified as an effective method to reduce the carbon and energy impact of construction, its occurrence is shrinking in the UK. This can be partly explained by the many barriers which have been identified in the literature, but a detailed analysis of how these barriers affect different parts of the supply chain is still lacking. We show that there is a contrast between perceived higher costs and time required to employ reused steel and the assessments of realised projects. Using a novel ranking method inspired from the field of information retrieval (tf-idf), we have analysed interviews of actors across the supply chain to determine the acuteness of the perception of each barrier. We show that demolition contractors, stockists, and fabricators face specific barriers which each need to be addressed at their level. This is in contrast with more generic barriers present throughout the value chain which we show are probably more perception than reality. Finally, we suggest how supply chain integration could facilitate reuse and make it economically viable at scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-131
Number of pages14
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Early online date4 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Innovate UK, project ?Supply Chain Integration for structural steel reuse?, ref. 132106 EPSRC Material demand reduction: NMZL/112, RG82144, EPSRC reference: EP/N02351X/1. We would like to thank all interviewees, who assisted in our work and also all respondents who found time to fill our on-line survey. This work was made in cooperation with Howard Button from the National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NFDC), all contributions for which we are thankful.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Barriers
  • Reuse
  • Steel
  • Supply chain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Economics and Econometrics


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