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Development of new self-inspection techniques and quality check methodologies for efficient construction processes

Specific challenge:Today's availability of better energy-efficient building components (envelopes, windows, equipment, etc…) demands calls for ensuring that these benefits will not be lost through lack of knowledge or bad implementation during the construction processes which may affect the final performance of the building. Critical components to energy efficiency have indeed proven to have significant impact for buildings. With today's high energy prices, a proper understanding of critical components to energy efficiency is crucial in terms of savings and comfort. In addition, the construction sector is characterised by a segmented approach involving a variety of skills and expertise with different role and responsibility. During construction, each actor of the construction value chain must ensure that its contribution fits into a quality framework defined collectively at the design level. Self-inspection and quality checks are implemented to guarantee the final thermal, acoustic and energy performance of the building which will be quantified during commissioning. This means that quality control is of utmost importance to guarantee that the energy performance at commissioning stage will meet the one expected at design stage.

Scope: The research focus is on new self-inspection techniques and quality check measures for efficient construction processes enabled by portable and robust systems that can be easily handled in the construction site. In particular methods for energy related self-inspection, for example to avoid the presence of thermal bridges or to ensure and control good air-tightness in low energy or passive buildings should be considered. The possibility to measure U values over large areas with non-contact solutions would allow  assessing the conformity to design during refurbishment. The techniques to be developed should also be able to avoid or reduce economic and time deviations of the construction processes.

The solutions proposed should preferably be cost-effective and easy to use, considering that they will be implemented on-site by workers which are not necessarily highly skilled. The solutions should be validated in a relevant construction environment.

Execution details brought to the construction site are of paramount importance to improve the overall quality. These execution details need to take into account the specificities of the building project but also the installation rules defined by building component manufacturers in order to avoid any misinterpretation on the construction site and therefore to contribute to bridging the gap between design and construction. The research should consider some peculiarities of working environments in the construction sector, such as geographical dispersion and heterogeneity of subcontractors.

For this topic, proposals should include an outline of the initial exploitation and business plans, which will be developed further in the proposal project.

Activities expected to focus on Technology Readiness Levels 4-6. A significant participation of SMEs with R&D capacities is encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 3 and 6 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:

                To guarantee the final thermal, acoustic and energy performance of the building while increasing the efficiency, reliability and productivity of the construction processes.

                To provide innovative techniques to measure the contribution of each critical component to thermal insulation, air-tightness and building services equipment in energy efficient construction.

                To provide guidelines, methodologies for workers and contribute to standardisation activities.

                Reduction by at least 50% of the mismatch of energy performance between design stage and commissioning stage due to construction processes.

Type of action: Research & Innovation Actions