Stichting Bouwresearch: A Legacy of Innovation in Dutch Construction

Stichting Bouwresearch

Stichting Bouwresearch (SBR), formerly known as SBRCURnet, was a pioneering organization in the Netherlands dedicated to advancing the construction and building installation sectors. Though its operations ceased in 2017, its legacy of knowledge creation and industry collaboration continues to influence Dutch construction practices today.

This article dives into the history of Stichting Bouwresearch, its areas of focus, and its lasting impact on the Dutch construction industry. We’ll also explore the reasons behind its closure and the organizations that carry forward its mission.

A History of Innovation (1959-2017)

Established in 1959, Stichting Bouwresearch emerged from a post-war need for knowledge and innovation in the Dutch construction industry. The massive reconstruction efforts following World War II demanded new and improved building methods. SBR aimed to address this need by:

  • Stimulating research: SBR fostered research initiatives focused on new building materials, construction techniques, and regulations. This research provided valuable data and insights to improve the efficiency, safety, and sustainability of Dutch buildings.
  • Coordinating knowledge sharing: SBR acted as a central hub for knowledge exchange within the construction industry. They organized conferences, workshops, and published research findings to ensure industry professionals had access to the latest advancements.
  • Developing guidelines and standards: SBR played a crucial role in establishing industry standards and best practices for construction projects. These guidelines helped maintain quality and consistency across the sector.

Key Achievements of Stichting Bouwresearch:

  • Development of guidelines for various construction aspects, including scaffolding, energy efficiency, and fire safety.
  • Pioneering research on prefabricated building elements, promoting faster and more efficient construction.
  • Establishment of a knowledge database accessible to construction professionals across the Netherlands.

Areas of Expertise

Stichting Bouwresearch focused on a wide range of issues relevant to the construction industry:

  • Building materials and techniques: Research explored new materials and construction methods to improve building performance, durability, and cost-effectiveness.
  • Sustainability: SBR recognized the growing importance of environmentally friendly construction practices. They promoted energy-efficient buildings, sustainable materials, and waste reduction initiatives.
  • Safety and regulations: Ensuring safety on construction sites was a top priority. SBR developed guidelines and best practices to minimize workplace hazards and improve worker safety.

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Impact on the Dutch Construction Industry

Stichting Bouwresearch’s contributions significantly impacted the Dutch construction sector:

  • Improved building quality: Research-driven guidelines and knowledge sharing led to a noticeable improvement in building quality and performance.
  • Enhanced innovation: SBR’s focus on research fostered a culture of innovation within the industry, encouraging the development of new and efficient construction methods.
  • Increased safety: The emphasis on safety regulations and best practices helped create safer working environments for construction workers.

Reasons for Closure (2017)

Despite its significant contributions, Stichting Bouwresearch closed its doors in 2017. Here are some of the contributing factors:

  • Shifting market landscape: The construction industry underwent significant changes, with increased emphasis on private-sector initiatives and competition.
  • Funding challenges: Maintaining a research-focused organization became financially difficult in the evolving market.
  • Merger and knowledge transfer: Recognizing the value of SBR’s work, several organizations emerged to carry forward its legacy, merging its knowledge base with their own areas of expertise.

Successors Carrying the Torch

The knowledge and expertise accumulated by Stichting Bouwresearch are not lost. Several organizations continue its mission in different capacities:

  • Branchevereniging CUR (CURnet): This organization focuses on knowledge development and sharing within the construction industry, similar to SBR’s initial role.
  • Nederlands Normalisatie-instituut (NEN): NEN is the Dutch national standardization body, responsible for developing and maintaining building codes and standards, a role previously shared by SBR.
  • TNO Bouw en Infra (TNO Built Environment & Infrastructure): TNO is a research institute that actively conducts research on sustainable construction materials, building performance, and innovative building techniques.

These organizations collaborate to ensure continuous knowledge development and improvement in the Dutch construction industry, building upon the foundation laid by Stichting Bouwresearch.


Stichting Bouwresearch (SBR) may be a chapter closed, but its influence on the Dutch construction industry remains significant. Their dedication to research, knowledge sharing, and setting standards fostered a culture of innovation and improved building quality, safety, and sustainability practices. While changing market dynamics led to its closure in 2017, its legacy lives on through successor organizations like CURnet, NEN, and TNO Built Environment & Infrastructure. These successors ensure continuous advancement in Dutch construction, building upon the strong foundation laid by SBR.

Imran Javed

Imran Javed

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