• Status: Closed

  • Key features: Investment of up to £4m in collaborative R&D projects that can lead to better whole-life performance of buildings.

  • Programme: Collaborative research and development

  • Award: up to £4m

  • Opens: 23 Feb 2015, 00:00

  • Registration closes: 01 Apr 2015, 12:00

  • Closes: 08 Apr 2015, 12:00

  • Support phone number: 0300 321 4357

Building whole-life performance

Competition results

See the competition results here.


Innovate UK is investing up to £4million in collaborative R&D projects that can lead to better whole-life performance of buildings. 
The aim is to maximise the long-term economic, societal and environmental contribution of buildings, by improving their whole-life performance. This aligns with the joint strategy by government and industry for the future of the UK construction industry. 
This competition is open to businesses from any sector, and is co-funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). 
Proposals must be collaborative and led by a business. We expect to fund mainly industrial research projects in which a business partner will generally attract up to 50% public funding for their project costs (60% for SMEs). 
A minority of costs are allowed for experimental development, for which a business can attract up to 25% public funding (35% for SMEs). 
We expect total project costs to range from  £150,000 to £800,000 and for projects to last from 12 to 30 months, although we may consider projects outside this range. 
This is a two-stage competition that opens for applicants on 23 February 2015. The deadline for registration is at noon on 1 April 2015 and the deadline for expressions of interest is at noon on 8 April 2015
A briefing for potential applicants will be held during the Resource event at ExCel, London, on 4 March 2015. 


The ‘whole-life performance' of a building starts with construction and continues through to the end of its life. Interventions can be made for all stages or at any stage to improve the building's whole-life performance. 
There are many technical, procedural and commercial reasons why a building may have poor whole-life performance and a growing body of information exists on these. For instance, the technical reasons include: 
• poor information management
• inadequate knowledge and skills
• over-specification
• inadequate quality control
• poorly integrated supply chains
• complex installation
• weak system integration
• unreliable commissioning
• poor durability
• inflexible systems
• difficulty in accessing and/or separating components. 
These were all identified in our Building Performance Evaluation programme:  https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/building-performance-evaluation 
Poor whole-life performance can have a direct impact on whole-life costs. The joint strategy by government and industry for the future of the UK construction industry, Construction 2025 (www.gov.uk/ government/publications/construction2025-strategy), wants to see a 33% reduction in the initial cost of construction and the whole-life cost of assets. This competition supports that ambition. 
There are many reasons why businesses should strive to improve the whole-life performance of buildings, including: 
• the need to improve existing buildings, in particular to extend their productive lifespan, while reducing environmental impact 
• the reputational advantage businesses can gain by closing the gap between the specified and actual whole-life performance 
• opportunities to reuse materials, rather than turn to ‘virgin' materials, to offset the whole-life impact of construction materials and waste 
• opportunities in some markets to achieve higher valuations by showing aspects of good whole-life performance, such as low running costs. 
Clients need to know why a building is underperforming and how better whole-life performance can be achieved. However, there are many clients for whom this is not yet a consideration. Innovations can stimulate them to take action. 


This competition is open to businesses from any sector with innovative proposals to improve the whole-life performance of buildings. 
Proposals should involve research into new knowledge for developing products, processes or services intended for deployment during any stage of a building's lifecycle. Examples include: 
• construction products
• whole-building solutions
• digital systems, perhaps associated with building information modelling (BIM)
• sensor and monitoring systems
• ways of improving occupant productivity
• circular business models
• assurance or investor products.
Proposals must follow at least one of three themes:

Stimulating customers to procure and manage better solutions 


Examples might be: 
• digital simulations of scenarios that enable customers to appreciate the benefits and value of better whole-life performance 
• new business models or contracts for whole-life performance, such as product leasing or performance-based contracts that can improve investor confidence, reduce commercial risks and, potentially, reduce initial costs. 

Improving a building's whole-life performance


Examples might be: 
• solutions that extend performance life or remove the technical reasons for poor whole-life performance (as listed in the Background section on the previous page) 
• re-engineered systems and processes that enable resources to be identified and reclaimed for re-use at end of life. 

Evidence of whole-life performance


This could involve novel surveying methods or integrated monitoring and software systems that inform a business case for improvement. 
In addressing at least one of these themes, applicants must make clear how their innovation supports the aims of this competition and which aspects of whole-life performance they are addressing. Refer to relevant standards and industry initiatives as necessary. 
Applicants must also identify the type of client or building to which the innovation applies. 
Successful proposals will have highlighted the likely impact of the innovation and how it will be financially sustainable. We are particularly keen to support innovations with high-value export potential. 
Projects may involve research within one or more representative buildings. There is no formal requirement to include a building owner within a consortium but this might be useful for developing test cases. 
The UK's research base has considerable expertise in the area of whole-life performance so we encourage businesses to collaborate with academic and research organisations, such as research and technology organisations (RTOs), the EPSRC's Innovation and Knowledge Centres (www.epsrc.ac.uk) or the End Use Energy Demand Centres (www.eued.ac.uk). 
Innovations that do not work at building-scale are outside the scope of this competition. There are other Innovate UK competitions dedicated to city-scale and infrastructure asset innovations. 
You can take advantage of our free-to-use Horizons tool horizons.innovateuk.org/ to develop your proposals. 

Funding allocation and project details

We have allocated up to £4million to fund collaborative R&D projects that address the challenges outlined in the scope. 
Successful applicants can attract grant funding towards their eligible project costs. The percentage of costs that we pay varies, depending on the type of research being carried out and the type of organisation involved. 
For this competition projects must be collaborative and led by a business. They should last from 12 to 30 months. We are primarily seeking to fund industrial research with a large business partner attracting 50% public funding for their project costs (60% for SMEs). 
We expect total project costs to range in size from £150,000 to £800,000. We may consider projects outside this range but applicants should contact us directly before making their application, to discuss further. 
The Knowledge Transfer Network has produced companion material to expand on the technical scope of this competition. It can be found at https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/bwlp
To find out if your business fits the EU definition of an SME, see: http://ec.europa. eu/enterprise/policies/sme/index_en.htm 

Application process

This is a two-stage competition that opens for applicants on 23 February 2015. 
Stage 1 - applicants submit an expression of interest which is assessed. 
Stage 2 – we invite selected applicants to submit an application. 
The deadline for registration is at noon on 1 April 2015 and the deadline for expressions of interest is at noon on 8 April 2015. The second stage deadline for invited applications is at noon on 28 May 2015. 
Applications are assessed on individual merit by an independent panel of experts. 
A briefing for potential applicants will be held during the Resource event at ExCel, London, on 4 March 2015 to highlight the main features of the competition and explain the application process. Applicants are strongly recommended to attend. 
To register for this event, go to https://connect.innovateuk.org/events 
Note: All deadlines are at noon

More information

For more information and all the documents you need to read before you apply, including the Guidance for Applicants, go to the web page for this competition by using the search function at interact.innovateuk.org/ 
To apply you must first register with us through the competition page on the website. Registration opens when the competition opens and closes a week before the deadline for expressions of interest. 
Competition helpline: 0300 321 4357

Help for SMEs to grow faster

Small businesses that combine the funding they receive from us with additional business support are more likely to grow faster. If you are an SME and receive funding through this competition, you will automatically gain access to a growth workshop, an online diagnostic and a growth expert to help you develop a growth plan. This may include coaching, mentoring, entrepreneurial skills training.


As part of the application process all applicants are asked to submit a public description of the project. This should adequately describe the project but not disclose any information that may impact on intellectual property, is confidential or commercially sensitive. The titles of successful projects, names of organisations, amounts awarded and the public description will be published once the decision to offer an award has been communicated to applicants by email. Information about unsuccessful project applications will remain confidential and will not be made public.
E-mail pressoffice@innovateuk.gov.uk with any queries. 

Key dates

Competition opens: 23 February 2015

Competition briefing: 4 March 2015

Online registration deadline: 1 April 2015 noon

Expressions of interest deadline: 8 April 2015 noon

Stage 2 opens for invited applicants: 27 April 2015

Deadline for invited applications: 28 May 2015 noon