Home > News > Reuse of building products: a look back at the Avant Seine rehabilitation project...

Reuse of building products: a look back at the Avant Seine rehabilitation site

Reading time 8 min

An menu will be automatically build here, from the h2 in the main column

Ecomaison takes you to the Avant Seine worksite in Paris, to present a fine example of the reuse of products from the construction industry. Neom (a VINCI Construction subsidiary) was entrusted with the cleaning of the site, which was organized in close collaboration with the eco-organizations Ecomaison and Ecominéro, as well as reuse companies such as Avec Service.

When a building changes ownership, the rehabilitation and/or refurbishment work is often very extensive. Until recently, most of the materials and equipment removed were discarded during the "curage" phase, which consists in clearing the way for the required changes. False ceilings, sanitaryware, carpets, stapled stone... Today, we try to preserve everything that can be reused. 

The particularities of re-use in the building industry

Beginning in the 4th quarter of 2023, rehabilitation work on Avant Seine, a 45,000 sq. m. building complex comprising 8 superstructure levels, 3 intermediate levels and 3 basement levels, will take almost six months. 

On a construction site, opportunities for reuse require a high level of responsiveness, so as not to slow down the cleaning work in progress and retain materials that could have a second life.

Louise Fischer,
Circular Economy and Waste Management
and Waste Management at Neom

It's an exciting job of strategy for this young engineer, who has to manage the careful removal of materials for re-use prior to cleaning, and then, as cleaning progresses, notify interested buyers of the imminent availability of materials, negotiate collection conditions and organize removal... all within very tight deadlines so as not to slow down the worksite. With one constant objective in mind: to avoid waste.

Perhaps even more than in other sectors, reuse in the building industry requires a change of culture. It is essential to raise awareness of the need to protect materials among site teams, so that this becomes a reflex for everyone. It's impossible, for example, to store rubble, even temporarily, on a carpet that's still in good condition! Everything must be thought through to preserve everything that can be preserved.

We also need to communicate widely on advances in this field, and provide guarantees, so that, site after site, we can broaden the scope of products and materials that can be taken back.

For Avant Seine, an ambition-record for re-use

Formerly managed by the works supervisors, reuse now benefits from several positions on Neom projects, including a "circular economy project manager" who manages all reuse on worksites, as well as a "reuse works supervisor". In addition, a "re-employment assistant" dedicated to the project owner can be present from the outset of the project to manage re-employment throughout the entire project.

And it works! L'Avant Seine is the first Neom building site with such a high demand for reuse. The target is 660 tonnes, where just a few years ago fewer than ten tonnes were diverted for reuse.

This includes false floors, sanitaryware, stapled stonework... and even false ceilings, which are considered too fragile. In this case, 10,000 m2 of these products were saved. A first in France.

The curing business is gradually changing. In fact, the whole profession is changing! We need to be at the cutting edge. 

Louise Fischer,
Circular Economy and Waste Management
and Waste Management at Neom

Real teamwork

For Avant Seine, Ecomaison, the approved eco-organization for non-inert waste, and Ecominéro, the approved eco-organization for mineral and inert building waste (concrete, terracotta elements, ceramics, stone, slate, etc.), were involved in directing the materials identified during the PEMD (Products, Equipment, Materials, Waste) regulatory diagnosis, which sets out the conditions for the management of building site waste, towards reuse or recycling.

Ecomaison and Ecominéro offer companies subject to the Extended Producer Responsibility for Building Products and Materials (EPR PMCB) for categories 1 (mineral, inert) and 2 (finishing, non-inert) a comprehensive range of collection, recycling and services to enable them to meet their regulatory recycling obligations. They also support initiatives aimed at reusing products, equipment and materials.

This partnership between the two eco-organizations is designed to facilitate on-site synergies and the acceptance of products from all building materials, as well as from other recycling channels such as furniture, DIY and garden products.

With this in mind, Rafal Ryszka, Operational Solutions Development Manager at Ecomaison, and Elodie Combileau, Reuse Project Manager at Ecominéro, worked together to find solutions for reusing the many seats in good condition in the auditorium, as well as the marbled stones on the walls.

When it comes to reuse in the building sector, we're all pioneers. It's a collective challenge, so we have to talk to each other and collaborate at every level of the chain to achieve it. We're all doing our bit. 

Elodie Combileau,
Ecominéro's Recycling Project Manager

False ceiling panels

Packaging of suspended ceiling panels after removal, stacked in a room for removal.

Marbled stones

Marbled stones in good condition recovered by Ecominéro.

Auditorium seating

12 yellow seats still in place in an auditorium.

Truck seat removal

At dawn, two Neom operators and the transporter remove and load the seats.

Avec Service, a company specializing in re-use and recycling since 2001, organized the collection. 

Patrice Salvignol, manager of Avec Service, appointed by Ecomaison to handle this deposit, visited the site to assess the condition of the seats and the possibilities of taking them away without damaging them. After all, three conditions must be met for reuse:

  • The condition of the object or material must allow it to be reused, by supporting the logistics involved in its collection;
  • The supplier must be prepared to sell his product, setting out the terms and conditions of the takeover in a set of specifications;
  • There must be a market for its reuse.

I've been in the reuse business since 2001. Just a few years ago, the argument for using this method was mainly economic.

Today, respect for the environment plays a major role in the decision to sell a product or piece of equipment. We feel that attitudes have changed a great deal, and that's a good thing!

Patrice Salvignol,
founder of Avec Service www.avecservice.com

Avec Service had never before recovered seats of this type, but in the field of reuse, everything is open to invention. This is an opportunity for the company to test a new market and, if it proves promising, to take on future deposits.

Ecomaison supports re-use

As an eco-organization, we obviously encourage reuse before recycling. In line with its action plan for reuse, Ecomaison has a duty to support the players in this complex ecosystem to facilitate these operations.

It's a source of great pride for us to be working alongside companies who are helping to give a second life to building products and materials, on various rehabilitation sites such as Avant Seine.

Denis Blanchard,
Manager, Building & DIY-Garden sectors

The Avant Seine worksite is a fine illustration of the possibilities of reuse in the building industry and the vitality of all the players in the sector, driven by the role they have to play in this evolution.