Circular Standards

In this research project, the technical design of standardized constructions details is the subject of investigation. Construction details will be researched, analyzed and evaluated and (further) developed or revised with regard to the parameter "recyclability". The expected result consists of circular-standard-details and the identification of problem areas and opportunities.

Starting point / motivation:

Circular buildings primarily require an appropriate joint between components with different functions and uses, between short- and long-lived components, and between materially heterogeneous components. The requirements for these nodes are flexibility through an easily separable composite, ease of maintenance, accessibility, and standardization. And it applies to the future-oriented renovation of existing buildings as well as to circulation-oriented new construction. 
Current construction practice is based on methods such as casting, welding, gluing, foaming, and sealing [1], which usually results in structures that cannot be integrated into a circular economy or adapted to future needs, or only at great cost.
In the planning process, construction practice is determined based on construction details (detailed drawings). The planning of these details - and thus the underlying design and system definition - takes place at an early stage in the planning process and is "only" further elaborated and refined during the execution planning. As the actual products to be used are not yet known at this early planning stage, a general requirement for these products and their constructive composition is used. This is done through lead products and associated standardized design catalogues.

Contents and goals:

Standardized design catalogues are the result of many years of experience of design challenges, technical difficulties and liabilities. They form the basis of common construction practice, but are also constantly tested, renewed and, where necessary, replaced by more reliable designs as construction and materials technology evolves. This is where the “Circular Standards” exploratory project comes in. The goal is to develop circular “standardized” construction details, and to identify and present their problems and potential. In addition, through ongoing consultation with representatives of the construction industry (design, production, fabrication), the project team and the experts themselves are seeking to substantially increase the knowledge base on circular standard detailing. 


The project team is developing "standardized" and demountable details of building structures based on architectural and structural design methods. To this end, standard detail catalogues currently available on the Austrian market will be researched and analyzed, details will be selected for further processing and evaluated with regard to their recyclability. These details are then developed or revised and evaluated again. Experts from the construction industry are involved in this process in expert discussions to increase the depth of the content.

Expected results:

The exploratory study "Circular Standards" aims at the development and illustration of alternative (deconstructible) constructions and design approaches. In order to enable a more or less non-destructive recovery of the building materials or components. The expected outcomes are circular-standard-details with the illustration of problem areas and potentials, as well as a broader knowledge base in the project team and among experts from the construction industry. 

[1] Umweltbundesamt (Hg.): Instrumente zur Wiederverwendung von Bauteilen und hochwertigen Verwertung von Baustoffen; Dessau-Roßlau, 2015. S. 74



Project duration: Oktober 2023 - September 2024

Funding: The Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG)

Project team: Marisol Vidal MartinezMatthias RaudaschlClemens Berlach