The building and construction industry is an important part of the EU economy and society. It contributes to about 9% of the EU ́s GDP and provides around 18 million direct jobs. It also creates high-skill jobs and investment in other industries that leads to further social and economic benefits.
There are two important challenges to address in the sector. One is related to the increasing implementation of ICT tools, while the other is associated with a greater requirement of managerial and collective skills brought by the changing profile of the sector. Building Information Modelling (BIM) is disrupting the sector. This tool provides all stakeholders with a digital representation of a building’s characteristics throughout its entire life-cycle and thereby holds out the promise of large efficiency gains. BIM is being rapidly adopted, so it is critical for public bodies and industries that the sector maximises its value to deliver improved efficiencies and increased innovation in the management, design, construct and operation phases of a built asset. Training the current and incoming workforce is necessary to ensure effective adoption of BIM.
The demand of public and private environments adapted to the needs of older adults is expected to grow in the coming years. By 2050, the number of people in the EU aged 65 and above is expected to grow by 70% and the number of people over 80 by 170% . Despite living longer, EU citizens will spend too many years in old age in environments conceived for younger and healthier people, creating dependency, isolation and mental health problems. Being physical and social environments key determinants for people to remain healthy and autonomous into their old age.
In this context, the use of BIM in the design, construction and management of multifunctional indoor environments will greatly contribute to meet the requirements of Europe’s ageing population while promoting healthy and safe ageing.
The main aim of ESSENSE is to develop and implement a common curriculum and learning approach on BIM towards the design, construction and management of public and private environments for older adults that will meet the learning needs of Higher Education students. These will be relevant to the labour market and societal needs of an ageing society. This will address the following topics:
- BIM for smart housing and Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) principles and their interaction.
- The needs of the senior citizens and their caretakers (both professional and relatives).
- Transversal and non-technical competences needed for an optimum implementation of BIM principles and AAL concepts, such as project management, innovation and collective skills and competences.
ESSENSE is comprised of seven entities, Higher Education and Vocational Education and Training institutions, business associations and representatives of social enterprises, bringing varied expertise on teaching, BIM, project management, ICT, Smart Housing and AAL, where collaboration will directed at significant societal challenges like our ageing population.
ESSENSE will comprise the the following activities and results:
- Surveys, comparative analysis and evidence-gathering, studies of real life cases that will provide an accurate analysis of the current situation and evolution of Smart Housing and AAL within the BIM Method.
- Development of an educational philosophy and joint curriculum according to the target groups needs having as a basis both the skills and competences required for the use of BIM tools for the design, construction and adaptation of environments for an active and healthy ageing.
- The development of didactic materials, tools and assessment methods.
- The arrangement of six transnational meetings and four multiplier events.
- The definition of a Blueprint and the deployment of its action plan.
- Project management and implementation activities, quality management and information, promotion and dissemination activities. ESSENSE will offer innovative educational tools to HE students and experts from building-related fields that are aligned with the future needs of society and with the opportunities that the implementation of Smart Housing and AAL principles that BIM processes can bring. Furthermore, through project results and the activities carried out, partners will raise awareness among authorities about the importance of aligning the educational programmes to societal needs and implementing these principles in educational and labour policies.