Organisers: Prof. Markus Knobloch,  Anna-Lena Bours & Sara Uszball, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany

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Summary: In a world with limited and slow natural renewal, the protection and conservation of natural resources are essential to ensure suitable habitats and good living conditions for all living creatures. In this context, the reduction of the environmental impacts of the construction sector, which still is responsible for a high amount of global carbon emissions and the consumption of finite resources, is a key issue to meet the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to net zero. To protect the environment sustainably and deal with problems such as population growth, urbanization, and aging infrastructure, the REduce, REmanufacture/retrofit, REcycle, and REuse waste management hierarchy must become a guiding principle for structural engineers. However, the current recycling practices for building and construction materials, such as structural steel or concrete, still require additional energy and at least minor carbon emissions must be accepted. Hence, recycling alone will not achieve the goal of a circular economy with net zero climate-relevant emissions, but retrofitting and particularly structural reuse of entire components in new buildings or infrastructures are essential.

This special session addresses the challenges for structural engineers arising from the structural reuse of steel and composite structures, e.g. reclaimed steel-concrete or steel-timber components. The session aims to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and research findings related to the topic of novel structural solutions with reclaimed components, which includes, for example, the assessment and structural and material characterization of reclaimed components, the application of innovative construction and deconstruction methodologies as well as new design principles for further reuse, e.g. the design and construction of demountable connections. In addition, it will be discussed as to whether supplementary rules and normative guidance for design support the broad application of structural reuse and are necessary to maintain the required level of reliability.