Real and perceived barriers to steel reuse across the UK construction value chain

Cyrille F. Dunant, Michał P. Drewniok, Michael Sansom, Simon Corbey, Julian M. Allwood, Jonathan M. Cullen

Although steel reuse has been identified as an effective method to reduce the carbon and energy impact of
construction, its occurrence is shrinking in the UK. This can be partly explained by the many barriers which have
been identified in the literature, but a detailed analysis of how these barriers affect different parts of the supply
chain is still lacking. We show that there is a contrast between perceived higher costs and time required to
employ reused steel and the assessments of realised projects. Using a novel ranking method inspired from the
field of information retrieval (tf-idf), we have analysed interviews of actors across the supply chain to determine
the acuteness of the perception of each barrier. We show that demolition contractors, stockists, and fabricators
face specific barriers which each need to be addressed at their level. This is in contrast with more generic barriers
present throughout the value chain which we show are probably more perception than reality. Finally, we
suggest how supply chain integration could facilitate reuse and make it economically viable at scale.