My REHA experience: Case study related to circular economy in construction and public procurement


Hi I’m Adja, from France, and I am studying risk prevention in the field of Environment and Safety. At the moment I’m as an exchange student in Turku for a semester. Originally I’m from West of Africa (Senegal).

At the beginning of the semester, I enrolled to a course of circular economy at TUAS. The teaching method in this course was based on research hatchery that concentrates on multidisciplinary project learning. Circular economy as a topic was habitual to me but the hatchery method was new. We were a team of 5 students from different sides of the world: Vietnam, Germany, Finland, Korea and France and from different fields of study. Some in business and the others in environment generally.

We had to carry-out a project related to circular economy in construction sector. The aim was to find cases from construction sector around the world which included public procurement aspects. The task was given by the Circwaste project which is a seven year life IP project coordinated by the Finnish Environment institute. The topic was large and quite complex. However I learnt a lot about circular economy in construction because I never imagined that there are all these systems behind building projects and this allowed me to know how circularity relates to construction in practice. It was very beneficial as an experience.

Our diversity as a team was the most important because from different countries and field, the different vision and ways of thinking create innovative ideas. Even it was not evident to communicate because we speak different languages. During the project, I was the project manager and this role helped me to deepen my knowledge, improve my language and practice some skills such as management. It was a challenge for me because I had the responsibility for the success of the project and I coordinated all the work. Sometimes it was hard but at the end we did a great job with my team.

I think we started a little bit late because we spent practically 1 month before our first meeting with the client in order to know more about her expectations. In addition, we didn’t have opportunity to visit a real case of construction due to the current Corona situation.

As an outcome, we found 15 cases which included public procurement aspect and according to the countries we search the legislation part, the applicable norms etc.

Using hatchery method at the beginning was something apprehensive but as we advanced in the project it became a pleasure. We learned by doing.

Personally I think that I learned more than I would have been learned if the course had been a normal lecture. Hatchery method is very efficient. If you feel lost or uncertain sometimes, don’t worry it’s a part of it. But communication, involvement and engagement are important factors to succeed. We did the project fully online due to the COVID-19 situation. But we kept a good organisation of work. Each week we met at least one time or more depending on the stage of the project. We made decisions together and sometimes solved the disagreements also. This kind of work is good because we gained knowledge, autonomy and maturity. It was very interesting. Unfortunately we don’t have a picture together but I keep the best of all of this.