Institute: Belgian Building Research Institute
Research unit: LMA – Laboratory of Materials for Structural and Finishing Works
Researchers: Yves Grégoire, Arwen Smits, Inge Dirkx, Stijn Mertens
Belgian Building Research Institute
The Belgian Building Research Institute (BBRI) is a private research institute founded in 1960 under impulse of the National Federation of Belgian Building Contractors in application of the so-called “De Groote” decree-law of 1947. Specifically, this decree-law named after the former Minister of Economic Affairs aimed at promoting applied research in industry order to improve its competitiveness.
In application of this law the statutory contributing members of BBRI are the more than 70 000 Belgian construction companies (general contractors, carpenters, glaziers, plumbers, roofers, floorers, plasterers, painters, etc…) most of which are SMEs.
According to its statutes BBRI has the following three main missions:
- to perform scientific and technical research at regional, national and international level for the benefit of its members
- to supply technical information, assistance and consultancy to its members (> 20.000 advices per year to the Belgian building sector, > 700 trainings and courses for various types of contractors)
- to contribute in general to innovation and development in the construction sector in particular by performing contract research upon request of the industry and the authorities.
To fulfill its mission BBRI pools on the expertise of some 240 highly skilled and motivated staff members with widely varying education, allowing as such setting up multidisciplinary teams as required by the problems to be dealt with.
BBRI is in charge of the performance assessment of new products for which a technical approval is asked at the Belgian level (BUTgb-UBatc) and involved in the European technical approval (EUTGB-UEATC-EOTA). We also assume the role of sectorial operator (decentralization of the Belgian Normalisation Bureau NBN) for several normalization commissions in the construction domain (Belgian mirror commission of CEN TCs).
Research programmes at BBRI are in general initiated and monitored by Technical Commissions bringing together all the relevant stakeholders, i.e. contractors, material producers, authorities, designers, architects, property developers, universities, etc. This guarantees that research is concentrated on work yielding close-to-practice results for the members. The BBRI laboratories are accredited according to NBN EN ISO 17025 by BELAC and/or have been notified to the EC as test laboratories working in the framework of the CPD.
BBRI has a very long experience in regional, national and international projects and has played a coordinating role in several European Thematic Networks. We were active as coordinator or partner in several successful projects.
Laboratory of Materials for Structural and Finishing Works (LMA) – Research fields
The laboratory of Materials for Structural and Finishing Works (LMA) of BBRI will work on this research project. This laboratory has an important experience in the domain of finishing and structural materials, in particular linked to durability aspects, resulting in:
- a series of research activities within this domain
- technological test campaigns executed for material producers or contractors with the aim of acquiring technical Belgian or European approvals
- analysis of pathological cases and technical advises for contractors
- direct contact with the sector via for instance the Technical Committees.
The laboratory LMA has a vast amount of test equipment that will be used during this research project:
- all the necessary equipment to measure characteristics of materials in fresh state (consistence, open time, ..) and hardened state (deformation recorders, vacuum pump for water absorption, volume mass, …)
- press and traction equipment for the determination of mechanical and adhesion properties
- monitored exposure site to study the behaviour of building materials and systems with regard to their natural ageing in rural environment. The climatic data (rain fall, temperature, relative humidity, sun shine, wind, ..) are recorded continuously.
- monitored automatic climatic chambers to study the artificial ageing in the laboratory by performing climatic conditions or cycles of heat, cold, rain and humidity. The durability of building materials can be tested for a maximum size of two façade panels of 3.6m long by 2.5m high.
The laboratory is accredited BELAC (according to ISO 17025) for the execution of a lot of tests on construction materials and follows the guidelines to be accredited according to ISO14001 for the treatment of environmental aspects in the labs.