Applications of Industry 4.0 digital technologies towards a construction circular economy: gap analysis and conceptual framework

Faris Elghaish, Sandra T. Matarneh, David John Edwards, Farzad Pour Rahimian, Hatem El-Gohary, Obuks Ejohwomu

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This paper aims to explore the emerging relationship between Industry 4.0 (I4.0) digital technologies (e.g. blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI)) and the construction industry’s gradual transition into a circular economy (CE) system to foster the adoption of circular economy in the construction industry.

A critical and thematic analysis conducted on 115 scientific papers reveals a noticeable growth in adopting digital technologies to leverage a CE system. Moreover, a conceptual framework is developed to show the interrelationship between different I4.0 technologies to foster the implantation of CE in the construction industry.

Most of the existing bodies of research provide conceptual solutions rather than developing workable applications and the future of smart cities. Moreover, the coalescence of different technologies is highly recommended to enable tracking of building assets’ and components’ (e.g. fixtures and fittings and structural components) performance, which enables users to optimize the salvage value of components reusing or recycling them just in time and extending assets’ operating lifetime. Finally, circular supply chain management must be adopted for both new and existing buildings to realise the industry's CE ambitions. Hence, further applied research is required to foster CE adoption for existing cities and infrastructure that connects them.

This paper investigates the interrelationships between most emerging digital technologies and circular economy and concludes with the development of a conceptual digital ecosystem to integrate IoT, blockchain and AI into the operation of assets to direct future practical research applications
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-670
JournalConstruction Innovation
Issue number3
Early online date02 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 08 Jun 2022


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