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On the 23rd and 24th of September 2021, the members of the Topic Group Construction gathered for a two day event in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Because of the challenging topic, more EFL members and even some non-members joined the occasion. Social housing organisation Eigen Haard was a perfect host and provided a great programme. The programme consisted of two outstanding speakers, project visits, a workshop and presentations of our members themed around circularity in the construction business.

During these two days, a total of 30 persons joined the meeting (in person or online), representing the following organisations: TU Delft, Habitare Plus, Gewobag, Vilogia, L&Q Group, Zonnige Kempen, Inter-Vilvoordse, Eigen Haard, Chill Services, Drees & Sommer, and Paris Habitat. We would like to thank Gerbrand van Rootselaar of Eigen Haard especially for his perfect organisation and hosting skills.

The first day: prof. dr. Vincent Gruis, presentations and project visits in Amsterdam
On the first day, eminent prof. dr. Vincent Gruis of TU Delft, expert in circularity in the built environment, was our keynote speaker. TU Delft is also the lead partner of Interreg NWE funded project CHARM. This project is about developing circular strategies in the built environment, reducing waste and upcycling used materials. Vincent Gruis presented on the basics of circularity and circular housing, and showed us various examples and circular approaches. Then, members of the Topic Group showed the national state of play and highlighted some circular pilot projects in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom and France. We visited Patch 22, Top-Up, and Circl, and got guided tours and detailed information on the construction of the buildings and the circular measures, which has been taken.

The second day: architect Thomas Rau, workshop and open discussion
On the second day, prominent architect Thomas Rau was our keynote speaker. His presentation on treating (raw) materials in the light of performance, using a circular mindset, and with the knowledge of limited availability was spot on. We then spoke about how to make our organisations (more) aware of the need of becoming sustainable and circular. We can make a massive impact, taking into account that the organisations we represent and work for are large and/or frontrunner in the national social housing sector. The results of this workshop, with the new insights and experiences of the inspirational meeting, were being exchanged among each other and discussed.

Next meeting’s topic
Eric Danesse – chairman of the Topic Group Construction and Chief Design Officer in Charge of Innovation and International Relations at Vilogia – asked all participants to feed and decide on a topic for the next meeting. He thanked the host and all participants for a great and inspirational two days.

See you next time! Then, the topic of the event will be: flexibility of flats and mobility of tenant groups.

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