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Introducing I3CONFebruary 2007

Industrialised, integrated, intelligent construction - that's the aim of the I3CON project: capturing improvements from across the European Union and translating them into a form that could revolutionise UK construction practice. David Churcher reveals all.

Although the UK has amassed much experience in the use of off-site assembly, or the design of integrated building services components to simplify installation, or the use of information technologies to facilitate communication within the project team, there is still much that can be learned from other European countries. The i3con project provides the opportunity for knowledge to be shared between European countries in the pursuit of large scale improvements in the energy consumption, workforce productivity and carbon emissions of the built environment, as well as equipping the European construction industry to be world-class.

The project, which started in October 2006 and which runs for 4 years, will investigate a range of component and process innovations, and demonstrate these on some real construction projects.

The lessons will be captured in handbooks, in industry-oriented training material and in new university courses that will equip the designers and constructors of the future. With our particular experiences in supporting improvement in construction processes and productivity on site, as well as our reputation as a technical publisher, BSRIA is engaged in seven of the eleven technical work packages, and is leader of the dissemination activities for I3CON. During the project, regular updates will be posted to the project web-site ([link=http://www.i3con.org caption=www.i3con.org]) and a newsletter will be prepared and distributed every six months. Interim results will also be presented at two international conferences.

However, one of the first tasks of the project is to collect a set of stakeholder requirements - what do clients, designers, contractors, occupiers and communities want from the buildings of the future?

These will then be used as metrics against which to measure how successfully the project delivers. Of course, the requirements of UK stakeholders will be combined with those from other partner countries to give a Europe-wide view.

The project is co-ordinated by Dragados, a major Spanish contractor based in Madrid, and by VTT, the Technical Research Centre of Finland. There are 24 further partners, of which four come from the UK, including BSRIA.

With such a diverse project team, there will be plenty of potential to learn from countries ranging from the Mediterranean to the Arctic, from the Atlantic to the Bosphorus. As well as learning from each other, and establishing contacts that can be developed outside of the project, this research aims to improve the performance of the construction industries across the European Union.

As such it will also be important for the I3CON to establish links with other European research projects and national initiatives, so that the project takes as much advantage as it can from work that has already been completed or may be under investigation. This co-ordination also forms part of the dissemination work package for which BSRIA is responsible.

The project sought to bring together a mix of large and small organisations, academic institutions and commercial firms, with the overriding aim that the project's results should deliver competitive advantage for designers, contractors and manufacturers.

For more information contact BSRIA:
Tel: +44 (0) 1344 465600
or email bsria@bsria.co.uk



 

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