The construction industry as a Net-Zero enabler: driving circular economy and sustainability through innovation and change management

Submission deadline date: 14 July 2023

Overview of the special issue

The circular economy rose globally to $4.5 trillion by 2030 (World Economic Forum, 2019). This opens multiple opportunities for construction business in this domain. However, most construction businesses are still driven by traditional business models despite recent apparent growth in global aspirations towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (Kaklauskas et al., 2020; Treptow et al., 2022). Such aspirations to achieve SDGs, calls for significant changes in traditional business models in all sectors of the economy as all stakeholders align to address Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) objectives (Cambridge University, 2023).

A drawback for the construction industry in this is that the sector has been hitherto overly driven by profit-making. This means that the construction industry must rediscover itself and overcome its seeming traditional resistance to change, so the industry can uptake the opportunities that are associated with the circular economy. This special issue will provoke insights and evoke ideas for impactful solutions that would bring economic benefits to stakeholders of the Built Environment. Its broader goal is to promote commitment of the Built Environment industries towards achieving the objectives of ESG and SDGs. In a world that is influenced heavily by the changing priorities of Millennials and a Generation Z population, a circular construction economy will encourage and empower stakeholders as they strive to achieve such aspirations. 

There is hope for a circular construction economy as disruptive technologies become commonplace. In particular, the Internet of Things  (IoT) and Building Information Modelling (BIM) have been espoused to facilitate circular economy protocols and practices in the construction sector (Abbasnejad et al., 2021; Matthews et al., 2018; Rahnamayiezekavat et al., 2022). However, the challenge is that their widespread adoption is an uphill task; slow, daunting and still incipient. Whilst recent advances in disruptive technologies have shown potential to transform the construction industry – e.g., the deployment of ISO 19650 (international standard for digitizing and managing information about construction projects), there is limited awareness amongst academics and professionals of the practicality of disruptive technologies and infrastructures that support their deployment (Olatunji et al., 2021; Ramanayaka et al., 2022). On the other hand, these developments are generic. It is important that they are evaluated and adapted appropriately in the context of a circular construction economy.

Themed issues of some journals may have previously kindled interest in this subject to some extent. However, potential impact could be weakened by a specific focus, say, if constrained by silo-like perspectives. This Special Issue intends to bring multiple perspectives and applications of circular construction economy principles and protocols under one umbrella with a well-defined focus. The Special Issue is expected to generate and pollinate synergies across various shades of scholarly and technical opinions on the circular construction economy. It is expected to serve as the timely and very effective platform that the construction industry requires to deliver novel solutions that can deepen its capacity for circular economy and sustainability.

Prevalent explanatory research is inadequate to fulfil this need (Holmström et al., 2009; Ramanayaka et al., 2022; Zhang & Van Burg, 2020). Therefore, this Special Issue invites original contributions, including and not limited to studies that report alternative exploratory methodologies which deepen theoretical and technical knowledge about the circular economy in the context of the construction industry. This Special Issue also hopes to address relevant connected areas and any pertinent shortfalls therein.

Objectives of the special issue

This Special Issue intends to inspire  authors to develop scholarly articles that address the following: 

  1. To evaluate how circular economy model(s) could assist the construction industry to establish a greener value chain by transforming traditional business models into compliant models. 

  2. To evaluate sustainable financing initiatives that are appropriate to allow Built Environment stakeholders to transform the ‘finance’ and ‘operations’ cycles of construction businesses in harmony.

  3. To investigate theoretical and practical frameworks that assist project developers and their supply chain to become more competitive, and enhance stakeholder awareness so that parties contribute to ESG and SDG objectives. 

  4. To propose and evaluate emerging project and asset information requirements due to change of organisational information requirements by project owners and sponsors to fulfil net-zero compliance. 

  5. To discuss the applicability of disruptive technologies and processes to fulfil project and asset information requirements by the supply chain (in association with objective 4). 

  6. To promote methodologies that can assist built environment researchers to create and develop novel solutions that can transform the construction industry to become a net-zero enabler as well as accelerate applications of circular economy and sustainability within the industry.

Anticipated themes 

The following is an indicative non-exhaustive list of anticipated sub-themes that authors could address in this Special Issue, all being in the context of the main theme: 

  • Transforming liner construction business models to a circular economy  

  • Opportunities for, and barriers to, greener construction value chains 

  • Sustainable financing initiatives in the built environment 

  • Addressing the challenge of triple-Ps (Profit, Plant and People) in planning, designing and operations  

  • Circular built environment

  • Climate action in the built environment

  • Sustainable cities and communities 

  • Sustainable operation and management of facilities

  • Green building systems

  • Disruptive technologies and associated enablers of greener value chain 

  • Waste management

  • Clean and affordable energy 

  • Responsible consumption and production 

  • Disaster resilient built environment 

  • Parentship to achieve sustainable goals 

  • Design science methodology

  • Social costs of circular economy  

We also welcome submissions on any related topics in the context of the above sub-themes.

Submission information

Submissions to BEPAM must be through ScholarOne Manuscripts. 

Author guidelines must be strictly followed. 

Wordcount limit is 8,500 words. Please also see the author guidelines for the computation method, including the need to add (a) the total wordcount of all Tables and Figures (with each Table or Figure counted as 280 words), to (b) the wordcount of all text including the Abstract, References and any Appendices (if the latter is in text); and ensure the Grand Total [of (a) and (b)] is within the strict 8,500 limit.

Submitted articles must not have been published previously, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Interested authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue The construction industry as a Net-Zero enabler: driving circular economy and sustainability through innovation and change management at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to “Please select the issue you are submitting to”.

Key dates

Papers for this Special Issue should be submitted through the above portal on or before 14 July 2023.

The above is a strict deadline and any new submissions received after the deadline cannot be considered for this Special Issue.

Any inquiries should be emailed to Dr. Chamil Erik Ramanayaka via [email protected]   


Abbasnejad, B., Nepal, M. P., Ahankoob, A., Nasirian, A., & Drogemuller, R. (2021). Building Information Modelling (BIM) adoption and implementation enablers in AEC firms: a systematic literature review. Architectural Engineering and Design Management, 17(5-6), 411-433.
Cambridge University. (2023). Circular Economy and Sustainability Strategies [Executive Education]. In Judge Business School (Ed.).
Holmström, J., Ketokivi, M., & Hameri, A. P. (2009). Bridging practice and theory: A design science approach. Decision sciences, 40(1), 65-87.
Kaklauskas, A., Dias, W. P. S., Binkyte-Veliene, A., Abraham, A., Ubarte, I., Randil, O. P. C., Siriwardana, C. S. A., Lill, I., Milevicius, V., Podviezko, A., & Puust, R. (2020). Are environmental sustainability and happiness the keys to prosperity in Asian nations? Ecological Indicators, 119, 106562.
Matthews, J., Love, P. E. D., Mewburn, J., Stobaus, C., & Ramanayaka, C. (2018). Building information modelling in construction: insights from collaboration and change management perspectives. Production Planning & Control, 29(3), 202-216.
Olatunji, O. A., Lee, J. J. S., Chong, H.-Y., & Akanmu, A. A. (2021). Building information modelling (BIM) penetration in quantity surveying (QS) practice. Built Environment Project and Asset Management, 11(5), 888-902.
Rahnamayiezekavat, P., Mourad, M., Mostafa, S., Moon, S., & Senaratne, S. (2022). Enriching BIM with Unmanned Aerial Systems Data for Enhancing Construction Management Operations. Sustainability, 14(18), 11362.
Ramanayaka, C. D. E., Olatunji, O. A., & Weerasuriya, A. U. (2022). Motivating immersive BIM uptake through user attitude: analysis of initial solution using design science approach. Built Environment Project and Asset Management, 12(4), 630-648.
Treptow, I. C., Kneipp, J. M., Gomes, C. M., Kruglianskas, I., Favarin, R. R., & Fernandez-Jardón, C. M. (2022). Business Model Innovation for Sustainable Value Creation in Construction Companies. Sustainability, 14(16), 10101.
World Economic Forum. (2019). Making the $4.5 trillion circular economy opportunity a reality. Retrieved 23/03 from
Zhang, S. X., & Van Burg, E. (2020). Advancing entrepreneurship as a design science: developing additional design principles for effectuation. Small Business Economics, 55, 607-626.