REUSE brick wall - reusing instead of consuming

Initial situation/motivation

As part of a two-year project funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG), a team led by consortium leader Wienerberger AG is working together with partners from Graz University of Technology and Wienerberger Österreich GmbH to develop a sustainable building system. The motivation of the project partners is to reduce the waste of functional building products. The lifespan of bricks, a valuable resource, often exceeds that of buildings. However, buildings are not currently dismantled and the materials reused, but are generally demolished and the building products used destroyed as a result. This is being counteracted by a new development.

Contents and objectives

The aim of the research project is therefore to decouple the service life of the brick as a building material from that of the building. This will be achieved by developing new connection solutions for precast brick walls. If it is possible to develop non-destructive, detachable connections, prefabricated brick elements can be used several times and thus the service life of the brick can be fully utilised. Not only the users of the building benefit from this solution, as the building has a higher residual value at the end of its service life, but also our environment. The reuse of entire brick walls significantly reduces the consumption of resources for new buildings.

Methodological approach

The cradle-to-cradle building concept will fulfil the highest standards in terms of sustainability and resource conservation. All key areas for the implementation of a circular economy in the construction sector are taken into account:

  • The research project is supported by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency as part of the basic programme Partner Application for Research Partners.
  • Choice of durable building materials with a low CO2 footprint
  • Maximum conservation of resources through optimised prefabricated construction, low emissions in the use phase, extension of service life and subsequent reuse
  • Development of a construction system that enables effective dismantling (non-destructive detachable connections)

  • Use of BIM technologies in planning, building utilisation and demolition (digital material store)

  • Determining the impact of all measures on the life cycle assessment and costs of a building over its entire life cycle

The overall concept is designed for buildings with a short service life (a few decades), such as supermarkets. The newly developed technologies will be tested on a small sample building during construction, demolition and reconstruction.


Project duration

Contact person from IBPSC
Ass.-Prof. BM Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Hans Hafellner, Graz University of Technology, Institute for Building Physics, Services and Construction

Project partners

Wienerberger Austria GmbH

Wienerberger Bausysteme

Institut für Tragwerksentwurf ITE



The research project is supported by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency as part of the basic programme Partner Application for Research Partners.