Transitioning from a Linear to a Circular Construction Supply Chain

Emmanuel Manu*, Nii Ankrah, Jamila Bentrar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter


Circular economy (CE), unlike the linear (take-make-dispose) economy, is an economic paradigm which envisions that materials and products are kept at their highest quality and value as useful resources. To achieve a circular economy in the construction industry, supply chain firms that operate in the sector will have to adopt circular business models to generate value throughout the life cycle of built assets. In this study, the experiences of construction supply chain firms are explored to understand the critical factors that can enable circular economy transition in the supply chain. A qualitative research strategy was adopted, and data was collected using exploratory semi-structured interviews with 14 participants spanning 12 stakeholder organisations in the UK and France, respectively. Thematic analysis of the transcripts revealed nine critical success factors for circular economy transition: (1) maturity of markets for circular products; (2) flexible business models that allow for innovation; (3) change in mindset and communication strategy; (4) minimising costs of secondary production; (5) collaboration amongst industry stakeholders; (6) flexible regulations and standards that embrace innovation; (7) industry leadership; (8) design for deconstruction; and (9) availability of resources in commercial quantities. Particularly, strong collaboration across industry stakeholders (e.g. deconstruction specialists, trade federations, client organisations, designers and regulators) and the need to minimise secondary production costs are critical for driving circular economy in the construction supply chain. These findings imply that economic incentives that minimise secondary production costs (e.g. tax breaks and subsidies for circular adoption and higher taxes for virgin resources) can be used to encourage construction supply chain firms to transition towards circular economy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClimate Emergency – Managing, Building, and Delivering the Sustainable Development Goals
EditorsC. Gorse, L. Scott, C. Booth, M. Dastbaz
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-79450-7
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-79449-1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2021


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