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The Norwegian Building Research Institute to merge with SINTEF

The Norwegian Building Research Institute and SINTEF’s building and construction research groups are merging to form SINTEF Building Research AS, which will be formally established on January 1, 2006.

Terje Jacobsen (left), acting managing director of SINTEF Building Research AS and Tor Ulleberg, Executive Vice Precident of SINTEF Technology and Society, are strong supporters of the merger. The new company will form a new research division of SINTEF.
Photo: Svein Tønseth

The need to make a greater national and international impact is what underlies the merger. The new company will be wholly owned by SINTEF, which will invest NOK 40 million in share capital in SINTEF Building Research AS.

The new company will have a staff of 250 at its launch. SINTEF Building Research AS will be a major actor at the European level in R & D, product documentation, knowledge transfer and specialist consulting services in the building, construction and housing sectors.

The Research Council of Norway, NTNU and the Federation of Norwegian Construction Industries are all positive to the merger.

More research will benefit society as a whole
A major new building research institute working together with the construction industry will act as a driving force for greater efforts in building and construction research. The Norwegian building, construction and property industry produces 10% of the country’s added value, and 60% of real investment in mainland Norway. The sector is the same size as the domestic oil and gas industry, but the amount of research done by this sector bears little relationship to its importance for society as a whole.

The industry itself estimates that investment in research and development could produce an annual increase in added value of NOK 20 to 30 billion. The new research institute will have the capacity to carry out both large-scale research programmes and follow up the many small companies in this sector at close hand. It will aim to raise the level of innovation and productivity besides producing a social benefit in the form of improved quality.

Complementary skills
The partners in the merger possess complementary areas of expertise, and their fields of activity overlap only slightly. The headquarters of the new company will be in Oslo.

The 150 staff of the Norwegian Building Research Institute make up Norway’s leading centre of R & D in the building and housing sector. Their expertise is mainly in the fields of installations, energy and indoor environment, materials and structures, as well as in the building process itself. Much of the activity of the Institute, which is based in Oslo and Trondheim, deals with product documentation and knowledge transfer.

The 100 SINTEF employees who will join SINTEF Building Research AS are currently members of staff of the Departments of Architecture and Building Technology, Rock and Soil Mechanics, Concrete, the Coast and Harbour Research Laboratory and Road and Railway Engineering. SINTEF NBL AS, which is Norway’s centre of expertise in fire technology, will continue to be a limited company, wholly owned by SINTEF Building Research AS.

SINTEF Building Research will also draw on the expertise of other parts of the SINTEF Group, and its potential for interdisciplinary R & D projects will be greatly expanded.


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By Svein Tønseth