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Team players

STEEL

WHEN it formed earlier this year, the Manubuild consortium set an impressive industry precedent, scooping an historic 10 million euros of EU funding for its four-year research programme into the housing sector. Its members come from 10 European countries and include Corus, Taylor Woodrow, Dragados, NCC and Saint Gobain. The firms are adding a further 40 million euros into the pot.

'Manubuild is happening in the industry at the right time, ' says Samir Boudjabeur (below), principal engineer at Corus, who is seconded as project manager to the consortium.

'It brings all the players in the supply chain together.' He adds that the programme's main aim is to develop a system that integrates design and manufacture.

Members of the consortium will share the intellectual property rights.

'Design and manufacture are currently seen as two separate things; we want to link them together, ' says Mr Boudjabeur. 'We are looking at how we can work more efficiently, as you would in a car factory.' In the long-term the aim is to develop a software tool that would allow home owners to design their own houses.

Currently the members are planning a series of demonstration projects in Spain, Sweden and the UK.

Manubuild will be sharing its research results with the wider industry, building a website (www. manubuild. org) that aims to attract a community of at least 5,000 constructionrelated members across Europe.

'We launched the website six weeks ago and already have hund reds of regist rat ions. We est imate we will easily attract 5,000 members, ' says Mr Boudjabeur.