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CIRCULARITY BARRIERS IN SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED CONSTRUCTION ENTERPRISES (SMEs): A U.S. MULTI-CASE STUDY

thesis
posted on 2024-05-03, 16:02 authored by Jesutoba Temiloluwa AdemiloyeJesutoba Temiloluwa Ademiloye

Circularity or circular economy (CE) offers an approach to creating a closed-loop system toward minimizing waste and maximizing resource efficiency. Such a solution is vital in construction as it is known for its substantial resource consumption and waste generation. Despite the growing adoption of this framework in the construction industry, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) lag behind their larger counterparts. This study examines the barriers to implementing circularity practices within SMEs in the United States (U.S.). Through a comprehensive investigation involving case studies comprised of company data and semi-structured interviews with industry professionals from three varying-sized construction firms, the research elucidates client preferences, financial constraints, supply chain fragmentation, and a prevalent skills gap as significant obstacles to the adoption of circularity in construction SMEs. Large enterprises with more resources exhibit a distinct set of challenges, particularly in aligning their established practices with the emerging paradigms of CE. Despite the hurdles, circularity's potential economic, environmental, and societal benefits motivate SMEs and large enterprises alike. The research contributes to the broader discourse on sustainable construction by identifying strategic, operational, and market-based factors stymieing CE adoption. It recommends financial incentives, regulatory support, and increased stakeholder collaboration to overcome identified barriers. The study also underscores the need for continued research to advance the understanding and practical application of circularity principles within the construction industry.

History

Degree Type

  • Master of Science

Department

  • Construction Management Technology

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Soowon Chang

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Anthony Sparkling

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. Luciana de Cresce El Debs

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