NUIG and SMEs collaborate in EU Horizon 2020 project in energy-efficient buildings call
13 October 2015
National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway research team, led by Dr Marcus Keane, have recently hosted the second project meeting of the European Commission Horizon2020 Built2Spec project in the Engineering Building at NUI Galway.
Built2Spec stands for Built to Specifications – Tools for the 21st century construction site (http://built2spec-project.eu/). The project consortium of 20 European partners brings together a new and breakthrough set of technological advances for self-inspection and quality assurance that will be put into the hands of construction stakeholders to help meet EU energy efficiency targets, standards for constructing new buildings, and related policy ambitions.
Built2Spec was one of 94 projects submitted to the 2014 call of the Horizon 2020 programme for energy-efficient buildings (H2020-EeB-2014). A total of 20 projects (out of 94) were above the threshold, but only 13 were funded by the European Commission. The Built2Spec project was ranked first of all projects in this call. Furthermore, NUI Galway together with three Irish SMEs in this consortium (Oran Pre-Cast Ltd, Ecofix Ltd and VRM Technology Ltd) were the only successful participants from Ireland in this EeB call.
It is well documented that the built environment in Europe accounts for more than 40 per cent of the overall energy consumption and 36 per cent of the overall CO2 emissions . Furthermore, statistics show that construction and the upkeep of buildings and infrastructure is the largest industry worldwide accounting for about 10 per cent of global GDP .
However, there is a clear gap in the availability of structured and systematic mechanisms to support the decision-making, execution and commissioning phases of construction processes . This can result in defects that degrade the intended energy and comfort performance of new structures and retrofits.
Such errors also degrade the trust and confidence in the implementation of the potentially higher-cost sustainable design, construction and retrofit actions Europe needs to meet its sustainability targets.
The challenge Built2Spec undertakes is to expand upon a cloud-based construction support platform, conceived following the most advanced integrated design and delivery framework for the building sector. The platform will host applications that facilitate worksite activities and quality compliance by putting knowledge in the hands of contractors.
Shared design specifications and 3D models
This will be achieved in the form of shared design specifications and 3D models, installation guidelines, information on regulatory frameworks, and help from construction experts on smartphones and tablets. The Built2Spec platform will be integrated into the operations of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) contractors, large construction firms, and end user clients directly within the consortium and work programme activities, assuring systematic and scientific performance measures, feedback and powerful exploitation and dissemination strategies.
NUI Galway is leading the work package that investigates ‘Smart Materials, Imagery Techniques and Building Information Modelling (BIM) as Inspection and Quality Multipliers’. This work package aims:
- To develop a methodology for the use of sensor-embedded construction elements for continuous self-inspection and quality checks, utilising numerical modelling and real-time measurements in buildings;
- To design, prototype and test sensor embedded precast concrete construction elements, and link them to models that predict performance and enable continuous product life cycle quality checks;
- To develop an innovative system for embedding sensors in building elements, collecting information from the sensors (environmental, structural, RFID) and presenting relevant information in a user-friendly, accessible manner to engineers, building managers, contractors and other stakeholders;
- To make possible 3D scanning on mobile devices, including drone imagery, for the support of construction processes and checks;
- To make the Building Information Modelling (BIM) technologically ready for self-inspection and quality checks, and to bring BIM to the construction worksite.
Demonstration building used in this work package is the Human Biology Building at NUI Galway campus (currently under construction), the 8,000 m2 building designed by Scott Tallon Walker Architects and constructed by BAM Ireland in the precast concrete technology supplied by Oran Pre-Cast Ltd.
Author: Magdalena Hajdukiewicz, postdoctoral researcher and adjunct lecturer, NUI Galway
 L. Pérez-Lombard, J. Ortiz, and C. Pout, “A review on buildings energy consumption information,” Energy Build., vol. 40, no. 3, pp. 394–398, 2008.
 ECTP, “Building up Infrastucture Networks of a Sustainable Europe. reFINE Initiative,” European Construction Technology Platform, 2012.
 D. Castro-Lacouture, “Construction automation,” in Springer Handbook of Automation, West Lafayette, USA: Springer, 2009.
The Built2Spec project has been funded through the European Commission Horizon 2020 programme (2015 – 2018) as part of the Built2Spec project ‘Tools for the 21st century construction site’ (H2020 EeB2014 637221).http://www.engineersjournal.ie/2015/10/13/nui-galway-and-three-irish-smes-collaborate-in-eu-horizon-2020-project-in-energy-efficient-buildings-call/http://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/abuilt2-1024x680.jpghttp://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/abuilt2-300x300.jpgCivil3D,BAM Ireland,European Union,infrastructure,NUI Galway,research