Abstract The Government's Sustainable Buildings Task Group recently recommended a benchmark requirement for a minimum 10% of reused/reclaimed or recycled content (by material value) in construction projects. The benchmark would be implemented through Building Regulations and public sector procurement. This paper presents the findings of a pilot study to inform decision-making on the feasibility of setting and meeting such a requirement. The project involved determining current levels of recycled content in Defence Estates’ standard design for modern barracks accommodation, and quantifying the scope to increase this content. The existing designs for the new barracks were found to use nearly 20% recycled and recovered materials. The project identified opportunities to increase this proportion to nearly 25% with no increase in cost or risk.