Circular economy in the construction industry: A review of decision support tools based on Information & Communication Technologies

Yifei Yu*, Devrim Murat Yazan, Veronica Junjan, Maria Eugenia Iacob

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)
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The construction industry plays a critical role in Circular Economy (CE) transition because of its significant resource intensity. However, construction CE is limited due to its unique industrial characteristics and the complex nature of CE. To tackle wicked CE challenges, Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) are recognised as promising solutions since they provide potential support to CE-oriented decision-making. However, the effectiveness and challenges of applying ICT to a broader decision-making context to implement CE in the built environment remain unexplored. Thus, this study provides a comprehensive overview of ICT-based decision support tools applied to implement construction CE. Through a systematic literature review, 62 papers published during 2010–2021 are selected, categorised, and analysed. First, the state-of-the-art of these tools is described. Then, a theoretical framework is proposed to articulate the mechanism of how ICT-based tools support circular construction/demolition practices throughout the building life-cycle. The research and development of ICT-based decision support tools are vital to successful construction CE implementation. However, scant attention has been devoted to integrating relevant technologies in a comprehensive information system by considering the complex landscape of CE. Based on critical literature analysis, challenges of applying ICT to support CE are identified from technology, business, and societal perspectives. Furthermore, recommendations for future research directions are provided including the conceptual reference architecture of a Circularity Information Platform that demonstrates the desirable technology integration. We encourage more interdisciplinary research to contribute to the development of a new research paradigm: Smart Circular Construction Ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number131335
JournalJournal of cleaner production
Early online date22 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2022


  • Circular economy
  • Construction industry
  • Decision support tool
  • Information and communication technologies
  • Systematic literature review
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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