FCRBE - Facilitating the circulation of reclaimed building elements in Northwestern Europe

Project Summary

Today in NW-Europe, only 1% of building elements are reused following their first application. Although a large number of elements are technically reusable, they end up being recycled by crushing or melting, or disposed. The result is a high environmental impact and a net loss of economic value.  

This project aims to increase by +50%, the amount of reclaimed building elements being circulated on its territory by 2032.

Focusing on the northern half of France, Belgium and the UK, the project also covers, with a lesser intensity, the Netherlands, Ireland, the rest of France and Luxembourg. This area houses thousands of SMEs specialised in the reclamation and supply of reusable building elements. Despite their obvious potential for the circular economy, these operators face significant challenges: visibility, access to important projects and integration in contemporary building practices. Today, the flow of recirculated goods stagnate and may even decrease  due to a lack of structured efforts.

To respond appropriately to these challenges, the project sets up an international partnership involving specialised organisations, trade associations, research centres, an architecture school and public administrations. It is rooted in earlier initiatives that were successfully initiated, on a local level.

The project will deliver:

  • 1 online directory that richly documents more than 1500 specialised reuse operators,
  • 1 pre-demolition audit method for reusable elements,
  • a set of 4 innovative specification methods for reclaimed products,
  • and more!

These tools will be tested and promoted through 36 pilot operations taking place in large (de)construction projects, whereby more than 360 tons of elements will be reused. Effective communication efforts towards the stakeholders of the construction industry (including public authorities) will facilitate a smooth integration of these outputs into field practices and policies.

Project Partners

Lead partner

Organisation Address Email Website
Rotor 58 rue Prévinaire
michaelghyoot@rotordb.org www.rotordb.org
Name Contact Name Email Country
Salvo Ltd Thornton Kay thornton.kay@salvo.co.uk United Kingdom
Construction Confederation Lara Pérez Duenas lara.perezduenas@confederationconstruction.be Belgium
Belgian Building Research Institute Morgane Deweerdt morgane.deweerdt@bbri.be Belgium
Scientific and technical Center for Building Sylvain Laurenceau sylvain.laurenceau@cstb.fr France
Brussels Environment Corinne Bernair cbernair@environnement.brussels Belgium
University of Brighton Duncan Baker-Brown D.Baker-brown@brighton.ac.uk United Kingdom
Bellastock Mathilde Billet mathilde.billet@bellastock.com France



New deliverable! How to conduct a reclamation audit.

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FCRBE Project has published a new deliverable that offers guidelines on conducting a reclamation audit. A reclamation audit is an operation carried out in buildings scheduled for partial or total demolition. It aims at identifying the building materials and products presenting a high reuse potential. This audit results in a ‘reclamation inventory’, listing the identified reusable building elements. The resulting inventories present information on the materials' and products' characteristics such as dimensions, quantities, conditions, environmental impact, technical characteristics, disassembly recommendations, etc. This manual presents a method on how to conduct these audits. Read More

Application for Summer School is open!

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The University of Brighton’s School of Architecture and Design will be hosting a five-day International Summer School from 17-21 August 2020. Aimed at students from the worlds of design, architecture, construction and engineering, the School of Re-construction (Sor-c) will demonstrate ways to re-use materials from local construction sites. Read More

New deliverable! The review of pre-demolition tools and resources has been published

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FCRBE has published the report "Review of existing pre-demolition tools, policies, resources for identifying, quantifying and organizing the reclamation of reusable elements.“ The report collects examples and illustrations coming from different professional practices in which the assessment of the reuse potential in existing buildings plays an important role or is supported. Read More

Architects, take action!

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The keynote speech of FCRBE partner Duncan Baker-Brown (University of Brighton) during the AJ100 Awards dinner in the UK, where he explains how architects can develop a crucial new role in tackling the climate emergency through reuse of natural resources. A must-watch for all construction professionals! (click here to watch full video) Read More

Salvo to visit reclamation-friendly construction professionals in UK

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Salv visited Ashwells Reclaimed Timber. How could one possibly suspect that both the Facebook garden at Chelsea and HRH Duchess of Cambridge on her ‘Back To Nature’ stand at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show have a common ground ? And yet, they both prevented some tree to fall when they asked Ashwells Reclaimed Timber to supply reclaimed Greenheart or salvaged tropical Keruing from Southend Pier... Read More

Partners meet in Chartham

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The project will soon deliver a pre-demolition audit method for reusable elements. But before that, there is still some work to be done! This is why the partners met in Chartham (UK) on 7 June. This workshop was focused on the first two workgroups of our roadmap : approach and identification. Read More

Rotor - Lead partner

Rotor is a research group, design studio and consultancy. It aims at making the reuse of components an accessible option for building professionals. Rotor created and manages Opalis.be, a local online directory of reuse operators. In 2015, the work of Rotor was awarded the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture under the patronage of UNESCO. Rotor recently launched the spin-off RotorDC, an innovative reclamation activity focussing on interior finishings from post-war buildings.



Bellastock is an experimental architecture organisation whose work focuses on the valorization of places and their material resources. Bellastock has experience with the reuse of building elements through demonstrative projects and national and European research programs. This has allowed them to provide technical assistance in more than 50 architectural projects.


Brussels Environment

BE is the public administration responsible for environment and energy in the Brussels Region. BE’s main mission is to survey the quality of air, water, soil, waste, noise and nature. BE is also responsible for defining strategic management plans for improving quality in above-mentioned fields and for launching awareness campaigns for citizens. Since 2008, BE has financed and coordinated the key projects that helped make Brussels a leader in the field of construction material reuse.


University of Brighton

The University of Brighton (UoB) is a community of 21,000 students and 2,800 staff based on five campuses in the coastal cities/towns of Brighton. The UoB possesses a diverse and vibrant research community of over 400 research staff and 300 research students. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 ranked us 27 out of 128 universities for our world-leading research impact.


Salvo Ltd

For more than 25 years, Salvo has been a key organisation for the development of the reuse sector, primarily in the UK. Salvo carries out several activities including: networking information and advising on the trade of reclaimed construction elements (e.g. via SalvoWEB and architectural salvage fairs); providing consultancy to the construction sector and public authorities on reuse practices; conducting pre-demolition audits; assisting with materials procurement; surveying the sector.


Construction Confederation

The Construction Confederation is the main business organisation, social partner and representative body of the construction industry in Belgium. More than 15000 contractors have joined the Construction Confederation, from craftsmen to global players, carrying out all forms of building and civil engineering activities. The Confederation informs, supports, represents and promotes Belgian contractors at the local, national and international levels.

It has three regional entities for the three Belgian regions:

Belgian Building Research Institute

The statutory members of the BBRI include more than 90,000 Belgian construction companies, mostly SMEs. The BBRI’s primary business involves performing scientific and technical research for the benefit of its members; supplying technical information, assistance and advice to its members; contributing to the general innovation and development in the construction sector by performing research upon the request of the industry and the authorities.


Scientific and technical Center for Building

CSTB is the French national organisation providing research and innovation, consultancy, testing, training and certification services in the construction industry. The mission of the CSTB is to ensure the quality and safety of buildings, and to support innovation. The CSTB focuses on four key activities: research and consulting, assessment, certification and dissemination of knowledge. Its field of expertise covers construction products, buildings, and their integration into cities.


The realisation of this project is made possible thanks to the support of these co-financing partners:

Important notice:

Due to the uncertainty around the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the School of Re-construction (SoR-c) summer school will be postponed until summer 2021. Thank you to everyone who has already submitted an application. We have informed each person who applied in 2020 of the change in plans. We will send each of you confirmation of the new dates and contact you to find out whether you are still interested in being considered in 2021 (those who were eligible in 2020 will be eligible in 2021 regardless if they are studying or not). We will update all NWE universities of this announcement and we will be in touch to ask them to promote the SoR-c Summer School when a new date is announced and applications will re-open in February 2021. Thank you once again for your interest in the Summer School and your patience in these uncertain times.


The University of Brighton’s School of Architecture and Design have postponed its planned five-day International Summer School from August 2020 to summer 2021 (dates to be announced). Aimed at students from the worlds of design, architecture, construction and engineering, the School of Re-construction (SoR-c) will demonstrate ways to re-use materials from local construction sites.

Our team at the University of Brighton includes Anthony Roberts, Lucy-Ann Gilbert, Nick Gant, Dr Ryan Woodard, Siobhan O’Dowd and is led by senior lecturer and architect Duncan Baker-Brown best known for coordinating the building of the Brighton Waste House, “Europe’s first permanent building made of materials other people discarded”. 


WHEN: Summer 2021 (dates to be announced)

Applications re-open: February 2021

WHERE: Brighton and Hove, UK


DURATION: 1 week

COST: £150

EMAIL:  School-of-Re-construction@brighton.ac.uk

FOLLOW: Instagram / Twitter

PROMTE: A3 Poster

From left to right: Duncan Baker-Brown, Antony Roberts, Lucy-Ann Gilbert, Nick Gant, Dr. Ryan Woodard, Siobhan O'Dowd.

We will be joined by partners from across North-West Europe*, including re-use experts Rotor from Belgium, and Bellastock from France, who are deconstructing the 59-storey Montparnasse Tower in Paris.

The School of Re-construction is part of an EU ERDF €4.33million Interreg NWE project entitled, ‘Facilitating the Circulation of Reclaimed Building Elements’ (FCRBE) which runs from 2019 to 2022. It will deliver, among others:

  • An online directory of more than 1500 specialised salvage dealers and allied businesses in North-West Europe.
  • A pre-demolition 'tool kit' designed to help clients assess the re-use potential of materials and products present in buildings slated for demolition.
  • A specifications manual to help construction professionals integrate reclaimed building materials and products in large-scale projects.
  • Test and promote tools through 36 pilot operations taking place in large (de)-construction projects across North-West Europe.

This project responds to the worldwide declaration of Climate and Ecological Emergency, and locally to Brighton and Hove’s ambition to be Net Carbon Neutral by 2030.

FCRBE project partners.

*North-West Europe includes Ireland, United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany and the Netherlands.


Topic 2021: Re-think Re-use


School of Re-construction 

The Summer School will include discussions and debates on topics relating to urban mining, resource mapping, deconstruction, re-use, and buildings as material banks.  

Students will work in teams with designers and makers to re-think and re-use, through the re-construction of disassembled materials to create a series of thought-provoking design interventions,that will prove that “there’s no such thing as waste, just stuff in the wrong place!”

Since the rise of modernity, design usually precedes construction. Consequently, designers generally develop their projects around standardized, stable and predictable construction products or they order specialised production of bespoke elements that will match their requirements. In essence, reclaimed products are the exact opposite of this: they are largely heterogeneous, unpredictable, and situated. In this sense, they question the habits of designers.

We will tackle this question by challenging each team to design and realise a small construction out of reclaimed elements in response to one of the workshop themes as detailed below.

These themes pose questions and provide a particular ‘lens’ for re-structuring elements that are usually discarded or re-worked. Each team will have an array of reclaimed elements sourced from local de-construction sites to choose and experiment with.

All these realisations are small living laboratories that will allow you to have hands-on experience with these types of products. The week-long workshop will culminate in a carefully curated exhibition of these experimental design interventions.

Theme 1 THE RAW:

The aim of re-use that will be explored, is how to effect a new condition by NOT altering, or ‘re-cooking’, the materials gained by reclamation. By working with the dismantled elements in their ‘raw’, or unaltered form – what are the possibilities of reconfiguring them into new, spatial and material combinations?

Theme 2 THE ‘USELESS’:

Materials deemed ‘useless’ are often cheap, can be found in abundance and as a result, are often discarded as not worthy of consideration. How can we make these rejected elements useful and desirable for construction?


Materials that exist as a by-product of conventional modes of production can often be overlooked and ignored. How can they become one of the re-fashioned and delivered as a newly envisioned focus that supports the act of re-use?


Systems and materials are often standardised and configured in conflicting or unaccommodating arrays of sizes and shapes, which generates more waste. How can they be combined to create new, workable relationships through the crude use of montage?

Theme 5 THE ‘OFF-CUT’:

The off-cut is notoriously known for being ‘not quite long enough’. By only utilising these awkward materials the question again arises, how can these usually discarded elements be re-examined and re-combined to form workable structures and envelopes that might not conform to the notion of the standard?


SoR-c Summer School Programme (details to follow)

Those who have applied in 2020 will be contacted to find out if they would like to be considered for the 2021 summer school.

Applications to the School of Re-construction will re-open in February 2021 and will close on 31 March 2021.

60 assisted places will be offered to students from across North-West European regions at a fee of £150. Successful applicants will be confirmed by 31 April 2021.  Full payment will be required by the 31 May 2021.

To apply you will need to follow a two-step process an online application and a motivational letter (the details of which will remain the same be re-posted in February 2021).



Coronavirus (Covid -19) Update

Due to the uncertainty around the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the School of Re-construction (SoR-c) summer school will be postponed until summer 2021. Thank you to everyone who has already submitted an application. We have informed each person who applied in 2020 of the change in plans. We will send each of you confirmation of the new dates and contact you to find out whether you are still interested in being considered in 2021 (those who were eligible in 2020 will be eligible in 2021 regardless if they are studying or not). We will update all NWE universities of this announcement and we will be in touch to ask them to promote the SoR-c Summer School when a new date is announced and applications will re-open in February 2021. Thank you once again for your interest in the Summer School and your patience in these uncertain times.

When and where is the summer school?

The week long Summer School will run in summer 2021 (dates to be announced). The final showcase will take place in the evening. The Summer School will be based in the city of Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, UK.

How do I apply for the Summer School?

There are two steps, an online application form and information that needs to be sent directly to us via email. This will be re-opened in Feb 2021.

If you have any questions, or need some help, you can reach us on [00 44 (0)1273 642915] or at School-of-Re-construction@brighton.ac.uk.

Who can apply?

Applicants must be university students, studying at undergraduate or postgraduate level during 2021, in areas related to design, architecture, construction or engineering. 

You must be 18 or over at the start of the summer schooland be proficient in English.

Please see the SoR-c SS Terms and Conditions for the eligibility criteria.

If I applied last year as a student but am not one in 2021 am I eligible?

It has been agreed that those who applied in 2020 will still be eligible whether or not they are studying in 2021.  We will send you an email to update you on the new dates and ask you whether you would still like to be considered.  If you have not submitted your motivational letter we will ask you to do so.

When is the application deadline?

The deadline for applications is Tuesday 31 March 2021.

How much will it cost? And what does this include?

The fee is £150 and covers tuition, materials, safety equipment, accommodation, daily coach travel to and from the summer school base, breakfast and lunch.

Please note that dinner is not included. 

What must I bring?

Proof of registration or offer from your chosen university in 2021 at undergraduate, or postgraduate level in a related area.

Suitable clothing and footwear (steel toe-cap shoes) for a building site.

Money (sterling pound) for evening meals.

Do I need a laptop?

No, this is a hands-on workshop. It is advised that you leave you laptops and other devices in a safe place.

We recommend that you take insurance for any goods, vehicles or property that you do bring with you, as we do not accept any liability for damage or loss.

When do I have to pay?

By the end of April or early May you will be informed whether your application has been successful.

Successful applicants will be sent further information and a link to pay online. Payment is required by the 31 May 2021.

Once full payment has been received, registration is secured and students will be kept informed about the programme and arrival logistics. 

Where will I stay?

Lullington Residence, Sussex Campus, Falmer, University of Sussex. 

Rooms are single and have an ensuite bathroom. There is no access to cooking facilities.

Free Wifi will be available.

Do I need to speak English?

Yes, the Summer School will be conducted in English therefore applicants will need to be fluent in English to take part. We will assess your written application for proficiency in English.

Do I need a visa?

If you do not have an EU/UK passport you must either hold a UK valid visa or obtain a UK visa to stay in the UK for the duration of the Summer School.

If you require a UK visa, the University of Brighton can provide an offer letter which can be used to obtain the visa. If the visa application is turned down, we will reimburse your fee and the place will be made available to those on a waiting list.

If you are currently studying in the UK on a TIER 4 visa, and providing that you have not completed your studies yet, you will be able to attend the University of Brighton's School of Re-construction Summer School, providing that you obtain a letter from your home university allowing you to join the Summer School.

Please note that visas will be checked on the first day of the Summer School. The University of Brighton reserves the right to reject an applicant should they not have the appropriate visa. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate documentation.  Please see the SoR-c SS Terms and Conditions.

Can I get a refund?

If a participant cancels up to six weeks before the Summer School starts, the University of Brighton will retain 20% of the fee for administrative and bank fees.

If a participant cancels six weeks or less before the beginning of the programme, there will be no refund. This is due to the short notice to reassign the summer school-place and requirement to pre-pay for accommodation.

Refunds will be available to those who are unsuccessful in obtaining a UK Standard Visitor visa should their nationality require one up to six weeks before the start of the Summer School.  Please see the SoR-c SS Terms and Conditions.

I have a disability, how do I let the University of Brighton know?

If your application is successful, we will ask you for further information including information about any disability or dietary needs you may have. We will endeavour to work with you to accommodate your needs.

Do I need Personal Travel and Health Insurance?

If you are travelling from outside the UK, it is your responsibility to check whether you have appropriate travel and health insurance.

Any other questions?

For any other questions not covered here please contact us at School-of-Re-construction@brighton.ac.uk

Get in touch:

Email:  School-of-Re-construction@brighton.ac.uk

Telephone: Siobhan O'Dowd - 00 44 (0)1273 642915

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