Material value and reuse? The end-user couldn’t care less. Or otherwise?

demolitione lowFor you as an end-user without any influence, a building holds little value, so you will not care much about what happens to it later on. This puts you in direct opposition to the investor, although he has hardly any problems with throwing materials away. Currently, as an end-user of a building you know only one thing for sure: the amount of basic rent you pay for the available square footage and number of rooms. You have no insight in and little influence on the costs of energy and management. (As published earlier on the CircularCity website)

As far as materials interest you, you probably do not know what they are all about and even if you do know you have no say in the matter. You have no influence on the use of natural materials and get no guarantee whatsoever that the building will actually contribute to your health, well-being, happiness, and productivity. And those are very important reasons why you live and work there, aren’t they? Do you recognize this gap between yourself as an end-user on the one hand and the investor and the building world on the other? What can we do about this for your sake and for the sake of the circular economy?

Influence and responsibility

Your interests and those of investors vary in time and components of the building. As stated in the previous blog the investor is mainly interested in a return in the long run and wants to change as little as possible. As an end-user you live and work in a building for a relatively short period of time, while your needs change constantly. You want to adapt your living and working environment to these needs, and if that is not possible, you will move.

Looking at the components of a building, the interests of the investor lie in the value of solids such as the foundation, supporting structure, façade and roof – in other words, the outside. Your interest lies in the interior: the lay-out, workmanship, use of materials and products, kitchen, bathroom, level of daylight and use of installations for light, fresh air, heat, sound and communication. That is what you want to to be able to influence! That is what you want to have control over and take responsibility for, because all of these aspects have a major impact on your health, well-being, happiness and productivity.

Interests unraveled

In real estate for retail, the hotel and catering industry – and more increasingly also for health care – these interests have long since been unraveled. Buildings for retail and the hotel and catering industry are delivered as completed shells and are rented out empty. The tenant and end-user takes care of the fit-out himself, matching the formula and the desired image to make a successful business. Health care technology is developing rapidly and the health care landscape changes equally quickly, so properties must be adaptable. This is especially true for hospitals.

New techniques and equipment, linked to systems and the required spatial layout, demand major redevelopments, meaning that an average hospital in the Netherlands will last some twenty years before its next major redevelopment. In education we encounter similar issues. The didactic changes are enormous and many buildings have been made based on the educational concept from the 70s and 80s when we thought, ‘This is it!’ These buildings are, as it were, sucked vacuum around the former idea of their use. And that automatically means: end of use = end of building, which is a bad thing in the circular economy.

Good, Better Best

‘End of building’ we can easily prevent, or at least delay for a long time, by redistributing control and responsibility for both the outside and the inside. And not just in properties for retail, the hotel and catering industry, healthcare and education, but also in housing. Then you as an end-user will finally get value for your money. Consequently, you can invest in the best quality and no longer have to settle for what the investor delivers according to the minimum legal requirements.

This is a big step forward for you personally, from good to better and from better to best. Suppliers of fit-out solutions will be doing business directly with you and innovate according to your changing needs, including the (re)use of natural and technical materials. The investor no longer has to concern himself with those matters. And that means an end to current conflicts between you and the investor, which are now a regular occurrence stemming from your different interests in a building. You, who make the highest demands for the inside of a building, still have no control. It is high time for this to change.

Take the next step and share your experiences

Do you want to take a next step? Come to the FREE* Masterclass. We will work with practical tools to instantly implement the actions of my ebook in your organizational, fiscal or financial projects and organization.

Join the conversation

Do you know how to build that new way and what you need? What exactly do you need as an user to grow into an happy healthy user in the buildings of the circular economy? Share it in the comments below.

To your health and wellbeing,

Remko Zuidema

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