Beyond Recycling: NPS FLEX® designed for disassembly and reuse

Buildings are responsible for about 40% of global energy consumption and 33% of greenhouse gas emissions1. Construction and demolition waste account for 25-30% of all waste generated in the EU2. The construction industry accounts for up to 60% of all raw materials used globally, including minerals, metals, and wood3. Overall, the data and research suggest that the building industry has a significant impact on global resource use, but also offers significant opportunities for improving sustainability through design, construction, and operation practices. 

In this scenario, there is an urgent need to evolve the circular economy beyond recycling into Design for Re-assembly. Demountable structural systems that allow the reuse of structural elements. The composite action of steel and concrete optimises the structural properties of the two materials. However, by using connectors embedded in the in-situ concrete. This makes deconstruction time-consuming and energy-intensive.

With NPS FLEX®, we have developed a composite steel-concrete solution designed to be disassembled, making the construction elements reusable.

 1 Source: International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook, 2019 //  2 Source: European Commission, EU Construction and Demolition Waste Management Protocol, 2016  //  3 Source: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Global Material Flows and Resource Productivity, 2016

NPS FLEX®: Further advantages beyond recycling

In addition to the advantages of standard NPS structures, NPS FLEX® offers an even more efficient management of the structures in their end-of-life stage.

Here are some reasons:

1. Reducing waste: Design for Disassebly allows it starting early in the building design process and as integral to the entire building life. NPS Flex enables the reuse of structures not only down-stream recycling. This reduces potential future waste disposal costs and burden to the community where the building is located and helps to conserve resources.

2. Lowering costs and maintaining building value: When a building is designed with NPS FLEX®, it can be more cost-effective to remove and reuse structures, as the process is simpler and requires less labor. This value is in the reduced adaptation and removal costs incurred by a future owner. It also allow for ease of maintenance of components and enable product leasing and take-back systems.

3. Meeting higher sustainability goals: Many countries and organizations have set targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and waste. NPS FLEX® designed for disassembly helps to meet these targets and demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability.

4. Flexibility: NPS FLEX® allows for greater flexibility in the future use of a building, particularly for speculative building types with high changes in internal spatial useage or for owner-occupant building adaptation needs to accommodate future change. As the needs of occupants change, the building can be more easily reconfigured, adapted or dismantled to create new spaces or buildings.


Comparison NPS® Features


NPS Flex




40% faster construction time*
Seismic resistance
Integrated fire resistance
Slim-Floor solution
Standard spans up to 15 m
Slimmer column sections*
Functional flexibility
Suitable for wiring
Only 3 people for installation
5 minutes to install a beam
8 minutes to erect a column
Almost none temporary material on site
Easy maintenance of components
Made with recycelted steel
Environmelntal Product Declaration  In Progress
Contribute to DGNB or LEED
100% recyclable
Reducing potential future recycling costs -
Reusable in new buildings -
Optimised impact of D Life Cycle Stage -
Enabling product leasing and take-back systems -
* Compared to on-site concrete solutions

2016: First project with demountabled NPS® structures

Over the recent years Tecnostrutture has already supplied demountable NPS® structures.

Some examples are the completely demountable single-storey building supplied in 2016. The NPS® columns and beams were positioned between two existing buildings.

In 2017 we supplied the NPS® structure for an industrial buildings.

Both projects are located in Northen-Italy close to the city of Padua.

2021-22: Master’s thesis on DfD applied to NPS®

The master's thesis of “End-of-life deconstruction of composite structures“ (University of Genoa) focused on the deconstruction of composite steel-concrete structures.

In particular, it was studied how the demolition of NPS® structures of Tecnostrutture has been done up to that point.

Limits and advantages were analysed with the aim of improve the design of composite structures order to optimise their end of life stage.

Master thesis written by Mohamad Khalil with the supervision of Prof. Chiara Calderini. Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, Chimica ed Ambientale (DICCA), Corso di Laurea Magistrale in Ingegneria Civile.


2022: NPS FLEX® Product Development

The main points addressed during the new product development are:

1. Full reusability of the single elements at the end of the life of the building
2. Structural efficiency and durability of the structure and optimization of the steel/concrete ratio
3. Conversion of the building for different purposes and flexibility of use
4. Full hybrid structure, for total integration with new organic materials such as CLT or timber-framed facade panels.
5. On-Site efficiency

The solution is NPS FLEX®. A complete industrialized construction system designed for disassembly and reuse of all the structural elements at the end of the building’s life.

Here the key features:

1. Reusable components like columns and beams
2. Even lower LCA impact in D-stage
3. Cradle-to-cradle native solution
4. Maintaining building value

These new benefits come in addition to standard NPS® features like less raw materials as traditional solutions, high percentage of recycle material, long spans, slim-floor solution, integrated fire resistance.


2023: NPS® is tested and patented

NPS FLEX® is a complete and industrialized construction system designed for the disassembly and reuse of all the structural elements at the end of the building’s life.

The system is composed of NPS FLEX® beams and NPS® PDTI composite steel-concrete columns with the possibility of having integrated fire resistance of up to 120 minutes.

A beam-column connection system can be easily disassembled as needed by simply acting on some bolts prepared during the construction phase. The bolted system allows for the stabilization of the structures both during assembly and throughout the useful life of the structure.

A connection system between the beams and the slabs (for example CLT or hollow-core) is foreseen by inserting shaped ribbed reinforcements.

The transmission of vertical forces is completely absorbed by the beam-column bolted system. Instead, the horizontal actions (e.g. wind) are delegated to bracing structures that can be made on site such as shear walls or by a system of metal bracing typical of ordinary steel structures.


2023 - NPS FLEX Market Launch

NPS FLEX® reusable structure offers a unique and sustainable solution for building construction. Easy to assemble, can be quickly moved and offers a wide range of design possibilities. It can be tailored to the specific needs of a particular project and can be adapted to different environments.

This makes NPS FLEX® an ideal choice for those looking to strongly reduce the structural environmental footprint while still providing flexible, high-quality and durable structures.

Start using NPS FLEX®!

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