Construction projects using emerging bio-based materials have been realized over the past ten to fifteen years within Europe. Bio-based buildings utilize properties of natural materials to regulate internal environments, particularly fluctuations in temperature and relative humidity. Despite individual exemplar projects demonstrating functional performance and long-term operational cost savings, there hasn’t been a proliferation of commercial or domestic bio-based projects. With a growing shift towards circular economy construction, bio-based buildings could be readily adopted to meet this development. This study evaluates barriers faced by bio-based materials, making the upscaling of production and a breakthrough into mainstream construction challenging. Evaluation was achieved through senior professionals with experience in bio-based construction participating in semi-structured interviews based on core categories of finance, knowledge, and policy. Challenges include the upscaling of production by manufacturers of emerging materials, inconsistencies in life cycle assessment, material certification and accreditation, vested interests in the construction industry, and concerns regarding initial costs, availability, and knowledge of products. Potential solutions for upscaling bio-based construction are identified and include increased case studies, positive legislation, regional economic regeneration, the wellness agenda, long-term economic sustainability, and engagement with established construction companies. This insight has informed the procurement process, material evaluation, and adoption of policy.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalBuilding Research and Information
Early online date30 Apr 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Interviews took place as part of the Circular Bio-based Con-struction Industry (CBCI) project, which is funded and sup-ported by the European Union Regional Development FundInterreg 2 Seas Mers Zeeen, grant number 2S05-036.


  • Circular construction
  • bio-based materials
  • challenges
  • opportunities
  • upscaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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