TURKISH CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGY PLATFORM
The aim of Turkish Construction Technology Platform is to constitute a common platform for the different actors of the sector to vision the future of the sector by highlighting the new and developing tracks in the world, to facilitate the development of new strategies for the sector, to encourage and coordinate the research and development activities in the sector.
The productivity and quality in the Turkish Construction sector can be further improved by giving more importance to R&D and thus by increasing the number of research activities/projects. Hence it is important to establish new partnerships and/or joint activities to use the available resources in efficient ways and with maximum profits for all the participants and in consequence for the wellness of the sector. Thus, one of the major objectives of Turkish Construction Technology Platform is to search for the possibilities to raise funds for such activities, to inform the sector about such national and international funds, especially about EU Framework Programs and to set new relations/possibilities for the sector for further international collaborations.
The increasing number of large scale construction activities both in Turkey and in abroad realized by Turkish Companies should not only be regarded as technological activities requiring new devices, materials, techniques but also as a medium affecting the environment, social relations, culture and etc. Therefore, it should be realized that “construction activity” is beyond to be a technological implementation but it covers all the acts to build environments affecting the societies in direct or indirect ways.
An Overview of the Sector
Construction sector is one of the leading sectors of Turkey’s economy feeding 150 side sectors, employing thousand of people and contributing Turkey’s export with high shares.
The share of the sector in the Gross Domestic Product varies between 3-8 %, its share in 2005 is 4.4 % and the sum of the expenditures is 44.084 billion YTL (New Turkish Liras). Its rate in the overall employment was 4.7 % in 2004 and it is increased to 5.3 % in 2005. That means it provides 1.171 million employments in an overall employment of 22.046 million. Turkish contractors work in 63 countries and their total business volume raised to a value of 64 billion dollars and the number of executed projects is over 3.000. In 2005 the sum of the bids in abroad are 9.3 billion Dollars and the rate in the world market is around 3 %.
These data show that, Turkish Construction Sector has became an active actor competing in the international arena with such increases in the exportation of both construction materials and contractor services in the recent years.
Aside from the economical and competitive sides of the sector profile, another subject gaining importance is the social, cultural and environmental dimensions of the construction activities in Turkey. High increase rate of the population and urbanization result in large demands for housing, which in return frequently comes with irregular urbanization and squatter’s houses. The non-residential building construction, on the other hand, will be marked with many undergoing large-scale urban transformation projects. The effects of these projects on the city and environment should be critically assessed. Besides these large-scale urban transformation projects, a series of large scale infrastructural projects that are a part of the building activities of the state, should be expected in Turkey within the coming decade.
It is also important to inquire the quality of the existing building stock. It is strongly believed that the half of the existing building stock is below the quality standards. Thus it is necessary to develop new standards and to implement them in design and construction practice.
It is known that 92 % of Turkey’s land is on earthquake zone; in the last 58 years approximately 60.000 people died in the earthquakes and more than 400.000 buildings collapsed totally. It is necessary to follow strict renovation/reinforcement policies about the building/infrastructure stocks first in these zones and then generally. Besides there must be rules and regulations regulating the construction process of the new buildings ensuring the attainment of expected quality standards.
The general tendency of renovating and transforming the existing building stock observed in construction sector requires concentrated research effort to develop and adapt new construction technologies and materials to accomplish new projects according to quality standards both in building scale and urban scale.
Research and Development
The actors of our construction sector, with their different interests and attitudes, are in a fragmented working environment which has adversely affecting both building design and construction process and research-development activities. Moreover, consumers (employers/users)) are alienated from the process and they cannot be aware of their responsibilities as well as potential benefits of their involvements.
It is then essential to coordinate “building production process” and the “researches taking place in this process”.
R&D activities of construction technologies in Turkey are supported by governmental or semi governmental agencies such as Ministries, Small and Medium Industry Development Organization (KOSGEB) of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, State Planning Organization (DPT), Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBİTAK), public and private universities, profit and non-profit organizations and by private companies. These supports and funds are mostly used case-based and it is rather difficult to collect data about such funds and gross share of R&D activities.
On the other hand, Turkey as a country on the way to be a member of EU, contributes to the framework programs with large amounts, 500 million Euros annually, since the beginning of this integration process and yet Turkey’s participation in these framework programs is very minor when compared with funding contributions. It is necessary to encourage different actors to take place in the EU the framework programmes by informing and moderating all possible contributors as the ones involving construction. Then, it will be possible to fully benefit from the EU, and cutting edge technologies can be brought into practice, like nanotechnologies, new materials, production methods, new devices and utilities and more in relation with the well-being of the society.
In this sense, it is consented that lack of governmental and/or private centers focused on construction process to coordinate such R&D activities is a major obstacle in benefiting national and international funds, identifying the priorities of the sector and organization and collaboration among the possible participants. Establishment of Turkish Construction Technology Platform is believed to create a medium to overcome such problems observed in the sector and to act as a mediator/catalysis where all the actors can meet around common objectives. Moreover, Turkish Construction Technology Platform will serve as a portal in which the experience gained by 6th Framework Programme can be spread among the sector members to participate the 7th Research and Technological Development Framework Programme.
It is seen that funds spared for research activities have been increasing year by year in EU level, so does Turkey’s share in this funds, yet number of research proposals and number of recognized and accepted projects proposed by Turkey is very limited either due to inadequate experience in preparing project proposals according to EU framework standards, or insufficient information about possibilities and potentials of these framework programmes or choosing research topics that are not included in the priorities of EU. Hence the importance of establishing Turkish Construction Technology Platform with the objectives declared as a counterpart of ECTP to improve the existing situation can be recognized.
The goals of the Turkish Construction Technology Platform can be outlined as follows:
- To create a platform where all the actors of construction sector can come together for ideas exchange.
- To draw a road-map for the sector with an aim to develop short/medium/long term strategies.
- To encourage the sector members to have more active participation in the EU Framework Programs, as well as to search way for the more efficient use of national resources.
- To coordinate research work operated separately in various fields of the sector.
- To encourage R&D work and to establish a dialogue for research-oriented partnerships within the sector.