What is the Material Passport and what is it used for?

The Material Passport is the identity document of materials, and constitutes the first tool in the making of decisions of the circular construction that we carry out at Construcía.

With it we can identify, quantify and situate materials and products in the construction space for their correct recovery at the end of the cycle of use.


Each brick, board or piece of glass in a building has a value. These materials are normally not re-used after the restoration or demolition of a building.  On the contrary, the immense majority are discarded and end up as waste materials in a landfill.

“Waste is material without an identity. Thomas Rau, author of Material Matters.

The Material Passport in circular construction

The circular economy on which our Lean2Cradle® Construcía  methodology is based promotes the permanent circulation of materials, or in other words, their cyclability. That is, it assumes that the materials and elements that comprise a construction will be re-used indefinitely after fulfilling their purpose in the building, in a regenerative system that evolves and is enriched.

So that this process is done correctly and the materials keep their value in time, we need to know what they are made of, characterize them and determine if they are healthy or not. We need to give them an identity.

Here is where the material passport comes into play, the tool that registers all the information necessary about the materials that a building contains and measures its impact on the four values of circular construction: health, cyclability, residual value and productivity.

Building as quarries

With this tool, buildings are converted into quarries and therefore, the materials cease to be future wastes and are transformed into nutrients with a quantifiable value in their next life cycles. This means that the materials then become an investment, an asset that is placed temporarily in a place, and once it has fulfilled its purpose there it is assigned to its next use; and so on, indefinitely.

To know the cyclable capacity of a material, it is necessary to know the raw materials of which it is composed. According to its components, it is classified as a biological or technical nutrient, which determines how it will be re-used in the future: returning to the earth in the first case, and to the production cycle in the second.

The Material Passport allows the traceability of the materials, indicates their location in the building and the best way of extracting them. In addition, it includes a manual of deconstruction specifying the channels of cyclability available to ensure the recovery of the raw materials and their value.

The Material Passport is the basic tool of circular construction


And finally, but no less important, it also estimates the economic value of each material according to the planned channels of recovery and analyses the possible alternatives.

Circular construction would not be feasible without this tool. Thanks to the Material Passport informed decisions can be made in the selection of materials and the level of circularity of the buildings. 


Benefits of the Material Passport

      • The building is converted into a quarry with materials that can be re-used indefinitely, with the maximum quality possible.
      • Waste is prevented.
      • The extraction of raw materials is reduced.
      • Problems associated with the toxicity of materials and changes in future regulations are prevented.
      • It maintains the value of materials, products and components over time.
      • Incentive to the supply chain to produce sustainable and circular construction materials and products.
      • Facilitates for developers and directors the selection of sustainable and circular construction materials.
      • It promotes inverse logistics and the recovery of products, materials and components.

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