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“A new beginning…”

No, I did not write the title by mistake as we are standing at the Finish Line of the INSITER project. After 4 years of research, testing and demonstration, this is the moment to begin a new endeavour – to apply our new knowledge in daily practice!

The INSITER Research & Innovation Action started on 1 December 2014 as one of the first projects funded under the EU Horizon 2020 Programme. Fourteen partners from science and industry formed a consortium with one ambition: ‘to eliminate performance and quality gaps between design and realisation of new and refurbished buildings’. In the last 4 years, we have developed new methods, used advance measurement devices, and deployed various ICT solutions in order to detect errors during construction, estimate the performance implications of the identified errors, and educate construction workers and other professionals to prevent errors and to check the quality of their works on-site. “Self-instruction” and “self-inspection” have become the ‘magic words’ in daily conversations among the INSITER consortium partners.

What have we achieved until now? We have been able to customise and optimise the measurement procedures using laser, thermal and acoustic devices to be eligible for use during construction process. This is a significant advancement compared to the standard procedures for laboratories or isolated environments only. We have also been able to use Augmented Reality (AR) to support self-instruction and self-inspection. Perhaps most importantly, we have proven that Building Information Modelling (BIM) can be used to integrate 3D scanned and measurement data from different devices, and be applied on the construction site for self-instruction and self-inspection.

What else have we done? We have tested our innovations in lab, factory and real construction site environments in various EU countries. We have involved experts and stakeholders from EU design, engineering and construction firms alongside factory and construction workers in live testing and demonstration of our technologies. We have also generated a preliminary business plan to exploit the innovation on the market in the EU.

Are we done yet? Absolutely not, and that’s why I chose the title of “a new beginning…”. Based on the research findings and the feedback received from the practitioners during field testing, this paper concludes that it is viable to develop and implement BIM-based AR to prevent and resolve building’s energy performance gaps. BIM and AR technologies, which have emerged as part of Industry Revolution 4.0, play an important role in connecting the virtual design environment and the physical production and construction sites. By bridging the knowhow gaps between the different professionals, suboptimal processes and human errors during the construction stage can be minimized, and the targeted performance can be achieved. This approach will also contribute to resolve the existing fragmentation in the building value-chain, especially between white and blue collar workers. The current results from the INSITER project are on Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6, which means that the technology has been demonstrated in a relevant industrial environment / in practice. Although certain technical barriers still exist related to hardware, software and data interoperability, the most important challenges for the further TRL enhancement towards 8-9 (i.e. the technology is qualified and market-ready) and for a large-scale implementation of the innovative solutions are found in the acceptance of the construction professionals, the cost-effectiveness of the methods and tools, and the standardisation of collaboration processes to facilitate self-instruction and self-inspection. These aspects should be addressed in follow-up research and exploitation.

So, we should continue our innovation journey! Yet, while standing at the Finish Line of the INSITER project, let’s take a moment to celebrate. INSITER has been a challenging project as it was not an easy task to fulfil the high ambition and to cope with continuous changes in the project organisation, both at the consortium side as well as the European Commission side. Nevertheless, everyone involved has shown his/her unchanged motivation to accomplish the project, positive collaboration attitude, and high resilience at times when the unexpected occurred –as usual in a research project. As Coordinator, it has been a real privilege to receive trust from everyone and to lead this wonderful teamwork from kick-off until completion. Thank you for your hard work and friendship, and best wishes for carrying our INSITER innovation one step further in future research and practice! 

–Sincerely yours, Rizal Sebastian-

Ton Damen & Dr. Rizal Sebastian
DEMO Consultants B.V.
Delftechpark 10, 2628 XH Delft
The Netherlands
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T his project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020
research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 636063.