The SUSTAIN Eurocluster
Funded by the European Union’s Joint Cluster Initiatives (Euroclusters), the consortium is formed by 5 EU partners from three different countries: Spain, Greece and Latvia.
After years downplaying issues affecting severely the construction sector, COVID-19 triggered companies and SMEs to adopt innovation and make structural changes.
SUSTAIN Eurocluster aims to boost the construction market after the pandemic, engaging SMEs in innovation and the digital transformation undergoing in the sector.
The COVID-19 crisis highly demonstrated the vulnerability of European companies and principally of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), that being particularly visible in the construction industry. Worrying indicators, such as stagnant productivity, low levels of digitalization and low profitability, were emerging as the effects of the pandemic started to unfold in the industry, rendering the sector in severe need of innovation.
Within the context of postpandemic, SUSTAIN project was born in September 2022 aiming to boost the market of building construction. Funded by the European Union’s Joint Cluster Initiatives (Euroclusters) for Europe’s recovery, the consortium was formed by five European partners from three different countries: Spain, Greece and Latvia. These members are The Centre for Research & Technology, Hellas (CERTH) which stands as coordinator; isZEB, the Greek Cluster Dedicated To Intelligent Solutions For Zero and Positive Energy Buildings; the Green Tech Cluster from Latvia; the Catalan Energy Cluster (CEEC); and the National Center for Scientific Research (Demokritos).
The urge for more innovative approaches and initiatives in the sector had been largely postponed as a result of years downplaying important issues affecting the construction industry. But the COVID-19 crisis sent them to the foreground, calling for action. Now, in the event of more stringent sustainability requirements, rising cost pressure, labour scarcity, and also the need for managing new available materials and digital tools, the time has come for the construction industry to get up to date. At this point, and following the EU Industrial Strategy, the SUSTAIN will play a key role in helping the sector adapt to current external hazards and the indicated market conditions.
The prime goal of the consortium is set for boosting the market of building construction by developing a wide network of related clusters and SMEs. This will help to minimize the effect of the Covid-19 crisis, as it has been exposed. Therefore, SUSTAIN will establish a strong network between the involved clusters and their members, encouraging the strengthening of the international cooperation with third countries.
On the other hand, for the project’s purpose, it is also critical to address the strategic dependencies, both technological and industrial, in the field of building construction sector. In order to accomplish this second goal, SUSTAIN will implement a strategy to promote innovative services, such as SRI, BIM and BMS solutions, as well as training SMEs accordingly so that they may adopt these services in the end. Training actions will also include the introduction of highly demanded skills and required digital tools in a context of digital transition.
Likewise, within the project core, there is also a strong commitment to contribute to the ongoing green transition. In this regard, and as third goal, the consortium members will be responsible for promoting innovative solutions related to buildings’ energy efficiency and smartness. Additionally, SUSTAIN will also focus on introducing an innovative digital tool that assesses the buildings Smart Readiness Indicator (SRI), using Building Information Modelling (BIM) technologies.
SUSTAIN Eurocluster’s next steps and calendar
Having hold the kick-off meeting for the constitution of the consortium in last September, SUSTAIN Eurocluster starts now to unfold its strategy to accomplish the aforementioned goals. This will start by identifying novelty in building construction while setting the first contacts with this ecosystem’s SMEs in order to guarantee further engagement for the actions and activities that will come up. At the same time, production of both communication plan and materials will take place, allowing the consortium to schedule and deploy dissemination and communication events.