ecobim is a European research project coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland under ECO-INNOVERA 1st Transnational R&D Call – Topic 1: Paradigm Change. The project consortium includes also three SMEs from Finland, Germany and France and CSTB, the French building research centre.

The paradigm change to eco-innovation within the construction sector means more than technological innovation. Systemic approaches including LCA and ICTs are needed to cover social, environmental and economic aspects. Novel business models are also needed to create clear advantages for all actors (particularly SMEs) in the value chain. Effective and easy-to-use tools are needed for the implementation of the developed model.

ecobim’s main aim is to develop a sustainable construction business model to support paradigm change in eco-innovation. Likewise, ecobim will develop recommendations to policy makers for its successful implementation covering the whole value chain. A roadmap for new business models for sustainable construction procurement in direct collaboration with SMEs is innovative through flexible life-cycle assessment tools based on indicators and linked to BIMs. The life-cycle approach in this case considers a wide perspective, beyond the common rigidity, to adapt to different realities while being able to accommodate changes and allow room for innovation.

In short, the main output expected is the development of a set of guidelines based on indicators for sustainable eco-innovative construction business models. This process will also provide as a result a roadmap for enterprises, particularly SMEs, and easy-to-understand recommendations for policy makers.

Establishing a networking platform with SMEs enables the identification of new innovation fields within the construction sector and the development of the required methodologies and tools to serve the whole value chain. Top down and bottom up approaches are used concurrently to boost the eco-innovation infrastructure. Selecting the right kind of SMEs is also important in terms of them being representative enough of the variety and complexity of the construction process. In this sense, the SMEs selected for the consortium are an architectural firm from Finland, an eco-consultant from Germany and an ICT consultant from France.

Several case studies in north, central and south Europe will link ecobim’s sustainable construction business model to SMEs daily practice, thus covering the European dimension and providing business opportunities for the common marketplace. The case studies are national but interactive information exchange ensures covering the whole value chain even considering local special features.

ecobim is intended to positively and widely impacting the sustainability of the community while focusing mainly in changing the present paradigm of construction business models, therefore resulting in an improved quality of life for citizens and new business opportunities for the participating partners. This will be supported by more integrated ICT tools, based on PLM (Process Lifecycle Management) in order to foster collaboration between stakeholders.