Kiro Tamer, Head of Environmental Sustainability at Keltbray discusses the evolution of circular economy practices within construction, the importance of reducing reliance on linear economies, and the future of sustainable approaches like partial demolition and remodelling.
At Keltbray, Kiro is responsible for driving our sustainability strategy, overseeing carbon performance, fostering innovation for environmental impact reduction, and managing trade effluent licenses and on-site power needs.
Could you provide some insight into your background and how you have found yourself to where you are now within Keltbray.
My background starts in motorsports. I have always been fascinated by the engineering needed to make something better and in terms of motorsports, lighter, faster, and more reliable… however in 2010 I decided to apply this passion to make industrial operations more efficient and reduce the relevant impact. Fast forward 13 years, I still have the same passion for making things more efficient but its now applied to finding solutions to building new without the need for new materials and to carry out the operations required in the cleanest and most effective way.
What developments have you been involved with in your work that has incorporated circular economy practices?
One of the services the environmental team provides, is the pre-demolition audit, this planning requirement has been developed into a circular economy tool to identify what materials can be recovered and provide these to our clients. Depending on the component, it must be removed and processes in a certain way, therefore we have invested heavily in creating the right partnerships to optimise such opportunities.
Why do you think embracing circular economy practices is important within the construction and engineering sectors?
This is hugely important as we cannot keep relying on a linear economy where we use and dispose, we are currently using 1.8 earths worth of resources, land, materials, agriculture etc. to sustain our societies needs and this is simply not sustainable.
How have you seen the circular economy evolve in your years in the industry?
Over the last 24 months, we have observed a huge development, both from developers demands and policy. The GLA (Greater London Authority) and CoL (City of London) has released policies where demolition should be the last option.
What challenges have you faced in implementing its practice/principles on projects?
One of the biggest challenges of circular economy is a demand for the components which come out of a building at the end of its life. If there isn’t a need at the time of removal, then it either needs to be stored or it needs to be processed as waste.
What do you think could be done to better facilitate the adoption of circular economy practices and embed them within projects going forward?
Better integration of the existing components into the new design. If it is specified into the new building, then there is a much higher chance for material and equipment reuse.
How do you see the circular economy space evolving in the near- and long-term future?
Partial demolition, remodelling and cut and carve will become more popular. This will be in line with policy and will enable a significantly less embodied carbon then building completely new.