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SWECO conducts sircular surveying for Bergen Municipality

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Reuse surveying is an effective way to get an overview of what resources you have available, so It's easier to plan new sustainable construction projects in line with environmental goals and requirements for sustainability reporting.

In 2021 Green Building Council and the Norwegian Directorate of Public Construction and Property launched a guide for reuse surveying and ordering for property owners who want assistance in carrying out the surveying of materials for reuse. Two organisations who have collaborated on such a project are the consulting company SWECO, which has carried out a survey of Bjørnarhallen sports hall for Bergen municipality. We have interviewed both of them.
We spoke with Vegard Ådnanes and Kristian Svela Øglænd from SWECO about their experiences with reuse surveying and the Loopfront tool.


Sircular Surveying for Bergen Municipality

You have surveyed Bjørnarhallen sports hall for Bergen Municipality, why was it important to carry out the surveying for the Municipality? Does this survey provide any value for other projects?

The municipality has ambitions to set fairly strict requirements for all projects in the future and they will require re-use surveying in future projects. All reuse projects provide more experience. For each project, the more creative you become in the thought process when it comes to new ways to use the materials. Meanwhile you become a contributor in competence sharing in the industry.

Have you carried out reuse surveys before with other customers? And how was the process compared to surveying in Loopfront?

Before and after this project, we have carried out reuse surveys. For example an office building at Sandsli where apartment blocks were going to be built. We had to survey how much of the building stock could be reused both in and outside the planning area. The survey was carried out in the form of a report with overview tables. It was concluded that little could be used again in the new project, but it was possible to sell to external organizations or use in other projects. We have also carried out a re-use survey of an older hotel building in the center of Bergen in relation to an environmental survey. The hotel is to be converted into an office building, but there was little that could be reused in the planned area. It was more relevant to reuse e.g. ceiling tiles, doors, ventilation systems, but possibly in another project.

Circular Surveying Tool

How was your experience using Loopfront for surveying?

We have gained good experience of using Loopfront as a tool, which is both user-friendly and has a high level of detail. You have the opportunity to insert a lot of information that is valuable in retrospect, and it has been an educational process. Everything from facade walls and windows to ceiling tiles, system ceilings, grandstand chairs, ventilation systems and support systems have been surveyed. 41 material cards (various types of materials) were registered, corresponding to 8617 available units. We spent one day on the survey, and there were three people who split up. Two on re-use surveying and one on environmental surveying. As soon as you got used to the Loopfront platform, it went very well. We also used an inspection tool on mobile that we use to take pictures with during environmental surveys. The inspection tool helps us to locate where in the building we e.g. have taken pictures and where we have taken samples. We first carried out a survey on the basis of what can be used in the new hall that is going to be built. In retrospect, we have also included other things that will be used elsewhere. Among other things, the carrying system was first considered uninteresting as it is too small for the new hall. In retrospect, there is an idea that the support system could be used to possibly establish a new warehouse for the municipality. This shows that it is worth surveying everything that looks usable, not just what has a function in the planned project.

A visual survey was made on site, and more information was added afterwards. It has been added in the description that some of the materials need further inspection. Even though we have not had technical assessments on-site, having good photos and descriptions mean that you can send in experts when needed to assess the condition, who then can send information back to the Municipality.
By talking to experts, you will find several uses for the materials. You have to think outside the box, and can find a lot that's useful to have in stock.
Among other things, porcelain washbasins that are energy-intensive to produce, but a great necessity for. They can be used in old buildings, as well as new ones, where they need to be replaced. They must be dismantled without being damaged, and can be stored and used as spare parts.


Consultancy Firm Facilitates Circular Surveying


What expertise can consulting companies like you contribute with when it comes to reuse surveying?

Sweco offers both environmental surveying and reuse surveying. On assignments, we often take both surveyings at the same time. The time it takes varies from project to project, but in a survey you usually use 10-20% of the time for reuse surveying, and the rest for environmental surveying. We see that it depends on whether the assessment can be done visually or you have to collect documentation. In particular, older buildings' surveys will be very comprehensive. It is not the consultants who set requirements for the level of detail, but the customer. So the level of detail in the Loopfront will reflect the requirements they have. It depends on what goal the customer has in advance of the project. It is also about whether the material should be used internally in the organization or externally. When selling used materials, you must have a higher level of documentation.

We have knowledge of the materials. As you take on more assignments, creative competence is developed within reuse areas. Sweco also has a broad competence network (many professional environments) that has the competence required to make good and qualified re-use assessments. A good re-use survey needs expertise when it comes to environment, condition and reuse, and Sweco has it all!

 "This shows that it is worth surveying everything that looks usable, not just what has a function in the planned project."



SWECO surveys Bjørnarhallen sports hall for Bergen Municipality

After the meeting with Sweco, we also interviewed Henrik Ravndal, who is Climate and Environmental Advisor in Bergen Municipality, to hear how they have experienced getting assistance with reuse surveying in their project.


You have had Bjørnarhallen surveyed for reuse. Why was it important to carry out the surveying of the hall and what are the municipality's ambitions for the project? Can this survey provide value for other projects?

Bjørnarhallen was well suited for reuse surveying as the project is in the early phase (regulation work). The main intention with the survey was to gain experience with ordering (according to the Green Building Council's guide) and implementation. The experiences have been the basis for ordering and carrying out the larger project Midtbygda nursing home. Here, a nursing home will be demolished and a new one  will be built:!/. The ambitions for Bjørnarhallen in particular are not clear yet, but the overall ambition is increased reuse of materials, furniture and


Have you requested re-use surveying before in other projects? How was it solved then, and how do you see reuse surveys being carried out in the future?

Reuse surveying is demanded in all demolition / rehabilitation projects now. We have used different suppliers for inspection with reports, and different digital databases.

What is your impression of Loopfront and the surveying that was done in the platform?

We see the need to have a digital database in the future, and it is being investigated whether we can establish a warehouse for temporary storage of materials.

Consider This When Ordering Circular Surveying

What is important to you when it comes to the reuse surveying that is ordered?

Surveying must be done in time for the architect and the project group to have a good opportunity to implement the reuse materials in the design and layout of a new building at the same location - or a new building at another location. What we are looking for further in the reuse work is the work after surveying. A reuse survey mainly provides an overall potential for reuse - there are limits to what can be revealed on a day of registration. In general, the following applies in our projects:
  • The first priority is to preserve buildings, through rehabilitation and transformation - rather than demolishing.
  • If demolition or rehabilitation is relevant, materials, building parts and fixtures must be surveyed through a reuse study.
  • The projects will be planned for future reuse. This means that it must be designed for disassembly - here we have seen an example of a disassembly plan being made as part of the design, with instructions for disassembly / selective demolition
  • It must also be built so that the materials are robust and have a long lifespan.1-2
    Henrik Ravndal (Climate and Environmental Advisor in Bergen Municipality)

    Do you offer circular surveying as a service? Or does your organization want assistance in surveying materials through Loopfront? Contact us to get started!