CSTB research activities address the major societal issues of daily life in the built environment, from the scale of a single building to a neighborhood, and to an integrated urban and regional territory. In addition to the fundamentals of safety, health, comfort and sustainable development now widely applied, new requirements are emerging from deep structural changes in the industry. Population growth and aging, unbridled urban sprawl, appetite for high quality of life in both private and public spaces, changing lifestyles in terms of relationships, work, leisure, consumption and mobility, in a context of a mass digital revolution – all of this is making today’s buildings a focal point for change. The building is a hybrid object combining sociological, economic, and technological challenges and that is what makes it a space with infinite opportunities for research and innovation at the socio-technico-economic level but also in organizational and behavioral terms.
The CSTB helps stakeholders in sustainable construction to address these topics with a multidisciplinary approach on various levels, strengthened by pivotal scientific and technical partnerships. In 2017, there were advances in performance-oriented approaches to energy solutions in new and renovated buildings and multifactor characterization (health, comfort, energy, etc.) of diverse living spaces, with their associated indicators and frameworks. Major progress was also made in semantic approaches, building information dynamics and its combination with simulation tools through digital models, and expert rules essential for the digital transformation of construction. These are just a few examples.
In parallel, a more practical vision of research results for technology issues has been adopted. That vision now supports the system and product innovations of manufacturers by guiding their creative processes and adapting tools and methods implemented for their overall assessment.
Alors que s’engageait la rédaction de la feuille de route de la recherche du CSTB à l’horizon 2030, l’évaluation des résultats du quadriennal par le Conseil scientifique du CSTB a souligné la pertinence des choix scientifiques et techniques proposés. Au-delà de la poursuite des fondamentaux (maîtrise des risques, santé, énergie – environnement, économie – usages, numérique), l’élargissement aux enjeux liés aux données, au vieillissement, à la durabilité, à l’économie circulaire, mais tout autant l’investigation des nouveaux modes (des nouvelles façons ?) de construire sont vivement encouragés, ainsi que l’accentuation des partenariats académiques nationaux et internationaux.
As the CSTB began preparing its research road map for 2030, the evaluation of results conducted every four years by the Scientific Council of the CSTB stressed the relevance of the scientific and technical choices. The Council not only emphasized the need to continue research in its key areas (risk management, health, energy, environment, economy, uses, digital technologies), it strongly urged an additional focus on issues concerning data, aging, sustainability, the circular economy and investigation of new ways and means of construction, as well as expanding national and international partnerships with universities.
Regarding intellectual property, 2017 saw the implementation of a more proactive patent policy to protect research results and pave the way for robust partnerships with industrial companies. Both internally and with external stakeholders, the CSTB is promoting more targeted research that responds better to market needs, backed by scientific excellence whose markers remain scientific publications, patents and the development of research partnerships.
As concerns leveraging the results of its research, in addition to a rising number of partnerships with SMEs, large enterprises and local authorities, two examples illustrate the CSTB’s approach:first, the development of the KROQI platform, in support of the French National Digital Transition Plan for Construction (PTNB), which enables VSEs and SMEs to adjust to the digital transition, opening avenues to efficient services and successful transformation of the sector; second, as part of making research results available to the industry, the Bioguess subsidiary continues to develop its work on the detection of fungal contaminants using generic technologies that can be applied to numerous contaminants (dry rot, wood-boring insects, allergens, etc.) found in construction and other industries (food, health, etc.).
To summarize, although the advances are real and acknowledged in businesses, industrial companies and State services, including assessment of extreme events, such as the hurricane Irma, expectations are ever wider, spurred by multidisciplinary approaches and access to mass data. Charting a course for the research road map to address these crucial issues requires a solid policy for scientific and technical partnerships and a desire to provide solutions to all stakeholders. That is precisely the groundwork accomplished by the CSTB in 2017!