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Guilherme Collevatti – An exchange undergraduate student sharing his experience while researching Modern Methods of Construction to enable innovative, sustainable and affordable social housing.

Guilherme

17 July 2014

Hello Everyone,

I’m Guilherme, an undergraduate architecture student from the University of Brasilia in Brazil. This week I started my 35 days summer placement at BRE during which, I will be interacting with a number of researchers from BRE and external organisations. My placement is part of the science and research activities hosted and funded by BRE Trust at the University Centre of Excellence for Sustainable and Integrated Communities at the University of Brasilia.

This year I wrote an essay on how Modern Methods of Construction can enable the production of innovative, sustainable and affordable social housing. The essay served as a theoretical basis for my final graduation project which aims to design and implement and build a pilot prototype at the Innovation Park in Brasilia also known as PISAC. The aim is to showcase an affordable, industrialized and sustainable social housing to boost market, industry and government interest for a better quality home with reduced environmental impact.

I am very excited about this experience and hope to meet, share and exchange knowledge and information with other researchers and professionals from BRE and external organisations.

To have a more complete experience I will be sharing, on a weekly basis, updates on the projects and research I am getting involved. I hope you find it entertaining.

Cheers,

Guilherme

25 July 2014

Hello everyone,

The “exchenge” student is back for he’s weekly update. Some exciting things happened this last few days and I have decided to share those most related to my research.

First one happened right after last week’s post. Orivaldo and I started writing an assessment protocol for the Innovation Park @ PISAC. The document proposes the testing protocols for materials and prototypes that will enable innovative and sustainable solutions to be trialled and tested at the Innovation Park but the background is hardly helpful.

Brazilian built environment has 172.703 construction companies with an impressive growth of contracts jumping from 1.3 million to 2.8 million between the years 2005 and 2011. The majority are small and medium companies which poses a problem for the development of new and innovative technologies. Most of them still work using outdated technologies with low investment on academic research. That generates an academic research disconnected from the market demand and national policies, a workforce that needs up skilling and constant difficulties to meet deadlines. Even so, this area received R$ 330 Billion of government investment in recent years. A market research conducted by Brazilian Chamber of the construction industry (CBIC) showed the lack of integration as the biggest challenge for the construction sector to innovate and absorb new technologies.

The Innovation Park has to promote this integration needed to innovate but also avoid companies which have interest only in showcasing the product as a marketing strategy while maintaining a consistent flow of research. And that’s where the assessment protocol goes.

The other amazing thing happened after I sent an email out to all BRE staff looking to connect to people who had experience with MMC and BREEAM. I was impressed with the number of people interested in sharing knowledge either by email or meetings. It has been an amazing experience talking with these people. Several replied and so far I have been able to meet 2 of them.

First I met Adam Tilford, who used to deliver a BRE training course on UK MMC methods a while back. He gave me a crash course and we were able to compare the difference between UK and Brazilian market for MMC products. He also gave me a book “Modern Methods of House Construction – A Surveyor’s Guide by Keith Ross” which is great for an over view on MMC.

I also met Leanna Twell, the International Domestic Scheme Manager for BREEAM. We shared the difficulties of introducing BREEAM in Brazil and discussed ways of introducing the certification to developers. We talked a lot about some of my ideas for the Innovation Park prototype and she gave some insights on how to make BREEAM work with it.

I still have some meeting coming up which I am very excited about, but for now I believe that’s all. I do hope you found this article entertaining. See you all next week.

Cheers

Guilherme

5 August 2014

Hello again

Week three of my assignment at BRE and most of my time was spent out of the office, which is what this post is mostly about, so it was hard to sit down and write to you.

First, I would like to share my experience interacting directly with Orivaldo Barros, Head of International for BRE Group. His experience working on project from so many different countries has enabled me to understand better the challenges and opportunities from many different nations face in the quest for a better and more sustainable built environment. This week, while discussing the assessment protocol for the innovation park in Brazil, we searched examples from several other countries like China, Mexico and Scotland that are also part of BRE innovation park network. This desktop research allowed us to design a more robust protocol for the park in Brasilia, delivered in a global-local context.

Also related to the international affairs, this week I’ve had the pleasure to assist a BRE team to host a high profile Mexican delegation, including Simón Newman the Housing Minister from Mexico, interested in mobility, public transportation, sustainable housing and public spaces. As part of the activities I went to London Olympic Park with Chris Broadband, Gillian Hobbs, Adam Robinson and Orivaldo Barros. There, we were given not only a tour but a lecture of all the work BRE has done to help delivering the greenest Olympic Game ever. I was fascinated to learn about the of high levels of sustainability achieved through the project, from planning, site clearing and enabling works, construction of the park and village, post construction monitoring and, of course, the legacy. To learn more, I understand BRE has a number of publications in connection to the work carried out at the Olympic Park and Village.

The other experience out of the office I had has its roots on my last post. John Warburton was one of the many who replied to my MMC email I sent out. He kindly got me in touch with Chris Moss founder of Ecomech building system. They produce structurally insulated panels completely off site with a manufacture process similar to what you would find in an automotive assembly facility. The panels are then transported to the construction site and quickly put together.

I had the opportunity to travel to Liverpool to meet Chris and his team. It was a unique opportunity to see how forward off site construction can be and the amount of research involved – especially compared to the initiatives I came across in Brazil. With about ten years of research they developed a system easy to build due to the manufacturing process with special attention in the use of local materials and workforce. This generates upskilled job opportunities with great health, safety and working conditions provided by a controlled environment. It reduces the distance materials would have to be transported which has a direct impact in the reduction of carbon production. Not to mention it is virtually a zero waste facility due to the standardized parts used to assemble the panels. In all, a great example of the benefits off-site construction has.

This week’s post intends to show that, despite my research focus is on MMC to enable innovative, sustainable and affordable social housing the multidisciplinary of BRE’s work enables one to expand their knowledge outside an area of expertise and it really has been an eye opening experience for me.

That’s all for now guys.

Cheers

14 August 2014

Hello again

Week three of my assignment at BRE and most of my time was spent out of the office, which is what this post is mostly about, so it was hard to sit down and write to you.

First, I would like to share my experience interacting directly with Orivaldo Barros, Head of International for BRE Group. His experience working on project from so many different countries has enabled me to understand better the challenges and opportunities from many different nations face in the quest for a better and more sustainable built environment. This week, while discussing the assessment protocol for the innovation park in Brazil, we searched examples from several other countries like China, Mexico and Scotland that are also part of BRE innovation park network. This desktop research allowed us to design a more robust protocol for the park in Brasilia, delivered in a global-local context.

Also related to the international affairs, this week I’ve had the pleasure to assist a BRE team to host a high profile Mexican delegation, including Simón Newman the Housing Minister from Mexico, interested in mobility, public transportation, sustainable housing and public spaces. As part of the activities I went to London Olympic Park with Chris Broadband, Gillian Hobbs, Adam Robinson and Orivaldo Barros. There, we were given not only a tour but a lecture of all the work BRE has done to help delivering the greenest Olympic Game ever. I was fascinated to learn about the of high levels of sustainability achieved through the project, from planning, site clearing and enabling works, construction of the park and village, post construction monitoring and, of course, the legacy. To learn more, I understand BRE has a number of publications in connection to the work carried out at the Olympic Park and Village.

The other experience out of the office I had has its roots on my last post. John Warburton was one of the many who replied to my MMC email I sent out. He kindly got me in touch with Chris Moss founder of Ecomech building system. They produce structurally insulated panels completely off site with a manufacture process similar to what you would find in an automotive assembly facility. The panels are then transported to the construction site and quickly put together.

I had the opportunity to travel to Liverpool to meet Chris and his team. It was a unique opportunity to see how forward off site construction can be and the amount of research involved – especially compared to the initiatives I came across in Brazil. With about ten years of research they developed a system easy to build due to the manufacturing process with special attention in the use of local materials and workforce. This generates upskilled job opportunities with great health, safety and working conditions provided by a controlled environment. It reduces the distance materials would have to be transported which has a direct impact in the reduction of carbon production. Not to mention it is virtually a zero waste facility due to the standardized parts used to assemble the panels. In all, a great example of the benefits off-site construction has.

This week’s post intends to show that, despite my research focus is on MMC to enable innovative, sustainable and affordable social housing the multidisciplinary of BRE’s work enables one to expand their knowledge outside an area of expertise and it really has been an eye opening experience for me.

That’s all for now guys.

Cheers

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