Preparing the material bank of the future

BIM-model as-built t' Centrum Kamp C

People currently trying to reuse reclaimed materials in a construction project encounter a lot of challenges. One of the biggest is being able to correctly estimate which materials will become available, their quantity and suitability for the intended use.

To be able to verify (and validate) this, we need information about the material, but this is currently often lacking. Does it have the right technical properties? Is it free from harmful substances? Has it been well maintained? Today, anyone wanting to reuse materials rarely has that information.


Meaning and importance

To make the integration of reclaimed materials easier in the future, it is therefore important that we make the necessary preparations today. Recording and managing the information about a building and its materials in a building passport is a strategy to facilitate future reuse. This allows us to always know which materials are where, making a building into a material bank for the future. The following principles are important here:

  • Starting from the design phase (especially for new-builds), information must be collected about the value and quality of the elements used, and this information must remain accessible to all partners. It should also be clearly stated who owns this information and who is responsible for updating it. If this information is not available – for example for existing buildings – this information must be collected before the building is demolished.
  • The building must be properly maintained to ensure the longevity and value of the elements  (especially at the end of their life cycle). This can be tracked using the passport.
  • It is essential that all this information is digitised and added to a building passport. This passport must be updated whenever the building undergoes changes or renovations. The elements should come with instructions informing the users how to repair or disassemble them.

logo tool circulair gebouwd

How was this included in the Circular Built tool?

in the tool, we list some possibile actions to achieve building passports, that can facilitate reuse and recycling in the future. They are based on literature, research projects (CB 23 Leidraad voor paspoorten in de bouw, BAMB) and practical experiences (projects such as BIM-integrum). The list is not finite and aims mainly to inspire and make users aware of the ways in which information storage and management can contribute to value retention in the future. Again, we distinguished between must-haves and extras.


How can you measure this?

Currently, there is no measurement system for this. One could check the completeness of a building passport and attach a "score" to it, but of course that says nothing about the quality of the data completed and shared. However, there are currently studies and developments around determining (or calculating) the reuse potential of building components based on information in BIM models. But a general transparent method to do this is not publicly available for the time being.

Real-life examples

De binnenkant van het voorbeeldproject - Living Lab van KULeuven
Living Lab Emergis de ingang

Which tools can help us here?

  • the template MAT3 Materialenpaspoort in GRO (in Dutch) is a simplified version of a materials passport. A guide on how to complete the materials passport is included in the template. 
  • The “Product Circularity Data Sheet” (PCDS) is a template that can be used to record information about the circularity of products in a standardised way.
  • The template from Level(s) for creating a "bill of materials" and a “Bill of quantities”. This can be used to create an overview of the quantities and types of materials in a building.
  • There are commercial companies that prepare building passports as a service or offer a digital tool for this. There is currently no open-source platform.
  • BIM software: A BIM model and the existing software packages allow you to attach information to the as-built 3D model to create a building passport in a digital environment. This passport not only stores an overview of the quantities and types of materials, but can also contain additional information such as technical fact sheets, disassembly techniques, maintenance instructions, etc. Such a building passport was developed by Beneens Construction and Interior in the project BIM-Integrum (In Dutch)
  • Publication containing a shortlist of parameters that can be included in a building passport. CB23 published a longlist, OVAM is working on a shortlist, but it has not yet been published.