Facadeclick is a new building system where bricks click together seamlessly via a revolutionary connector. Thanks to the specific bricks and connectors, a facade wall is built as if it were LEGO: without water, mortar or glue. This means that the wall can be perfectly dismantled and the bricks reused. Circular, in other words.
In order to make the circular picture completely true, a circular business model is also needed. For example, through this project we would like to investigate whether we can offer Facadeclick as a service. However, it is not enough just to review our own business model; we also want to encourage the market and financial players to think differently, or at least to examine which models are interesting, feasible or acceptable. That is why, through this project, we are conducting research in three domains:
On the legal level, we want to investigate the conditions under which we can consider a Facadeclick facade as movable instead of immovable. Can we consider our facades as movable because Facadeclick is demountable and therefore can be detached from the building?
On the economic side, we want to analyse how to calculate the residual value of a Facadeclick facade and whether this information can facilitate financing.
Finally, we want to investigate which circular business model we can use to offer our facade as a service.
Our legal research shows that our facade is legally considered immovable by destination. It is argued that a facade is an essential part of a building and that a building second-hand, without a facade, has insufficient value.
The VUB developed an analysis to estimate the residual value of Facadeclick. The result is a clear insight into the course of the residual value of our facades over time. We can estimate that our facade will have a residual value of 25% after 15 years.
Through our legal analysis we quickly came to the conclusion that a businessmodelaround Facadeclick as a service is out of the question, as long as the facade is considered immovable.
Our search for more interesting financing based on the calculation of the residual value did not yield good results. The problem is the capital requirements that banks have to maintain for their loans and that they cannot hedge the residual value risk.
MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED
In order to convince banks to finance a circular building product with residual value,a residual value simulation is not enough. For this, someone has to stand as guarantor. We cannot offer that security because the second-hand market is still too young for these products. A guarantee fund could be the key to success.
This project has indirectly encouraged us to think more about our products and circularity. We developed new products (such as pressed bricks) and new partnerships with the social economy emerged.
Thanks to this project, we were able to work much more closely with some financial players. ING, for example, invited us to an exclusive networking event on circularity in the construction sector. Coming together with other players will only contribute to the breakthrough of circular building.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
The circular façade click system is a successful product for us and we will continue to think about how we can extend circularity even further within our company. We believe in our circular business model and will continue to try to get it fully operational. However, we have come to the conclusion that we need to adapt to the pace of stakeholders, government and other players in the market.