BauKarussell is the concept developer as well as the first provider for Social Urban Mining – recovery-oriented demolition of facilities with a special focus on re-use and high value recycling. Social Urban Mining creates social added value by integrating social businesses in the operational activities.
As the Austrian building sector is responsible for 50% of our material consumption and 70% of our waste production, we need to reduce our material consumption to build a circular economy and effectively combat the climate crisis. Circular solutions need to be put into practice – this is where Social Urban Mining steps in.

Social Urban Mining – the concept

ROMM ZT, pulswerk and RepaNet formed the core of BauKarussell in 2015 with the aim of promoting the development of a circular deconstruction value chain with social added value. The Social Urban Mining concept developed by BauKarussell (see graphic) is based on an extended value creation of the potentials of demolished buildings by optimizing the deconstruction phase through re-use and high-value recycling. It aims at retaining the value of products and materials as long as possible (following the value hill model) and thus puts Circular Economy into practice.

Based on a property-related potential analysis, Social Urban Mining supports builders and project developers in optimizing their deconstruction projects – and additionally in Austria in complying with their legal obligations (under the Austrian Recycled Construction Materials ordinance).

The pre-demolition deconstruction work includes the removal of re-usable components, the securing of recyclable materials as well as partial services of a pollutant and contaminant removal. The revenues generated from re-use and high-value material recycling finance the operational work, which is carried out by local social enterprises. In this way, Social Urban Mining combines resource conservation with social added value. People with disadvantages on the labour market (such as long-term unemployed or persons over 50) are employed, trained and qualified in the field of deconstruction. This gives them new opportunities on the labour market. Social Urban Mining extends the lifetime of components and materials, creates regional employment and helps building a market for second-hand components.

BauKarussell keeps on developing the concept Social Urban Mining, based on the experiences and expertise created in its projects in Austria. The BauKarussell team is in active contact and exchange with administration, the building industry and stakeholders in Austria and Europe to bring Social Urban Mining to a broad application in the building sector. BauKarussell was awarded the European EIT Raw Materials and Circular Societies Prize 2020 (3rd place), as well the Austrian Phönix Sonderpreis „Abfallvermeidung“ 2018 and the Environmental Prize of the City of Vienna 2018.

Putting Social Urban Mining into practice

Securing re-useable roof substrate © BauKarussell

BauKarussell is the first provider of Social Urban Mining. Since 2016, the multi-professional team has supported building owners by means of a customized service package from deconstruction planning to implementation.
Offers of re-usable building components are displayed in an online catalogue and offered for sale to private and commercial buyers. The revenues created by those sales are used to finance the operational work which is carried out nationwide by local partners of the social economy.
By the end of 2020, BauKarussell has dealt with more than 1100 tons of materials, of which 550 tons were passed on for re-use. The outcome was achieved in 21.000 social economy working hours, thus creating jobs for over 100 persons with disadvantages on the labour market.

Team, partners, clients & promoters

BauKarussell is a multi professional team of the three partners architect Romm ZT, pulswerk GmbH and RepaNet.
Apart from the Demontage- und Recycling-Zentrum DRZ (Wiener Volkshochschulen GmbH) and Caritas SÖB in Vienna, BauKarussell co-operates for the operational work so far with Die KÜMMEREI (Job-TransFair), FAB, ISSBA, Schindel und Holz, TEAMwork and Volkshilfe SÖB.
Among the clients and promoters of BauKarussell in Austria are non-profit/charitable property developers, the federal real estate company Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft m.b.H (BIG) as well as the city of Vienna and the Federal ministry for climate action (BMK).

Get in touch with us

We are happy to share our know-how. If you wish to know more about Social Urban Mining, you are welcome to get in touch with us.