The National Building Research Institute (NBRI) at the Technion is the research framework through which faculty members from the Technion’s Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who work in the various areas of building research, conduct their funded research. As a national R&D center, NBRI contributes to the enrichment and advancement of professional knowledge in the fields of construction, to formulation of national policies, to promotion and realization of new technologies, to development of solutions to complex engineering problems in the construction sector, and to the dissemination of professional knowledge developed at the Institute.
The Institute was founded in 1988 as a joint venture of the Israeli Government, The Ministry of Construction and Housing, and the Technion. NBRI originated from the Building Research Station that was established at the Technion in 1952, and operated since then as the leading center for building sciences and research in Israel.
In 2001, the Government of Israel decided to appoint NBRI to act as the official body responsible for the assessment and approval of innovative building systems, and to ensure the continuity of its research activities and status as a leading research institute promoting professional knowledge in the country’s building and construction sector. The 2014 renewed Framework Agreement between the Government of Israel, the Ministry of Construction and Housing, and the Technion secures NBRI’s general activities in accordance with the government aforementioned decision, including the activities of NBRI’s Building Systems Evaluation and Approval Unit.
NBRI is dedicated to the promotion of state-of-the-art research intended to advance knowledge and tools in the wide range of topics relevant to a developed construction sector. Research activities include theoretical and experimental studies, and are conducted within the framework of four main departments (Structural Engineering; Geotechnical Engineering; Building Materials, Performance and Technology; and Construction Management and Economics) and several laboratories (A large experimental hall and structures lab; impact lab; building materials lab; thermal & energy performance lab; radiation safety in buildings lab; and the Seskin Virtual Construction Lab), as well as in collaboration with other research laboratories at the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering (such as the geotechnical research laboratory, and the roads lab). Being a home base for researchers from different disciplines, NBRI constitutes a unique platform for interdisciplinary studies, multi-disciplinary dialogues of systemic issues of the construction industry, and consolidation of solutions to central problems of the building sector.
The NBRI places high priority on the dissemination of knowledge to the professional community. For this purpose it organizes national and international events such as conferences, seminars and workshops. International events provide a unique opportunity for the professional community in Israel to participate in lectures and discussions with world leaders in the field. Knowledge generated by NBRI is reported in Hebrew in detailed research reports, in extended abstracts (including Summaries in English) that include the main findings, and in papers presented at conferences. This knowledge is also shared abroad where it faces up to international peer review, both in articles published in scientific journals and lectures given at international conferences.
A unique dissemination of the knowledge accumulated at NBRI is its natural integration into the teaching materials and lectures of relevant courses at the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the Technion. An additional direct application of the Institute’s accumulated knowledge is in the development of Israeli standards via the participation of NBRI researchers as members of expert committees of the Israeli Standards Institute. NBRI researchers also maintain close ties with the Israeli construction sector, making a favorable contribution towards clarifications and decisions pertinent to important professional issues. Alongside non formal professional links, NBRI members act as formal representatives of the Institute and the Technion in various professional associations such as the Council of Engineering and Architecture, the Council of Contractors, Central and Technical Committees of the Standards Institute of Israel, and national steering committees that deal with priority issues, such as earthquake preparedness, home front protection, sustainable development preparedness, and the preparation of a new integrated building code.