In a move towards more circular construction, Flemish Construction Confederation has launched an online sharing platform, Werflink, in collaboration with construction company BESIX, Circular Flanders and FLOOW2.
Construction companies within Belgium can now share unused construction equipment, materials, s and freight space with each other through werflink.
The purpose to make intelligent use of available resources at a local level thanks using the matching platform. This way waste can be prevented, material and resources will not get lost and costs can be saved since there is no need for new material to be purchased etc.
At the moment the initiative has started with an extensive testing phase in cooperation with a series of construction companies in Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia. In addition, companies in the Northern of France could participate in this initiative as well.
The basic idea of this project is to match supply and demand between construction companies and sites from the same region to avoid unnecessary transport.
Construction companies with excessive materials on their sites, with machines that are temporarily standing idle or with available freight space can be linked to contractors who are looking for this capacity.
Both parties just have to create an account to make their supply and demand visible. From there on, the construction companies can place advertisements or respond to them and finally settle the transaction.
According to the developers, the system provides three key benefits:
- Financial: cost savings by renting or borrowing equipment temporarily instead of purchasing new equipment and materials, and the realisation of additional turnover by renting out materials and services or selling it to fellow companies
- Sustainable: efficient use of existing products and materials leads to less new purchase, less new production and therefore less waste of raw materials and energy
- Social: shared use of equipment, facilities and services on a local level stimulates a culture of local collaboration and connection.
Because new system needs the support of the entire sector, which the developers concede may take a while, they will start with a pilot project which will last until June 2019.
During this period, it is possible to match and monitor available resources with sites nearby. Almost thirty interested partners have signed up, both large construction companies as well as smaller contractors with various building expertise.
Once users companies build experience, it is hoped that the number of participating contractors and construction companies could take off.
“Werflink is another step forward in taking the circular character within the construction sector to a higher level,” said by Marc Dillen, general director of the Flemish Construction Confederation.
“In addition to re-using waste streams, on which we deploy already for a longer time, we now have an instrument to use the available equipment, materials and resources more efficient within the sector. After all, it is an initiative that is being set up at Belgian level, but with a focus on a more intense interaction between activities at local level. With cost savings on production and transport as a result,” he continued.
Kim Tjoa, Co-Founder FLOOW2 added: “Werflink is the first sharing platform for the construction sector in the world. It’s an excellent example of how companies, interest groups and local authorities can perform miracles towards transitioning to a circular economy by collaborating, connecting and sharing.”
Erwin Dresen, Lead Buyer at BESIX explained. “Recently, BESIX launched its future vision 'BESIX FORWARD': We consider our role in society as supporting economic, social and environmental progress and aiming for better quality of life for people. Our purpose: 'Excel in creating sustainable solutions for a better world'. For BESIX, sustainability is therefore an aspect of corporate social responsibility and management fully supports this.”
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