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Accelerating Innovation: CSTB Launches the Pass' Innovation

The conclusions of the Grenelle de l’Environnement are clear: 2012 will herald the generation of buildings featuring 50kW/m² per year, and 2020 will be the year of positive energy buildings. While it is less the case for retrofitting, the step to move from one generation to the next is relatively easy for new construction. As long as there is an acceleration in innovative products. “The innovation machinery has been launched”, announces Alain Maugard, CSTB Chairman. “Companies are demonstrating creativity in marketing products that meet performance objectives.”

Today, the main channel for securing innovations, assessed by those involved in the building industry, and insurance companies in particular, is the Technical Assessment. This procedure, which requires specific tests, is long by nature.

Issuance in three months

Therefore, CSTB is launching a new acceleration tool: the Pass' Innovation. “It’s a voluntary mechanism”, continues Alain Maugard, “which enables companies, technical auditors and insurance companies to have an initial technical evaluation of products or systems.” A major asset of the Pass' Innovation: its shorter waiting time (three months instead of 18 for a Technical Assessment). It provides the guarantees of mastery required for marketing, before moving toward the Technical Assessment, for which it is an optional stage.

This new mechanism, which comes within the context of the missions of CSTB for building quality, has been received very favourably by those involved in the building industry, in particular the AFSA (French association of insurance companies), FFB (French building federation), CAPEB (Small building trades confederation) and the Agence Qualité Construction (Construction quality agency).

The Pass' Innovation features three stages: definition of the system, analysis of the fitness for purpose, and the final report. This latter, a summary of which will be online on the CSTB website, gives, in accordance with the fields of use, a global diagnosis of the assets and risks associated with the system. The final report is concluded with either…

  • Green light: the risk is very limited and may be controlled by implementation and/or monitoring recommendations. It is considered that the product or the system may be implemented. If necessary, the Technical Assessment procedure is launched at the same time. Within two years of the final report, the client agrees to give CSTB feedback on every building site that has used the system, in accordance with the terms specified in the report.
  • Amber light: the risk is “reserved”. It is suggested that the applicability of the product or the system be checked on a pilot building site, for example, through a “type b” Technical Experimental Assessment.
  • Red light: the risk is not controlled, the technique has not been perfected yet. The diagnosis is accompanied by an analysis of the product’s shortcomings, and, if necessary, possible actions to mitigate them.

The Pass' Innovation could concern three main product “families”: products that are already widely implemented in other countries, but that have not proven themselves in France yet because of climatic contexts and different techniques, “spin-off” products from existing lines, and completely new products that have really good ideas, but from which selections need to be made.

“We believe that applications for the Pass' Innovation will for the most part concern products or systems that promote energy conservation or that improve insulation”, states Pierre Carlotti, Deputy Technical Director of CSTB, “But the Pass' Innovation has no limits in terms of innovation.” CSTB has already received a few applications for the Pass' Innovation, including for a bio-sourced product. In view of the urgency in terms of meeting new requirements, CSTB is preparing for many applications.

*The Pass' Innovation is not a required step in moving toward the Technical Assessment.

Produits bio-sourcés

The Pass’ Innovation in 5 points

1. The Pass' Innovation is a voluntary initiative.
2. The Pass' Innovation does not replace the Technical Assessments or European Technical Approvals.
3. The Pass’ Innovation is a service of CSTB, according to experts.
4. The Pass' Innovation gives rise to a report comprising a technical diagnosis on the immediate applicability of the system and possible recommendations. It includes the list of exhibits on which the CSTB’s diagnosis was formulated.
5. The Pass' Innovation is accompanied by a monitoring of the building sites where the products are implemented. At stake: feedback, which will be used for the Technical Assessment, if applicable.

Matériaux à changement de phase

Price, period of time, period of validity

• Depending on the complexity of the product, the price of the Pass' Innovation ranges from €8,000 to 12,000 excl. tax (prices as of 1 June 2008).
• The average period of time of submission of the report is three months after acceptance of the estimate and submission of the product portfolio.
• The Pass' Innovation is issued only once for a period of two years. This period must make it possible to establish feedback, which may give rise to more thorough analysis.