Rising interest for Circular Economy – How can industrialised construction processes help?



On 13 February 2019, 3E, CSTC and Wood.be organised the kick-off of the 3th year of the ‘Cluster bouwindustrialisatie’. The aim of this joint commitment is to improve construction processes that will support higher quality, higher productivity, better planning control and more sustainability, and promote circular economy in the construction sector.

As circular construction is one of the ways to build more sustainable, 3E is willing to take an active role in sharing knowledge about this topic through different initiatives. With this goal in mind, our company signed the Green Deal Circulair Bouwen on 22 February alongside with 200 other organizations.

Circular economy gaining importance in the Belgian construction sector, this article is presenting two initiatives in which 3E recently took part, namely the Cluster bouwindustrialisatie and the Green Deal Circulair Bouwen.

The Cluster bouwindustrialisatie [cluster building industrialisation], facilitated by CSTC, 3E and Wood.be, is entering its third and last year. This joint commitment gathers more than 50 companies (manufacturers, general contractors, suppliers, etc.) together. The kick-off event explicitly referred to circular economy and how industrialised processes can contribute to constructing in a more circular way. Here are a few examples of the actions already applied by several cluster members and of which the cluster is willing to increase the application:

  • Modular prefabricated off-site construction: this construction technique typically reduces on-site waste production.
  • Standardisation: using products with a higher quality control induces lower long-term maintenance requirements.
  • Biological products: locally harvested wood, such as structural elements, allows the use of renewable materials.
  • Re-use and renting: applying renting and re-use as business model for building products instead of linear economy approaches.
  • Digital construction: Building Information Modelling (BIM) is often applied to create a 3D model of the project or project elements listing all materials present in the construction.

The cluster will launch as much long-term collaboration initiatives as possible between cluster members. In addition, several demonstration projects will be evaluated in order to apply and test industrialised processes in the construction sector. With the aim of supporting these goals, CSTSC, 3E and Wood.be will organise several activities throughout 2019:

  • Workshops: with the aim of providing learning opportunities to cluster members, internal and external speakers are invited to give presentation on a variety of topics: 3D printing, tendering with output specifications instead of listing elements, logistics, …
  • External events: in order to reach as many construction segments (health care, education, etc.) as possible, different public events will also be organised. During these sessions, cluster members will present case studies demonstrating the advantages of applying industrialised techniques.
  • Strategic analysis: in collaboration with cluster members, the facilitators of the cluster will evaluate the impact and requirements of a thorough planning control applied to construction projects.

The Cluster bouwindustrialisatie and its activities being open to all companies, please feel free to contact us via our webform if you would like more information about the workshops or about how to set up demonstration projects.


Similarly but this time focussing on circular economy only, the Green Deal Circulair Bouwen is an initiative open to all interested companies. On 22 February, more than 200 companies including 3E, signed up for the innovative learning network in presence of Flemish minister Koen Van den Heuvel.

This platform has the goal to share practical experience with circular economy with local and regional governments, contractors, researchers, etc. For the next 4 years, the initiative will concentrate on education days and on concrete experiments to test circular economy. These experiments will enable us to determine what obstacles prevent the actual implementation of circular construction measures, and search for methodologies to remove those obstacles.

By signing the initiative, 3E is committed to proactively share knowledge about circular economy and to support projects by taking up circular construction ideas. More information about that in our next newsletter.