Experts from Fundación Laboral, CSIC and Asefave discuss new trends in sustainable construction and their future challenges

The conference for SMEs celebrated ‘New requirements affecting the facade and window sector’, framed in the European project Construye 2020+

Last Monday, 17th June, the Open Day for SMEs was held on “New requirements affecting companies in the frontage and window sector”, within the framework of the European project Construye 2020+ and organised by the Fundación Laboral, in collaboration with the Spanish Association of Light Frontage and Window Manufacturers (Asefave). The session took place at the Eduardo Torroja Institute of Construction Sciences, belonging to the Spanish National Research Council (IETCC-CSIC).

For two and a half hours, experts from the IETCC-CSIC and the Fundación Laboral de la Construcción (partner and leader of Construye 2020+,

 respectively), together with Asefave, reviewed the new trends in sustainable construction, the progress towards the industrialisation of the sector and the digitalisation of work management, through systems such as BIM (Building Information Modelling). In addition, they analysed the challenges posed for professionals and companies by compliance with the new regulatory requirements on energy efficiency, current regulations and the Technical Building Code (TBC).

The conference, which responded to the objective of Construye 2020+ to involve SMEs in a more sustainable construction market – since they account for almost 99% of the companies in the sector, according to the 2018 Sector Report of the Industrial Construction Observatory -, included a presentation by Javier González, head of International Projects at Fundación Laboral, who defended the importance of improving training from a technological point of view and its recognition among workers. To this end, the project consortium -composed of national entities- is working on the creation of an accreditation system, through which the “eco” knowledge of professionals is put into value and recognised, which will have an effect on the greater confidence of housing users when it comes to carrying out rehabilitation work.

On the other hand, José Antonio Tenorio, head scientist of the research group in Advanced and Sustainable Construction of the IETCC-CSIC, tackled the new trends in industrialization, BIM and Lean Construction, stressing that the value of these systems lies in “their capacity to increase productivity, reduce both occupational risks and possible building defects, and promote innovation in the sector, which has repercussions on a fall in prices and an increase in performance”.

Workshop galery

Among the main conclusions, the use of windows as integrated elements in frontages was highlighted, with the purpose of both components acting as a whole to improve ventilation, luminosity, noise prevention and insulation of buildings. In addition, the insufficient use being made by the sector of the solar energy load – which would benefit the thermal and energy conditions of the dwellings – and the demand by employers for qualified workers were also discussed. “More and more, we are moving towards more specific positions, so broad-spectrum training must be complemented by more focused learning,” said the director of Asefave, Pablo Martin, during his presentation. He also recalled the agreement signed by this entity with Fundación Laboral de la Construcción, in 2018, with the aim of updating the professional skills of outdoor carpentry installers through a practical course, 8 hours, to promote the qualification of such professionals in accordance with the regulatory requirements demanded in terms of quality, comfort and prevention of occupational risks.