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Sustainability, Innovation and Management in Building (SIMB)

The building sector in Sweden constitutes some 10% of the GNP. The building sector heavily exploits our natural resources and thus has a strong impact on our environment. There is a heavy demand on growth in the sector as there is lack of infrastructure and residential buildings in our society. However, the sector has received a bad reputation because of high costs and problems with damp and quality faults in newly built houses.

The SIMB research group has an ambition to work in areas which are important for the sector´s future success:

  • Innovation in construction
  • Cooperative forms in the building process
  • Sustainable building

The goals of the research group are also to design and implement research projects in accordance with these areas. The intention in the first area is to study how company processes impact on the ability of the construction companies to innovate and develop. A special interest is devoted to the relationship between the project specific construction companies and the process specific supply companies — an interesting cooperative model to study is the strategic alliance between the two. Other perspectives which are worthy of exploration include the different cooperative forms within the building process.

The group has especially studied functional contracting forms, which can give the contractor incentives for development and innovation and also encourage the contractor take more responsibility for quality perspectives in the projects. The group has a focus on energy in terms of sustainable building and there is an ongoing cooperation with one of the most important real estate companies in the region. Finally, a new theme, Customer demand in the building process has been initiated in the group in which a doctoral student is currently working.

Regionally and locally the group has well established relations with companies, organisations and authorities and has carried out cooperative research projects on for example logistics on the building site and weather protection systems in construction. There is also an on-going discussion with Chalmers University of Technology to set up a research school in the field of “Industrialised construction". A different project in the group will study sustainable low-cost housing in Ethiopia. A pilot study has been made and depending on financing a project will be carried out in Ethiopia.

SIMB is part of the larger research community: Centre for research on Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning (CIEL).

Bengt Larsson

Updated 2008-05-19