UMBAU & KO – Environmentally-friendly construction with competence

Development of a European qualification and certification strategy for initial and continuing vocational education and training in the building and construction profession, in compliance with the new European guidelines

Climate protection, energy saving and environmental protection are core concepts that express our responsibility for the world we are living in. They require competences for energy-economical and environmentally friendly actions. This is also a challenge faced by the entire European building trade, and a major focus of the Berlin policy.

“Umbau & Ko” provides answers as to how innovations in vocational education and the assurance of skilled workers can be achieved. The BGZ took over the overall project management and coordination in the national and transnational network.

The objective of the project was to open up the initial and continuing vocational education and training system in the participating countries by creating comparable standards and to shape it in a more flexible way. The project was therefore aimed at a broad target group: trainers, VET managers as well as at social partners, apprentices and skilled workers in the building sector. At the same time, the initial and continuing vocational education and training had to be adapted to new quality requirements, not only in Berlin, but in Europe, as it is a fact that cross-border cooperation in building projects will become the norm. Working together with different skilled crafts for energy-saving construction is gaining importance.

Another task was to qualify staff in the area of energy performance of buildings. The competence development of professionals and upwardly-mobile apprentices helped to close a skills gap in the level of skilled workers and to strengthen European vocational education.

The project resulted in a coordinated qualification and certification strategy, supplemented by advanced training modules with appropriate teaching methods and materials. It harmonized qualification standards in at least four countries, provided transparent guidelines for the identification of companies’ training needs and the adaptation of vocational education in the building sector.

“Umbau & KO“ was presented with the Leonardo da Vinci Award 2009 “Innovation in Practice” at the annual meeting of the National Agency Education for Europe.

“It was not only the clear and precise material on the extremely relevant topic of energy efficiency that impressed the jury, but also the certification strategy model which serves to assist the countries on their way to mutual recognition and accrediting of acquired technical skills. The system is intended to create transparency for companies and construction teams. The project had a great impact due to the excellent collaboration with Germany, Denmark, Poland and Belgium, and through the integration of chambers and trade associations.”

Prof. Dr. Weiß from BIBB (Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training) in his laudation at the Leonardo da Vinci awards ceremony for UMBAU &KO on 01 October 2009.

Erasmus+ Project Results Platform

Summary and project results

Project photos

Selected products


In the pilot programme, a module was developed in each country. This is supposed to ensure cross-border recognition of competences in a future European qualification framework.

The features of the modules are a standardised structure and coherent development of competence standards:
Attic Doors / Windows Heating Technology / Hot water production Wall – Roof

Competence matrix

A description of the acquired competence underlies each module. This description was developed in a competence matrix corresponding to that in the project.

Here you can find the competence matrix for the corresponding module.
Attic Doors / Windows Exterior walls / Fassades Heating Technology / Hot water production

Certification matrix

The examination of the acquired competence is the basis of certification.

The certification matrix serves this purpose:
Attic Energy-saving Construction

Trainer guides

Trainer guides have been developed for the instruction of trainers and teachers. The contained position descriptions refer to the documents of the modules.

Here you can see the trainer guides:
Trainer Guide – Attic module Trainer Guide – Connecting Roof/Wall Trainer Guide – Windows/Doors module


Each certification requires clear fundamentals. These are primarily designed to ensure that all parties involved understand the same thing with a certificate and have a very precise idea of what he skilled workers can do.

In the project, a policy paper has been prepared:
Competences and Certification Certification Strategy

Didactical material

To interest trainees and students in the topic energy-saving construction, a special experiment was developed: the block of ice bet.

A block of ice is enclosed in a well insulated house in summer. The question – how much of it has melted after 45 days?
The block of ice bet The construction of the ice house
The video clip "Blower door" explains the problem in short form of the energy loss of heated buildings and the technical method of measuring leakage of the cadding.


Project Umbau & Ko appeared in “Bildung für Europe” (Education for Europe) Journal from the National Agency at the Ministry of Vocational Education.
HWK Berlin Skilled Craft magazine / The BGZ received a national award for the project Umbau & Ko


The BGZ received the LEONARDO Prize 2009
Laudation speech Photo of the prize winners Certificate
Back to project overview


Implemented in:

Germany, Belgium, Poland and Denmark


2004 – 2007

Partners in Germany:

OSZ Construction Technic, Berlin Chamber of Small Business and Skilled Crafts, BIV-BFW e.V. Cottbus, Construction Technology Education Association, Technical University Berlin

Transnational partners:

ZAWM St. Vith (BE), ZRP Warsaw (Polish Craft and Small Business Association) (PL), ATC Aarhus (DK), and further Partners in Belgium, Germany, Denmark and Poland


Grazyna Wittgen
Tel. +49(30)809941-14


European Commission – Leonardo da Vinci – Pilot project


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.