The NEWCOM project, funded by Horizon 2020, is supporting EU building professionals on the execution of high quality nearly zero-energy buildings. We spoke with Georg Trnka, project coordinator, who told us more about how they are doing it.
Could you describe the project and its objectives?
The objectives of the NEWCOM project are twofold. First, we are supporting the development of training schemes for enabling construction workers and building professionals to build according to the nearly zero-energy building standard and second, we are preparing a basis for the mutual recognition of the developed training schemes.
Due to the current needs of the partner countries, NEWCOM focuses on the development of training modules for the optimal implementation of flat roofs (including structural waterproofing) and comfort ventilation systems. In addition, training modules will be developed for quality assurance in the planning, implementation and operation phase of nearly zero-energy buildings.
NEWCOM therefore helps to increase the proficiency in the construction itself, in quality assurance and professional execution of nearly zero-energy buildings as well as to make the capability of professionals visible and comparable in order to create a basis for a Europe-wide recognition of competences.
What are the main challenges and achievements?
The current barriers in constructing high-quality buildings are in particular inadequate quality assurance, the construction companies´ lack of interest in increasing the competence of their employees and lack of demand from the clients’ side for sustainable and energy-efficient buildings.
There is also a decline in demand for personnel certification (in accordance with ISO 17024) in the field of building technology and passive house standards. Only legally binding required personnel certifications for safety-relevant work can currently assert their position in the market.
As a result, NEWCOM has developed training modules that can be used both as standalone and as a complement to already established courses, based on the current needs of partner countries for flat roof and structural waterproofing and comfort ventilation. Similarly, training modules for quality assurance have been developed in the planning, implementation and operation phases of near zero-energy buildings. The training modules have been developed in cooperation with educational institutions, further education institutes as well as public and private stakeholders.
With the aim of a Europe-wide comparability of acquired skills, a competence database for flat roofers, ventilation installers and building inspectors is currently being developed. This database is intended to provide a basis for the mutual recognition of skills of professionals throughout Europe.
How do you think Horizon 2020 funding helped you in the development of your project?
Without European funding, the development of needed further education schemes could not be implemented because of the mentioned current barriers in constructing high-quality buildings.
EU funding is especially necessary for enabling the mutual recognition of competences of blue-collar workers in Europe together with the development of according harmonized qualification schemes.
What is in your opinion the golden tip for potential beneficiaries, the key to success to get funding?
To develop a proposal with an excellent chance for a positive evaluation by the European commission I would recommend to:
- stick clearly to the topic description of the work programme,
- define clear and pertinent project objectives,
- develop a high quality project concept (including a credible implementation methodology and highly effective work plan),
- be clear on how the outputs of the project will contribute to the expected impacts mentioned in the work programme under the relevant topic,
- develop already in the proposal phase a credible communication and dissemination plan to support the implementation of your project activities and the communication of your project results in the best way,
- make sure that the resources assigned to work packages are in line with your objectives and deliverables,
- don’t forget to include a risk management plan,
- keep an eye on the complementarity of your project partners to make sure that your consortium as a whole brings together the necessary expertise in a perfect way,
- and finally, ensure that all project partners have a valid role and adequate resources in your project.
Further information on the project on their website.