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Latvian Construction Association: what circular construction needs is knowledge, resources and clarity


Circulation of resources in construction of buildings in Latvia is currently limited to restoration projects. The hard lesson learnt over the last year on how wrong it is to base economic growth on cheap energy resources from aggressor countries, make us much more aware of the value of the resources available to us and focus on their responsible use and reuse. 

Continuing its work on the development of proposals for an efficient system for the circulation of construction products and construction waste (CW), the Latvian Construction Association (LBA) has identified necessary improvements to the real estate, design, construction and CW management processes. Together with local government procurement specialists, construction specialists, construction material manufacturers, CW managers, as well as public authorities responsible for construction and environmental protection, the following needs for efficient, circular management of resources have been identified:

  • knowledge and practices for the use of recycled materials in construction,

  • the necessary regulation for the end-of-waste status of mineral construction waste,

  • up-to-date information on the available and potentially available market for secondary resources,

  • up-to-date information on CW recycling options and available capacities,

  • audit procedures for registering and control of resources in dismantling of buildings,

  • financial means or incentives to use secondary resources. 

The Chairman of the Board of the Latvian Construction Association Gints Miķelsons points out: "The Association will continue its work with proposals for changes in construction and waste regulation to increase sorting, recycling and reuse of construction waste in both public and commercial projects. Businesses are more than welcome to get involved in the assessment and development of green building targets, to join the industry and become more active in advocating for their interests!"

Following the best practice examples of Nordic countries and lessons learned over the years by professionals in the construction and real estate development sectors in neighbouring countries, the LBA will encourage to set up a database for up-to-date monitoring and marketing of construction waste and recycled products that would be based on the existing BIS and APUS systems, accessible to industry professionals. Such platforms are successfully operating in Finland (Materiaalitori.fi, and Netlet.fi) and Norway (Materialimapper.no), where they have proven to be an excellent tool for promoting the circulation of waste resources.

Also, as a follow-up to the EU LIFE project "Waste To Resources Latvia - boosting regional sustainability and circularity”, the LBA will develop proposals and guidelines for on-site sorting of CW, dismantling audits, circular procurement of public works, as well as encourage the development of procedures for proper screening and preparation of mineral construction debris for incorporation into buildings. However, the biggest challenge for the use of properly and safely prepared secondary resources in construction will be to find ways to commercialise these materials together with the environmental and construction regulators, as safety requirements and proving compliance is a costly and time-consuming process that should not be an obstacle to a circular construction process.

Report of the development of the recycled building materials circulation system for the public, private and commercial sector (in Latvian).

Questions, comments, and ideas on the development of a circular system for construction products and construction waste in the public and commercial sectors are welcome by writing to brigita.viksne@latvijasbuvnieki.lv. General questions about the work of the LBA and joining the association are welcome at birojs@latvijasbuvnieki.lv.

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