Policies and Standards


BAMB´s mission is to enable the shift to a circular building sector. EU as well as many national, regional and local governments see the advantages and need for a circular economy. Environment, jobs, climate change and resource security are some of the often quoted incentives for authorities to strive for a circular economy.

Governments on different levels can affect preconditions for a circular building sector through different incentives, policies, standards and regulations.

They can notably:

  • Regulate – through the implementation of hard legislation
  • Realise – by using mechanisms such as public procurement to drive change
  • Stimulate – by providing incentives and encouraging experimentation
  • Inspire – by providing leadership, vision and the dissemination of good practices

Learning process

Throughout BAMB, the impact of current policies, standards and regulations on the implementation of circular and dynamic buildings was considered and analysed. Research was undertaken at different policy levels (EU, national, regional, and local) and for different links in the circular value network. Best practices from around the world which illustrate behaviours and mechanisms that support the move to a dynamic and circular built environment were gathered. Success factors and gaps were identified.

Lessons learned through the BAMB pilot projects and other topic areas shed light on how policies, standards and public authorities can act as barriers or opportunities. For example, difficulties have been faced when applying for building permits as current rules are not reflective of circular ambitions for reversibility and quick adaptations, and the rigidity of building codes have made it challenging for some suppliers to develop innovative leasing models for their products.

Such lessons learned through the pilots, impact assessments of select policies already in place, the exploration of best practices worldwide, and exchanges with various stakeholders, via policy platforms and the BAMB Special Interest Group on Policies and Standards, fed into the development of policy recommendations to better support a circular built environment. See BAMB report “Framework for Policies, Regulations and Standards” (pdf 4 MB, January 2019).

The preparatory step taken to develop this framework was to analyse policies and legislation in place in a selection of EU countries at local, state, and EU-level. A look at a vast range of topics and types of instruments identified a number of key opportunities and barriers such as policy fragmentation, an energy focus which may unintentionally hinder materials efficiency, and a static vision of buildings being embedded in current legislation.  See BAMB report “D1 Synthesis of the state of the art: Key barriers and opportunities for Materials Passports and Reversible Building Design in the current system” (pdf 4 MB, November 2016).

Key policy recommendations

Key recommendations which should be taken into consideration when planning future policy and regulation for the circular economy include the following:

  • Existing EU level laws on energy performance, waste management and construction product regulations should be extended to support the implementation of dynamic and reversible buildings by integrating Materials Passports and Reversible Building Design Principles;
  • Clear and measurable objectives should be set;
  • External environmental and societal costs should be integrated in the value calculation of any new policy;
  • Public procurement should be used to promote change and should be harnessed as a mechanism to internalise external costs. Public Procurement should also support new types of business models and ownership which will lead to other types of collaboration;
  • The use of a mixture of legislative, taxation and budgetary measures should be considered in order to promote the transition to dynamic buildings;
  • Authorities should ensure that room for experimentation is included in policy and regulation;
  • A collaborative approach in developing policy should be taken to ensure that policy changes take into account the reality of stakeholder groups and that targets set for actors are appropriate and likely to be adopted.
  • A complete list of recommendations can be found in the Framework.