GSA Finalist

Green Skills Award 2023 finalist: Georgia - Construct2


Another brick in the wall – tackling construction industry sustainability, through innovative new concrete blocks

A pioneering technical college in Georgia is building a sustainable future for the country’s construction industry one brick at a time.

Construct2 – a construction college established in 2017 in partnership between BK Construction and the Georgian Ministry of Education and Science – has launched Georgia’s first bricklaying course using aerated concrete blocks.

So far, the college, in Zestaponi, three hours’ drive from Tbilisi - which offers vocational programs that cater to the specific needs of Georgia’s private sector – has trained 200 students.

The blocks are entirely made from natural materials - quartz, sand, lime, cement and water – and are very low in natural radioactivity. They offer better heat and sound insulation, fire and earthquake resistance, eco-friendliness and pricing than traditional blocks, and can contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of the construction industry. The blocks can also be cut to size – offering more flexibility and less waste than traditional materials.

The positive impact on the environment makes Construct2’s new course one of the European Training Foundation’s Green Skills Awards 2023 top ten finalists.

Tamara Zakharasvili, Construct2 College director, said: "BK Construction was among the first companies in Georgia to completely switch to using aerated concrete blocks.

“As a result, Construct2 revised its bricklaying works programme to include training in the professional use of these innovative building materials.”

“We regard this as a significant step towards promoting sustainability in Georgia’s construction ecosystem.”

The ultra-low radioactivity associated with the novel concrete blocks – ten times lower than permitted levels, compared to just 3.5 times lower for traditional concrete blocks – is an added environmental benefit. The bricklaying programme provides comprehensive theoretical and practical training - and opportunities for internships with BK Construction. With a track record of 30 years in the construction sector, and more than 70 completed projects in Georgia and other countries, the company offers rich opportunities for training bricklayers to put their professional skills to use.

Its decision to switch to exclusive use of aerated concrete blocks in its building projects – and an investment with partners to produce the innovative building material – is creating a new and expanding market for the environmentally friendly product in Georgian construction.

“We are proud to be the first vocational educational institution in Georgia to offer training in the use of these blocks,” Tamara said.

The importance of training up a local workforce was highlighted by the fact that when BK Construction first started using the lightweight blocks, it had to hire in specialists from Türkiye, Ukraine and other nearby countries because there were no Georgian bricklayers with the requisite knowledge. BK Construction’s move into the new material prompted other companies to follow suit, as the numerous advantages of the building blocks became apparent. With demand for bricklayers soaring, the company turned to Construct2 to implement the training programme. “We are proud to report that 95% of our graduates are employed, with 40% of them working at BK Construction,” Tamara said, adding that the company pays a premium to bricklayers skilled in working with aerated blocks as few Georgian construction workers are proficient in their use. The remaining 60% of the graduates of the training course are employed across the Georgian Construction sector, with most of them working in Tbilisi.

“The impact of switching to aerated concrete blocks in Construct2’s bricklaying programme has been enormous, with a ripple effect that has enabled more and more construction companies to adopt these blocks and build energy-efficient, eco-friendly builds made to last,” Tamara concludes.

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