Critical success factors for construction industry transition to circular economy: developing countries’ perspectives

KOÇ K., Durdyev S., Tleuken A., Ekmekcioğlu Ö., Mbachu J., Karaca F.

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1108/ecam-02-2023-0129
  • Journal Name: Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, ABI/INFORM, Aerospace Database, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, Communication Abstracts, ICONDA Bibliographic, Index Islamicus, INSPEC, Metadex, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: Circular economy, Circularity, Construction sector, Fuzzy AHP, Fuzzy TOPSIS
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose: Circular economy (CE) is increasingly used as a system solution framework for tackling climate change. Existing CE solutions have been found effective in other sectors but ineffective in the construction sector (CS) due to the inability to account for unique CS dynamics that are essential for its success. With CS being one of the worst polluters, this research aimed to investigate critical success factors (CSFs) and a practical CE implementation framework for the sector. Design/methodology/approach: Mixed methods research involving descriptive surveys of construction professionals in Kazakhstan, Malaysia and Turkey was used to explore priority dimensions of McKinsey’s ReSOLVE (“regenerate, share, optimize, loop, virtualize and exchange”) circulatory framework, and the associated CSFs that underpin successful implementation of CE in the sector. Empirical data were analyzed using the fuzzy analytical hierarchy process (F-AHP) and the Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) algorithm. Findings: Results showed that “Optimize” and “Loop” were the most critical of the six dimensions of CE implementation framework for successful circularity transition of the CS in each case study country. Twenty-seven CSFs identified in the study were clustered into seven key action areas for successful rollout of the ReSOLVE framework, namely, legislative and documentation, financial, design, external/stakeholder, technological, internal and construction/production/waste management. Practical implications: The study makes a unique contribution to existing knowledge by exploring ReSOLVE-based CSFs for successful CE implementation in the CS through the lenses of experienced construction practitioners and experts in developing countries. The findings are expected to provide a deeper insight into the most significant CSFs to be focused on with the limited resources available to decision-makers in the CS. The findings would also inform regulatory policy reformations aimed at facilitating greater rate of implementation of CE in the construction value chain. Originality/value: The study – the first of its kind – established and validated a wholistic and construction-specific CE implementation framework to guide built environment professionals and policymakers in formulating a roadmap for successful CS’s transition to circularity and hopefully paving the way for improved economic, social and environmental performance of the sector.