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RECONMATIC Hosts Second Open Day in Salford, UK

On May 7th, RECONMATIC project partners organized a successful Open Day event at the University of Salford's Mediacity UK campus in Greater Manchester. Over 70 industry and academic professionals from various parts of the UK attended this full-day event, which featured presentations, workshops, and guest speakers focused on innovative solutions for the construction sector (see the full agenda & event details). In this event RECONMATIC and the attendants had the opportunity to explore and discuss the impact of circularity in construction, presenting innovative solutions to tackle Construction and Demolition Waste (CDW) through the integration of Industry 4.0 technologies like BIM, Digital Twins, IoT and Blockchain.

The event kicked off with an introduction to the RECONMATIC project, followed by in-depth presentations from the consortium's experts. Jason Underwood from the University of Salford discussed advances in the Digital Information Management System (DIMS) and its role in integrating data for material flow analysis across the construction project lifecycle. Vitalij Terterov of BIMBox explained the data structures being developed for a circular economy, while Owen Ashton of Morgan Sindall highlighted progress on material databases, waste prediction and waste management developments. Ines Diez from Tecnalia presented progress in digitising pre-demolition audits and automating waste sorting in construction waste treatment plants. Vaclav Nezerka from the Technical University of Prague shared insights on digital twins and visual recognition of waste. The Q&A session that followed sparked lively discussions on the challenges and future directions of these technologies.

Vitalij Tetervov, BIMBox, presenting Data Structures to our listeners.

In the afternoon, five workshops were held on different topics: digital twins (Muhammad Omer, University of Manchester), digital information management system for CDW management (Ali Saad and Jason Underwood, University of Salford), data structure (Olumide Fasanmi, University of Salford and Vitalij Terterov, BIMBox), waste predictor (Owen Ashton) and a student challenge (Louise Sturman, Morgan Sindall and Paul Coates, University of Salford). These workshops enabled participants to gain a deeper understanding of the developing technologies and to gather feedback from them.  

Ali Saad, PhD student at University of Salford, presenting his work on DIMS in 1 of our paralell workshops.

Following the workshops, three guest speakers presented the technologies they have been working on and how they are being implemented by industry:  Dean Sherwood (BRE) explained SmartWaste, which has been implemented for pre-demolition audits; Stephen Boyle (Zero Waste Scotland) talked about the Construction Waste Portal and its application to waste forecasting and costing; Ana Costa (Lancaster University) presented their recently published guidance on the use of material passports. All of these technologies are very welcome and related to RECONMATIC and provide the basis for synergies and potential collaborations in the future.

Dr Ana Costa, Senior Lecturer in Architecture at Lancaster University, presenting her research of material passports within the construction industry.

The key takeaways from this remarkable event can be summarised in the following points, which express the general sentiment that digitisation of the built environment is paving the way for a more sustainable future in construction!

  • Buildings as Material Banks: Designing structures with easy disassembly, reusability, and recycling in mind to promote sustainable building practices.

  • Material Passports: Implementing tracking systems for materials' origins, compositions, and characteristics to streamline reuse and recycling efforts, thereby enhancing sustainability in construction.

  • Prioritizing Reuse over Recycling: Focusing on direct material reuse to reduce energy consumption and minimize environmental impact

"This open day has not only provided an opportunity to disseminate RECONMATIC activities in the UK but has also promoted greater interaction with the construction industry, generating national and international interest in collaborating to promote the implementation of Industry 4.0 and the circular economy."

Juan Antonio Ferriz-Papi , lead researcher from the University of Salford and event coordinator

Following the successful Open Day in the Czech Republic in 2023, this event is the second in a series planned by RECONMATIC. Future Open Days are planned for Greece, Spain and China, with the aim of further promoting automated solutions for circular economy practices in the construction industry. More details on the workshops and the presentations can be found on the webpage dedicated to the event. 

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