Journal of Circular Economy

An applied scholarly journal on circular economy

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QR Code-Based Material Passports for Component Reuse Across Life Cycle Stages in Small-Scale Construction

Brandon S. Byers , Catherine De Wolf


The rise of attention to the circular economy in the built environment faces a pervasive problem that buildings are designed to last longer than the careers of those who built them. Predicting how to best preserve and convey information on building construction and materials from the beginning to the end of life is difficult. This paper explores the impact of track and trace technology, specifically quick-response (QR) codes, on reusing elements at the end of a building’s life. In two case studies, we tested the effectiveness of using a material passport (MP) in small-scale construction, providing insights into the digital and physical processes. Ultimately, QR codes are shown to be good stores of static information but are not optimized for dynamic process information during construction life cycles. Despite the challenges of ensuring sustainable, circular construction, the results of this study should motivate those in the construction industry to implement and improve these processes in anticipation of future policy, environmental, and economic demands.


Circular Construction, Circular Economy, Material Passport, Product Passport, Reuse, Construction 4.0


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