Who are you?
Ehab Sayed is an innovator in construction and design materials and leads his company Biohm. Biohm aims to create a healthier and more sustainable built environment through the development of bio-based materials and circular construction systems. Ehab joined the Pioneers programme as he wanted to increase his network of sustainable building sector organisations and meet professionals working in the field.
What did you do?
Ehab’s placement was at Loughborough University in the UK. He helped the University review and rewrite the building standard, BS 8895 – Designing for material efficiency in building projects. The standard is intended to reduce waste in building construction and increase material efficiency. Ehab needed to understand the processes in order to develop the standard and recommend improvements.
The Pioneers really pushed my boundaries for sustainability – which I loved.
My Pioneers placement created opportunities for my business that are very exciting.
Why did you decide to host Pioneers?
Following Ehab’s own experience as a Pioneer, he decided to be a host the following year and six Pioneers chose to work at Biohm. The Pioneers worked on developing new market opportunities and systems to improve the research of materials. One of the outcomes was the development of an intelligent platform linking suppliers and developers which can plan material use and demand for up to five years.
Reflecting on the experience, Ehab considers that the Pioneers significantly exceeded his expectations and implemented many creative ideas. He says that they hugely influenced the future direction of Biohm. The Pioneers worked as part of Biohm’s team for six weeks and Ehab was very disappointed when their placement was over.
What did you learn?
Although Ehab is trained in material design, working through the review of the standard was new for him and he discovered how difficult it can be to change standards, the barriers that prevent change and the long timescales needed when changing legislation. Working through these difficulties gave Ehab huge confidence and connected him to a broad range of influential stakeholders. He used tools provided at the Pioneers workshops to help him identify stakeholder influence and plan for changes.
What happens next?
The skills Ehab learnt and the contacts he made have provided new work opportunities for his company. Biohm is now writing new building standards directly for BSI (British Standards Institute) on material innovation. This has also enabled a connection with his host at Loughborough University as he continues to work with their research facilities.
Two of the Pioneers placed with Ehab are considering working for Biohm in the future as their ideas develop into commercial opportunities. Ehab, as a host, is looking forward to welcoming more Pioneers in the future to continue his innovative building material research.