Cobuilder receives funding to create a digital tool for sustainable construction

Modified on January 24, 2020

The Bulgarian subsidiary of the Norwegian company Cobuilder has been awarded a grant through the Business Development, Innovation and SMEs programme under the Norway Grants 2014 -2021. The programme encourages companies to develop and commercialise innovative technologies, processes and solutions and to implement sustainable production processes.

The project ECObim

The key objective of Cobuilder’s project ECObim is to facilitate the construction industry actors in creating a better and greener built environment. A new digital tool will allow real estate developers and contractors to ensure that construction projects are completed according to their environmental objectives by enabling better control over the materials and systems installed on the construction site. The ECObim project also aims at promoting transparency and reducing greenwashing practices in the construction sector.

For this project, Cobuilder teams up with NCC, one of the leading construction and property development companies in the Nordic region. NCC will trial Cobuilder’s solution to implement environmental requirements during specification, cost estimation and purchasing both internally and in the digital information exchange with other actors involved in their construction projects.

digital twin

Cobuilder was established in Norway in 1997 and in the last few years has been expanding rapidly on the European market. In 2013, the company established its first subsidiary outside of Norway – Cobuilder International, which is based in Sofia. Currently, the Bulgarian branch has more than 100 employees, among these over 50 ICT specialists and many construction industry experts, such as architects, civil, electrical and HVAC engineers, etc.

The future of construction is digital

“The construction sector is traditionally one of the most conservative industries and has been very slow to adopt digital technology. Yet, it is one of the sectors where better information management can bring about huge benefits.” – explains Bistra Papazova, CEO of Cobuilder International.

A typical construction project accumulates a huge amount of information, both to ensure regulatory compliance, but also to trace and coordinate the efforts of all the different actors involved in the project – developers, architects, engineers, contractors, suppliers, operation and maintenance teams, etc. Furthermore, all this information needs to be properly stored and available for a very long period of time – during the entire life cycle of the built asset. Therefore, good information management is paramount to ensure that project goals are met within the specified budget and timeframe, and that the asset is efficiently managed throughout its long years of operation.

‘But this is just the business aspect of improving sustainability. Now let’s take a look at the bigger picture’, says Bistra Papazova. ‘Buildings account for 40% of the world’s energy consumption and just over 40% of the world’s carbon footprint. There is huge potential and need for improvement here.’

A decisive step towards greener construction

Today, resource efficiency and environmental protection are key topics in both European and world politics, and the European Union has a very clear vision of Europe’s economic future – a resource-efficient, green and competitive low-carbon economy.

‘Through the Business Development, Innovation and SMEs programme, Cobuilder has a unique opportunity to actively contribute towards the achievement of Europe’s environmental goals.’, says Bistra Papazova. ‘Our mission is to create a better built environment, and we believe that the ECObim project will pave the road towards a greener and more sustainable construction.’