NUI Galway Engineering Project Seeks to Reduce Gap in Energy Performance of Buildings

NUI Galway Built2Spec team visiting Oran Pre-Cast manufacturing plant in Oranmore, Galway. Photo: NUI Galway
May 09 2017 Posted: 10:40 IST

NUI Galway is one of 20 European partners involved in the €5.5 million Horizon 2020 ‘Built2Spec’ project 

NUI Galway’s Informatics Research Unit for Sustainable Engineering (IRUSE) in the College of Engineering and Informatics is committed to realising the goal of energy efficient buildings. IRUSE’s research focuses on better predicting environmental conditions in buildings; ensuring healthy, comfortable and productive indoor environments; while reducing building energy consumption at the same time.

Built to Specifications (Built2Spec), a four-year Horizon 2020 €5.5 million EU-funded project involving 20 European partners, seeks to reduce the gap between a building’s designed and as-built energy performance. To do this, the project will put a new set of breakthrough technological advances for self-inspection checks and quality assurance measures into the hands of construction professionals. This collection of smart tools will help building stakeholders at all levels in meeting EU energy efficiency targets, new build standards and related policy goals. The multi-million euro project shared among 20 European partners includes three from Ireland - NUI Galway, Oran Pre-Cast in Oranmore and Ecofix in Dublin.

NUI Galway researchers, Dr Marcus Keane and Dr Magdalena Hajdukiewicz from IRUSE are leading the Work Package 4 of the Built2Spec project. Work Package 4 investigates Smart Materials, Imagery Techniques and Building Information Modelling as Inspection and Quality Multipliers. Their work was recently published in the international journal, Magazine of the Concrete Society and is an excellent example of the University supporting the construction industry regarding the development of innovative products and services allied with indigenous companies.  

Commenting on the project, Dr Magdalena Hajdukiewicz from NUI Galway, said: “The Built2Spec project and collaboration with companies such as Oran Pre-Cast allow our research to be applied to real buildings to tackle the problems of quality checks during the construction, as well as energy efficiency and indoor environmental conditions of operating buildings.”

The objectives of Work Package 4 are to:

  • Develop a methodology for the use of sensor-embedded construction elements for continuous self-inspection and quality checks, utilising numerical modelling and real-time measurements in buildings.
  • Design, prototype and test sensor embedded precast concrete construction elements, and link them to models that predict performance and enable continuous product life cycle quality checks.
  • Develop an innovative system for embedding sensors in building elements, collecting information from the sensors (environmental, structural, radio-frequency identification) and presenting relevant information in a user-friendly, accessible manner to engineers, building managers, contractors and other stakeholders.
  • Leverage work within the Google-driven ‘Tango’ project and 3-D scan capture to make possible 3-D scanning on mobile devices for the support of construction processes and checks.
  • Leverage imagery comparison techniques for the self-inspection and quality check of construction worksites (plan area) and building elements as constructed via an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or helicopter drone imagery.
  • Make Building Information Modelling (BIM) technologically ready for self-inspection and quality checks.

Bring BIM to the construction worksite.

Built2Spec will expand upon a cloud based construction support platform, conceived following the most advanced integrated design and delivery framework for the building sector, and hosting applications that facilitate worksite activities and quality compliance by putting knowledge in the hands of contractors. This will be achieved in the form of shared design specifications and 3-D models, installation guidelines, information on regulatory frameworks, and help from construction experts on smartphones and tablets.

The Built2Spec platform will be integrated into the operations of small and medium-sized enterprise contractors, large construction firms, and end user clients directly within the consortium and work program activities, assuring systematic and scientific performance measures, feedback and powerful exploitation and dissemination strategies.

For more information on IRUSE visit: and on Built2Spec visit:


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