On October 19, in Guimarães, SIC Notícias and the weekly newspaper Expresso organised the 5th edition of the “Prémios do Imobiliário”. These awards focus on honouring projects associated with real estate within eight categories.
In this year’s edition, project SIMBA, involving a CERIS-IST research team, was awarded in the new category “Innovation in Construction”. The project, coordinated by Professor Fernando Branco, includes Professors João Ferreira e João Correia from DECivil and CERIS and Professor João Sequeira from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (DEEC). The project may be summarised as follows:
– A revolution in building construction –
Around 3000 years BC, in Sumeria, the first houses were built by raising the walls, placing brick upon brick. Today, 5000 years later, houses continue to be built with the same intensive use of bricks and with the same demands in terms of labour. Despite the most recent innovations, whether in structural solutions or partial prefabrication of components, the truth is that the building construction industry continues to be essentially… a manufacture.
Currently, in buildings, costs are distributed roughly equally between materials and labour. To solve the housing problem, cost reduction will have to be achieved by essentially focusing on labour costs, as the cost of materials is highly optimised. To reduce labour, the natural solution is to adopt Henry Ford’s methodology in the production of his Ford T, that is, to produce buildings in a factory assembly line, where workers, in an environment with quality and controlled activities (or using robots), produce the various components that are put together into housing blocks with finishes, ready to use. A true building factory. These blocks, after being transported, are interconnected in the building as monolithic as in current construction, resulting in a final solution with significant cost reduction, with great speed of execution… and without bricks.
Bearing in mind the objectives of the “Mais Habitação” Programme, it is this commitment to a radical change in the construction of buildings that is being implemented in the SIMBA modular construction project (DDN-IST/CERIS), which has already resulted in an in-service prototype building.
More information about the awards in Vencedores da V.ª Edição dos Prémios do Imobiliário – Expresso (in Portuguese).