Revamping construction supply chain processes with circular economy strategies: A systematic literature review

Qian Chen, Haibo Feng, Borja Garcia de Soto

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The construction sector has suffered from low productivity and considerable wastes due to the fragmentation of its value chain, the large number of diverse stakeholders and the complex nature of the projects. A promising way to reduce construction wastes and encourage value chain integration is to implement circular economy (CE) strategies. Many recent studies in the fields of construction management and sustainability have advanced CE from multiple perspectives. There remains room to refine such knowledge by clearly identifying all the possible strategies and drivers to be carried out in practice that help stakeholders slow, narrow, and close resource loops. A systematic review was conducted in this study to examine the relevant literature on construction circularity to address the knowledge gap. A total of 61 relevant publications in the past ten years were rigorously selected and reviewed in-depth based on an iterative coding procedure. The phase-specific circular economy strategies were classified into five categories: 1) Design phase (including design with LCA, design with reused materials, design with recycled materials, and design for disassembly); 2) Manufacturing phase (including industrial symbiosis); 3) Construction phase (including lean construction methods); 4) Operation and maintenance phase (including service life planning); and 5) End-of-Life phase (including diversion of wastes). Internal drivers were identified to consist of BIM (Building Information Modelling)-based design and evaluation, IoT (Internet of Things)-based material tracking, predictive data analytics, and logistics network optimization. External drivers included material certifications and legislation, financial incentives, market maturity and material flow balance, and social engagement. The review revealed that the BIM-based and LCA-based methods have been widely used; however, logistics network optimization to allow industrial symbiosis was not adequately addressed in the existing literature. The strategies and drivers were also composed into a framework to guide the future implementation of circular construction projects. The framework could help construction researchers and project participants clearly understand circular resource flows across various construction supply chain stages and thus help them to keep up with the global action of “Net Zero Emission” by 2050.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number130240
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
StatePublished - Feb 10 2022


  • BIM
  • Circular economy
  • Construction supply chain
  • Deconstruction
  • LCA
  • Recycle
  • Reuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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