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 Jeroen jeroen.vrijders@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

Academic publications

(2021) Online: Zone à déconstruire. Petit tour d'horizon du réemploi et de la déconstruction
(2021) Urban Mine Incorporation: "Urban Mining und kreislaufgerechtes Bauen. Die Stadt als Rohstofflager"

Cortés, A. Vande Capelle, “Urban Mine Incorporation” in F. Heisel and D. E. Hebel (eds.), Urban Mining und kreislaufgerechtes Bauen. Die Stadt als Rohstofflager, Stuttgart: Fraunhofer IRB Verlag, 2021, p. 79-89.

Non-edited English version available online: http://rotordb.org/en/stories/urban-mine-inc 

(2021) “Réemployer des matériaux de construction dans les marchés publics. Challenges et opportunités”

M. Vanderstraeten, Michael Ghyoot, Susie Naval, Gaspard Geerts, “Réemployer des matériaux de construction dans les marchés publics. Challenges et opportunités” in C. De Koninck, P. Flamey, P. Thiel, E. Hacke (eds.), Jaarboek over overheidsopdrachten/Chronique des marchés publics 2020-2021, Brussels: EBP Publishers, 2021, p. 599-616.


FCRBE Project has been launched

Posted on

The FCRBE kick-off meeting has taken place in Brussels on 1st February! The whole team has been able to meet and decide about tasks distribution and action plan. Fostering reuse of construction elements in Europe is a very challenging yet exciting objective and all partners are thrilled to get started with the project activities! Read More

Our videos have been produced as a means for promotion of reuse practices in the construction sector.

Feel free to share them and help us spread the word!



Reuse of building elements: - will it soon be the norm in Europe ?


Reuse of building elements, who to call on? part 1


Reuse of building elements, who to call on? part 2


French and Dutch versions available on our Youtube channel!



Presentation of FCRBE guide by Rotor during the Walloon Green Deal Achats Circulaires.

FCRBE Youtube channel

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 project was made possible with the support of our co-financing partners :

Important notice:

The Digital School of Re-construction (Digi-SoR-c) summer school will run from Monday 2nd August 2021 for two weeks.

Thank you to everyone who has made an application to the digital School School of Re-construction Summer School.  We have had a great response and are looking forward to working with some great students. 



The University of Brighton’s School of Architecture and Design are hosting a digital Summer School aimed at students from the worlds of design, architecture, construction and engineering. The digital School of Re-construction (SoR-c) will demonstrate ways to re-use materials and elements from the built environment.

Our team at the University of Brighton includes Anthony Roberts, 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”.



Public Events Registration are now open, 2-13 August 2021 

While the applications for students has now closed , registration by the public to the Keynote Speaker, Lunchtime broadcasts and Panel discussions are now open. You can find here the Privacy Notice to the Public Events.

Details are provided here:


WHEN: 2-13 August 2021 (weekdays only)

WHERE: Online MS Teams/Zoom


DURATION: 2 weeks (40 hours over two weeks)

Application Deadline: 7 May 21

Registration Deadline: 31 May 21

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

FOLLOW: Instagram / Twitter

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

We will be joined (online) 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.

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

Topic 2021: Re-think Re-Use

Digital School of Re-construction 2021

Students from different regions 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 digital design interventions, that will prove that “there’s no such thing as waste, just stuff in the wrong place!”

Drawing on the partners and work of the Interreg FCRBE project the Summer School will include discussions and debates on topics relating to urban mining, resource mapping, deconstruction, re-use, and buildings as material banks.

Drawing from their immediate environment’s, each participant will survey a chosen artefact, room, or building with a view to digitally unpacking and deconstructing them. Each of the eight teams will create their own digital library; to be shared, interrogated, understood and re-imagined as a ‘new’ proposition.

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 digitally reclaimed elements sourced from across the Interreg FCRBE region to choose and experiment with.

All these realisations are small living laboratories that will allow you to have direct  experience with these challenges. The two-week-long workshop will culminate in a carefully curated online exhibition of these experimental design interventions.


The following themes should be read as specific ‘lenses’ through which participants will look at their particular ‘libraries of elements’. Please note that they might be slightly adapted depending on what will have been surveyed and collected by each of the teams taking part.

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)

When and where is the summer school?

The Summer School will run between the 2 and 13 August 2021. The Summer School will be run as a digital online event. If you are selected you will be sent the registration details.

When is the registration deadline?

The deadline for registration is 31st May 2021. If you are selected we will send you a link to register your confirmation that you wish to enrol.

How much will it cost?

There is no cost for this digital event.

Evidence for completion of registration

In addition to confirming your availability to attend all sessions you will also need to provide evidence that:

  • You are either registered or have a place as an undergraduate or postgraduate in 2020 or 2021.
  • You are registered within a School of design, architecture, construction or engineering in 2020 or 2021 at a recognised university

Once you have registered we will keep you informed about Summer School, and ensure access to the materials and online programme.

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.

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

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This page in under construction. The 36 pilots description will be available soon :-)


Petite Île / City Gate, Brussels

This project aims to develop a neighbourhood with significant social diversity and use on the site of a former pharmaceutical factory, at the south-western entrance to the Brussels conurbation. It aims to reuse bricks, masonry, floor tiles and other materials of the old factory in the buildings of the new district.


Our Town Hall, Manchester

This project supports the systemisation of same-site and site to site reuse of building materials extracted from the Manchester Town Hall : 500m³ of granite stone and 476,385 bricks. These reclaimed building materials will be used on site or redirected to reclaimers in the North West of England via the network of professional dealers of reusable building materials.


Maison des Canaux, Paris

As part of the FCRBE pilot operations, Bellastock is assisting the design team in the integration of several reused materials, including a metal structure supporting an outdoor terrace in the rehabilitation project of the patrimonial building of the association Les Canaux, in Paris.

(Photo credit: Benoit Florenco)

FCRBE in the press!

All press releases featuring FCRBE project are compiled in this section.

(25/08/2021) Novabuild.fr: “Faire du réemploi une pratique commune dans la construction”

“Faire du réemploi une pratique commune dans la construction” par Jihen Jallouli I L’interview du mois, NOVABUILD


(Jul-Aug 2021) D'Architectures: special issue on reuse
(9/07/2021) Construction Cayola.com: "Réemploi : un chantier pilote à Quimper"
(03/2021) CSTC Contact: Impact environnemental des solutions circulaires
(12/03/2021) Le Moniteur: Special issue on reuse

Multiple references to the FCRBE project in a special issue on reuse:


Le réusage doit encore faire école.

(21/01/2021) Articonnex: "Le projet FCRBE favorise le réemploi des matériaux de construction"
(20/01/2021) Climatico: "Matériaux de ré-emploi, une espèce en voie de ré-apparition"
(25/11/2020) La Fabrique des Quartiers: "Economie circulaire: Entretien avec Rotor"
(26/09/2020) Circubuild.be: Opalis, le “Guide Michelin” du réemploi de matériaux de construction
(Jul-Aug 2020) Bouwbedrijf/Magazine Construction
(14/05/2020) Bouwkroniek: "Hergebruikbaksteen maakt publieke ruimte duurzaam"
(21/04/2021) Liberation: "Maisons de paille, de bois… Des matériaux naturels pour des villes plus écologiques"
(02/2020) Séquence Bois: "Entretien Croisé avec Arnaud Baert (Mineka), Morgan Moinet (Remix), et Victor Meesters (Rotor)"
(01/2020) CSTC Contact: Special edition on circular economy
(17/01/2020) The Architects Journal: "Virtuous circles: Can reusing building materials in new projects go mainstream?"
(9/11/2019): The New Scientist

University of Brighton is quoted in the article ‘No Planet B’ in the 11 Years Column

(12/10/2019) Green Building Encyclopedia: Facilitating Circulation of Reclaimed Building Elements (Project)
(12/09/2019) The RIBA Journal: "Architects have declared, but what do we do next?"
(11/07/2019) Green BUilding: "Salvo in reclamation boost to reduce climate change"
(4/03/2019) La Libre Belgique: “La construction sur la voie de l’économie circulaire”
(20/02/2019) Le Soir: “Construction et économie circulaire : du potentiel et des enjeux, mais le chemin est encore long”
(14/01/2019) L'Echo Circulaire: “Le projet FCRBE facilite le réemploi dans la construction. Bellastock et Collectif Rotor engagés dans ce projet européen Interreg”
(10/12/2018) D'Architectures: "Approbation du projet “Faciliter la mise en circulation des éléments de construction de réemploi”

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