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Construction Industry Support Programme

We all want a construction industry in Scotland that is fit for purpose and fit for the future. 

There are many challenges facing the industry now and more on the horizon, including a climate crisis, and resource scarcity. These challenges can be met or prepared for, by helping make businesses and their supply chains more circular, resilient and future proof.

Greater resilience can be achieved by;

  • Increasing efficiencies
  • Reducing carbon footprints
  • Reducing reliance on fossil fuels and raw materials (especially imports)
  • Preventing waste
  • Embracing circular business models and products
  • Exploring digital technology
  • Horizon scanning for likely policy and regulatory changes
  • Upskilling current and future workforces

Our built environment needs to be well planned, delivered efficiently in a low carbon way, and be healthier and adaptable for future use.

Circularity in construction

A circular economy is about retaining the value of products and materials for as long as possible. Ideally it is a closed loop system, reducing non-renewable raw material input, and minimising any ‘leakage’ of ‘waste’ materials out of the system.  It is an approach that needs to be designed and planned for.

If we plan to reduce our resource use and waste generation from the outset, and then plan to maximise the value of any unavoidable ‘waste’ by thinking of it as a commodity, then we have moved from a linear economy to a circular economy.

We can apply this circular economy approach to how we plan for, design, construct, maintain and replace our buildings and infrastructure, so we not only use less materials and create less waste, but we also:

  • create jobs in a green economy
  • reduce both capital and operational costs,
  • increase business and supply chain resilience
  • improve economic stability,
  • decrease carbon footprints
  • improve environmental quality
  • and improve building quality

10 construction circular economy principles

The concept of a circular economy approach to construction can be explained through 10 principles. We believe that circular economy principles can be applied to all aspects of building design and placemaking activities to deliver a wide range of benefits. We strongly recommend that the following 10 circular economy principles are embedded into all building design decision making. Some principles will be more impactful that others and some are easier to achieve than others, but ideally all 10 need to be considered in all decision making for us to truly move to a circular economy and zero waste industry.

  1. Collaboration
  2. Health and wellbeing
  3. Long Life / Loose Fit
  4. Low carbon
  5. Smart construction
  6. Whole life value
  7. Material recoverability
  8. Design Out Waste
  9. Circular materials
  10. Material management

Support for your construction project

The Construction Advice and Support Service works collaboratively with businesses to help them identify and implement new opportunities to improve the way they work or deliver construction projects that will have economic, social and environmental long-term benefits. We are supporting the construction sector under four priority themes:

  1. Design of construction products, buildings and infrastructure
  2. Use of sustainable procurement clauses and delivery mechanisms
  3. Material management and building material reuse
  4. Digital technology adaptation and building organisational capacity

We invite any interested parties, at any point of the construction supply chain to work with us.

Our specialist consultancy service is free, funded by Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund. We invite businesses to explore, collaborate and implement opportunities as well as identify opportunities for future-proofing construction projects.

If you would like to discuss how your business or project could work with Zero Waste Scotland to receive specialist support and advice in this theme, please email the team


You can find construction circular economy resources which will explain principles, outline drivers and delivery mechanisms, signpost you to guides, training resources, implementation tools and case studies as well as useful reports and research. 

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