Built4People partnership: EBC talks about inclusivity and innovation in construction

The first ever Built4People (B4P) Stakeholder Forum took place online on 1 June, under the coordination of the European Construction Technology Platform (ECTP), the World Green Building Council’s Europe Regional Network, and the European Commission.

After a plenary session with interventions by DG Energy, six thematic sessions were organised, mirroring the six strategic areas for discussion through the prism of people-centric innovation identified by the B4P partnership: Scaling innovations, Innovation clusters, Inclusivity, Climate-neutrality, Circularity, and Health & Wellbeing.

EBC was invited to moderate the thematic session dedicated to inclusivity, with EBC President Philip van Nieuwenhuizen and Tecnalia Senior Researcher Silvia Urra Uriarte as Firestarter speakers. The debate focused on what inclusivity means in the construction sector, how to better liaise users and workers, and how to make more people-centric the built environment.

EBC President emphasized that for construction SMEs inclusivity primarily means:

  • Include SMEs and SME representatives in all relevant political, technical, and educational fora to boost a people-centric construction ecosystem, as SMEs mostly operate at local level
  • Better channel EU funding towards SMEs in construction to bridge the gap between innovation and SMEs, enhance further participation of construction SMEs in EU projects and provide financial and technical support for all type of SMEs
  • Include more underrepresented population groups in construction, notably by boosting the participation of women, by making effective use of innovation to attract youth and new talents from other fields, and by accompanying the generational passing of the torch

In addition to make the B4P partnership better known, this event allowed a deep dive into the European policy context and how it can stimulate innovation in the sector by fomenting a direct exchange between representatives of the construction value chain and major leaders of innovation and research in construction.

Human-centred by nature due to their local activities, construction SMEs welcome the opportunity to exchange with the innovation and research community for a more environmentally and socially sustainable built environment. As for EBC, it will continue to contribute to the promotion of such direct exchanges between its members and the innovation community.

The Built4People partnership is the co-programmed partnership within Horizon Europe providing a cross-cluster structure, bringing together public and private sectors to create research and innovation pathways based on a holistic view of the built environment for sustainability and better living. B4P’s ambition is to catalyse the transition to a people-centric, climate-neutral, sustainable, and smart built environment that will meet the objectives of the European Green Deal, sustain the ambitious objectives of the Renovation Wave, and align with the bold aims of the New European Bauhaus.