“I have a new product, what should I do to have it certified?” Although the same question is asked by all construction professionals, it reflects many different needs. In particular, it was heard frequently during discussions between innovative VSEs and SMEs and experts during the speed meetings of the CSTB and its partners on November 5 at the BATIMAT trade show. Staff from the ARIANE service and the National Support Network met with stakeholders of the construction industry at the CSTB's stand. Let's take a look back at the event with Nadège Blanchard, manager of ARIANE.

ARIANE and the National Support Network

About the speed meeting: “Our discussions with companies echoed the services that we provide all year long, with the advantage of being able to speak with them in person,” said Nadège Blanchard, manager of the ARIANE service at the CSTB. “The speed meetings help promote the ARIANE service and the National Support Network of CSTB regional partners. In the space of a single afternoon, the speed meetings provided a concrete, concise overview of the support services offered to innovators, as closely as possible to the local level.”

The challenge of innovation

“In my interactions with them, I see the dynamism of the stakeholders of the construction sector, who are offering new products and processes,” continued Nadège Blanchard. “The important thing is to raise their awareness about the basic notion of the ‘product functioning within the structure.’ The idea is that intrinsically efficient products that are used inappropriately might not be satisfactory. For example, a photovoltaic guard rail for a residential building. Although energy performance is the innovative focus of the guard rail, it is also necessary to prove the fitness for purpose of the process as a guard rail. It's a question of safety. I also explain that demonstrating compliance with the applicable laws and regulations is a mandatory step in bringing the product to market, quite apart from the assessments.”

The innovation pathway

Understanding this challenge – the suitability for use of the innovation integrated into the building – is crucial. The organization of the innovation pathway is essential, too. “It is important to organize the project properly, starting right from the R&D phase, and the CSTB can help innovators with this aspect. This way, it is easier to see early on what the construction requirements will be, so they can optimize the project's costs and timeframe. As part of the ARIANE service, I also help applicants with their assessment procedures. I help them define the “product/use” pair, draft the preliminary technical documentation and identify the steps to be followed and the experts to be contacted.”

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