“Innovation and technology are gaining ground in the sector” – Real Estate and Urban Rehabilitation

The construction sector was not at a standstill, even in times of greater crisis such as the period of the pandemic or the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine. Despite the suffering, the sector has managed to reinvent itself and ensure growth, associating itself more and more with new technologies. In an interview with Negócios em Rede, Manuel Reyes Campos, President of the Portuguese Confederation of Construction and Real Estate (CPCI) and the Association of Civil Construction and Public Works Makers (AICCOPN), spoke about this and other facts.

How do you currently view the construction sector in Portugal?

We look at the sector with confidence, because despite the cyclical difficulties we are facing, and above all as a result of the uncertainty and inflationary pressures that we have seen around the world, which began with the epidemic and was severely exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, this is the case. Flexible activity.

Estimates of the development of production in this sector point to a growth of 5.5% in 2022 after a positive variance of 4.3% last year, and recently, the Bank of Portugal revised its GDP forecast downward, but expects an increase in investment of 9.2. %, higher than the previously expected 7.2%, and highlights the significant acceleration in the “implementation of projects financed by European funds” and the 5.8% residential investment growth.

How important is PRR to this region?

PRR is a key tool for the entire economy. More specifically in relation to the sector, in addition to its transversal and highly favorable presence in terms of the implementation of the planned investments, the areas of housing and energy efficiency are of particular interest. First of all, housing is the component with the largest single dimension, representing 1.583 million euros in grants and 1,150 million in loans. It is also expected to amount to 610 million euros to support energy efficiency in residential, service and public administration buildings.

How to use technology to manage buildings more efficiently and increase return on investment?

Innovation and technology are gaining ground in the sector and the so-called Building 4.0 is a reality that is gradually asserting itself, as it focuses precisely on providing solutions capable of managing more efficiently not only the construction process, but the entire life cycle of buildings, with closely related effects on their return on investment.

The digitization and industrialization of construction allows for more significant efficiency gains in the current context of high inflation pressures, as well as allows for permanent building monitoring and preventive intervention, and thus at lower costs.

Are there examples of this use?

Examples of this use that allow for better management of buildings can be cited, such as BIM, sensing and monitoring, so-called “big data” and predictive analysis, among others. Today, it is possible to develop models that make it possible to program maintenance interventions taking into account the real conditions of use of buildings and equipment, or to identify potential risks, allowing timely and optimized actions capable of reducing costs, and thus improving levels of profitability.

Is there a history of zero footprint (decarbonization)?

The European Union assumed ambitious targets, from the outset, for buildings with virtually no energy balance, pointing to 2030, but these commitments on energy performance for buildings aim, above all, at new construction and in-depth rehabilitation interventions.

At the level of existing building stock, in its “European Strategy for a Wave of Renovation”, the European Commission has also set targets by 2030: to double the current rates of energy rehabilitation for residential and non-residential buildings, which are currently around a 1% European scale, resulting in improved energy performance for 35 million buildings and created an additional 160,000 “green” jobs in the construction sector.

Can smallholders achieve this goal?

Small landowners are critical for the country to achieve the desired goals, a process that we know is inevitable, but which must be carried out gradually and it is essential to provide support in this sense.

It is essential to train companies and positively differentiate those who implement more efficient solutions from an energy and environmental point of view, comply with established rules, such as obtaining certification or a building permit, and invest in their qualifications and ability to respond to sustainability challenges.

What is the reality of smart buildings in Portugal?

It is a fact that is clearly increasing and we currently have in Portugal the best technologies that are being applied in many areas. Some examples that have been used more can be mentioned, such as energy control systems, passive solar systems, wireless monitoring, connected equipment, augmented reality, virtual simulation, predictive models, advanced building materials, and BIM.

AICCOPN says it exists

AICCOPN has created RU-IS | A smart and sustainable urban qualification, specifically geared towards corporate training and differentiation that also works with entrepreneurs and the general public, in order to promote the values ​​of sustainability and re-emphasize the importance of employing qualified companies. AICCOPN awards companies that comply with the quality and legality standard the distinction of “RU-IS Qualified Company”.

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