Integrated Digital Models for the Representation and Diagnosis in Existing Buildings: The Clust-ER BUILD Project for the Value Chain Innovation

Integrated Digital Models for the Representation and Diagnosis in Existing Buildings: The Clust-ER BUILD Project for the Value Chain Innovation

Marcello Balzani, Fabiana Raco
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1234-0.ch008
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With reference to the fourth Industrial Revolution - the knowledge economy (Rooney, 2005) - the generation of integrated digital models represents one of the most important drivers to generate tangible and intangible added value, helping to incorporate part of the knowledge into production processes. However, in addition to the process of sharing and implementing digital data, the creation of digital models is extremely complex and expensive if it does not involve the set of requirements and needs in the early phase of the project, according to an inclusive and collaborative approach (Carraher et. al. 2017). In this framework, the “Clust-ER BUILD” project aims to achieve integrated Building Information Modelling models and Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) solutions to support innovation, industrial research, and the updating of competencies for intervention projects on existing buildings and cultural heritage.
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The project “Clust-ER BUILD” project, founded by the Emilia Romagna Region proposes a public-private partnership, through a collaborative approach among Universities, Public Administrations, public and private research centres and industries in order to foster regional competitiveness in the construction industry. Since 2016, the “Clust-ER BUILD” project has been the first national construction cluster, which aims to identify and update strategic areas for intervention in the construction sector, thanks to the active participation of more than eighty associates scientifically coordinated by University of Ferrara. Based on the analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of both the regional and the national economy with wide stakeholder involvement, the “Clust-ER BUILD” is a public-private association which leads to the updating of the Smart Specialization Strategy (S3).

Within the project, the Public Private Partnership strategy leads to the definition of the conditions, boundaries and interdisciplinary competencies and therefore the innovation of products and services. Starting from this background, “human capital” is considered as both a productive asset and as a product that can be exported for a high value return.

The Clust-ER Building and Construction, Clust-ER BUILD, project focuses on three strategic lines of research and innovation through working groups, based on Value Chain method of analysis in order to represent the Emilia-Romagna building and construction system. The three main value chains focus on the following tasks:

  • “Conservation and valorization of built heritage” toward improvement and smart reuse, by means of technological and process innovations;

  • “Energy efficiency and sustainability in buildings”, for energy efficient, resilient and sustainable buildings;

  • “Safety of buildings and civil infrastructures”, to mitigate vulnerability and environmental (seismic, hydraulic and hydrogeological) risks.

The building and construction sector represents a strategic area in regional, national and European economies. Despite the ongoing crisis in the sector, the importance of the construction industry is strengthened by the large number of employees and the potential for innovation development attributed to it by other sectors such as the energy and, particularly, the ICT market (Euroconstruct, 2018).

In 2016 the Emilia-Romagna region financed seven Clust-ER Associations, which belong to the High Technology Network, since the competitiveness of all sectors relies on the ability and capability of an entire local system, research centres, businesses and training bodies to be innovative and attractive. The seven Clust-ERs of the Emilia-Romagna ecosystem operate in a coordinated way in order to establish stable networks and connections with other public/private agglomerations operating in the same sectors at national and European level. Consequently, Clust-ER BUILD operates in synergy with Clust-ER ICT and Clust-ER Energy.

The construction industry suffers from an internal shortage of industrialized tools and methods in order to support effective decision-making, knowledge economy and sustainable development, especially at national level (Rooney, Hearn, & Abraham, 2005).

ICT tools such as BIM and Key Enabling technologies, KETs, can enable knowledge modelling and the generation of standards in order to make the combination of innovative technologies and collaborative design through disciplines effective (Carraher, Smith, DeLisle, & Henderson, 2017). In this framework, the “Cust-ER BUILD” project aims to achieve several challenges related to the digitization of the both regional and national construction sector through a common strategy, shared among the partners and stakeholders, and three main actions:

  • Collaborative, public-private industrial research projects;

  • Collaborative, public-private higher education projects;

  • Collaborative, public-private analysis of the sector’s needs, strengths and innovation drivers.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Technology Transfer: Those activities that lead to the adoption of a new technology by users, and involves dissemination, demonstration, training and other activities that lead to eventual innovation.

Existing BIM: Building Information Modeling for existing buildings.

Value Chain: Is the full range of activities, which involves production processes and human resources management, performed in a specific industry in order to deliver a valuable product or service for the market and end users.

Integrated Survey: Integrated digital technologies for the survey, representation, information modeling and sharing and management of Cultural Heritage and “minor” Cultural Heritage.

KETs: Key Enabling Technologies.

Cluster: Partnership with a high density of research-oriented and innovation-oriented organizations and companies.

Digital Twin: Is a digital replica of a physical entity. It is a dynamic virtual representation of a physical object or system across its lifecycle, using real-time data to enable understanding, learning and reasoning and make reverse engineering effective.

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