Delivering Innovative Steel ReUse ProjecTs (DISRUPT)

The Alliance for Sustainable Building Products is pleased to lead the DISRUPT I and II projects (Delivering Innovative Steel ReUse ProjecT) which are exploring the innovative reuse of structural steel in construction and encouraging the adoption of new circular economy business models.

DISRUPT II (May 2023 to October 2024)

Steel is one of the most widely used and resource intensive materials used in construction. Although commonly recycled at end of life, the reuse of steel is minimal despite the apparent environmental, carbon and circular economy benefits. The high value of steel at end of life can be realised by being reused in a wide range of construction applications.

One of the main barriers identified during the first DISRUPT project (see below) which is preventing the significant uptake of steel reuse is the lack of available material generated during refurbishment and demolition projects. There are a number of reasons for this including a lack of incentives to reuse rather than recycling, and the need for new enabling processes and business models.

DISRUPT II will address this key barrier by working with the demolition industry, through one of the key sector bodies, The Institute of Demolition Engineers; one of the largest stockholders of reclaimed steel, Cleveland Steel and Tubes Ltd; and a number of demolition contractors from across the UK, to establish the crucial evidence that is needed to enable more steel to be reclaimed. This will be supported by the larger value chain – clients, designers, engineers and contractors.

The project will work on real life projects in the demolition industry, and create new sector guidance on procurement, risk and programme management and pre-demolition audits. Opportunities for the reuse for non-structural construction products, such as staircases, fencing and shutters, will also be assessed.

A new material reuse ‘platform’ has also been launched, running alongside the ASBP’s ongoing Reuse Now campaign, to share knowledge and increase awareness of the significant environmental, financial and social benefits of material reuse in the construction industry. The platform will play a key role in fostering engagement between the design, engineering and demolition communities.

DISRUPT II aims to ensure a readily available supply of reclaimed steel, fulfilling a circular economy approach and helping the construction industry on the road to net zero.

To find out more about the DISRUPT II project and get involved, please contact Richard Broad, DISRUPT Project Manager – richard@asbp.org.uk.

DISRUPT I (April 2022 to March 2023)

The DISRUPT I project team was made up of steel reuse experts Cleveland Steel and Tubes Ltd, global construction company ISG and the National Federation of Demolition Contractors. Supporters of the project included the Grosvenor Group, one of the world’s largest privately-owned international property businesses.

The main output of the project was a free-to-download ‘toolkit‘, providing major supply chain stakeholders involved in steel reuse with guidance, business considerations, case studies and more, to facilitate new market entrants and ultimately achieve a greater supply of reused steel in the construction industry.

Scenario mapping conducted as part of the research shows that reclaimed steel has the potential to make significant contributions to our net zero targets, saving up to 250,000+ tonnes of CO2 per year by 2050, in addition to substantial cost savings on construction projects of £40m a year.

The main purpose of the toolkit is to provide stakeholders from across the supply chain with guidance, case studies and expertise to boost supply and demand of reused steel in the construction industry, and support new market entrants. The toolkit is supported by accompanying guidance notes and policy asks for both Government and industry bodies.

A key element of the toolkit is a set of business considerations and stakeholder checklists to facilitate steel reuse, aimed at demolition contractors, fabricators, stockholders, designers, clients and more, and covering technical, supply chain and economic aspects, as well as potential carbon savings and wider socioeconomic benefits.

10+ new case studies of steel reuse on construction projects have also been developed, showcasing a wide range of project types (residential, industrial and commercial) and sizes (single home refurbishment, office extension, agricultural building and multi-building regeneration project). The case studies delve into the detail of the reuse process with clients and engineers, exploring the key drivers for steel reuse on the project, carbon savings and lessons learned.

New supply chain models are also proposed, advocating alternatives to business as usual (steel recycling) and mapping out practical approaches in which steel reuse can be enabled in practice, either driven by stockholders, clients or a ‘hybrid’ combination of both.

The toolkit is available to download on the ASBP website – https://asbp.org.uk/toolkit/disrupt-steel-reuse.

DISRUPT Steel Reuse Toolkit

Steel reuse case studies

With thanks to our funders and supporters

The projects have received funding via Innovate UK’s Circular Economy for SMEs competition, in collaboration with the NICER programme, a four-year £30 million investment from UKRI consisting of one hub and five specialist research centres aiming to grow the circular economy community through a significant programme of outreach and collaboration. The project received a letter of support from the Interdisciplinary Centre for CircularMetal.

Find out more

For enquiries about the DISRUPT project, please contact Richard Broad, Project Manager – richard@asbp.org.uk.

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