Creation of datasets for end-of-service-life materials and products in construction

   School of Science, Engineering and Environment

About the Project

The construction industry produces big amounts of waste streams during the whole life cycle of built assets. The end of service life (EoSL) is responsible for the largest amount of this waste. There are many factors involved in decision-making in a demolition, but in many cases, it is a grey process where the material performance and degradation levels are unknown, therefore becoming uncertain for repurpose and finally ending as waste. On the other hand, recovery rates in the EU and UK are high, but they are, in many cases, in low value purposes due to these high levels of uncertainty, which damages the user’s confidence and finally opts with conservative, low-value solutions (e.g. backfilling).

Materials traceability and buildings background can provide wide information and understanding about their current performance, and could help work with increased service life periods, therefore reducing this uncertainty in decision making at EoSL and providing evidence to support extended service life in many cases, which could reduce the amount of waste produced and resources consumed. Furthermore, these traceability data could help understand waste properties once it is generated and allow directing it to higher value uses, strengthening the waste value chain and circularity.

Currently, there are not adequate procedures to collect and manage these data so that they can support any type of evidence for the material quality assurance. The main purpose of this role is to develop datasets and procedures for EoSL materials and products in buildings, with the intention to facilitate resource efficiency at the end of life and waste traceability, therefore enhancing circular solutions towards zero waste and higher value uses. This will be integrated as part of digital solutions for waste management, interacting with BIM and other automated technologies.

This work will involve a diverse range of actions to develop and/or participate in the development process, such as (but not limited to) the following:

  • To establish methods for data collection about materials and products in buildings during their whole life cycle, their origin, installation, use, maintenance and exposure conditions during service life.
  • To develop methods/tools for EoSL material characteristics prediction, defining useful parameters (e.g. volume, types, properties, etc.) to determine optimised recovery solutions (reuse, recycle, and higher value options) for circular economy.
  • To consider the use of other different techniques to obtain useful data about material condition (e.g. non-destructive evaluation) for assessment and extension of service life.
  • To integrate this approach as part of BIM and other existing procedures such as pre-demolition audits.
  • To evaluate enhancement of quality assurance of secondary materials and new products obtained.
  • To validate these methods/tools in a real scenario.

We are seeking applicants for a PhD candidate with a background in construction and demolition/deconstruction/decommissioning processes, with an understanding on material properties, use and performance, as well as construction waste management, waste hierarchy, value chain and circular economy. Additionally, it is desirable to have knowledge/experience on database management and software platforms, tools and analytics/dashboarding/reporting.

This is a Horizon Europe Project. The selected person will contribute in this field and collaborate with other partners. Therefore, good interpersonal and communication skills, self-direction, team working and methodical are essential skills sought.

Additional notes: This PhD is included in a Horizon Europe project. It is funded, covering fees and stipend.

How to apply:

Submit a formal application at this link:

 You will need to have the following documents ready to upload to the application site:

Who to contact for further details: Dr Juan A Ferriz-Papi

Deadline: 3rd October, 2022

Funding Notes

This PhD is included in a Horizon Europe project. It is funded, covering fees and stipend.

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