Built Environment Research Group

Built Environment students

We focus on applied research, and specialise in areas directly geared to aiding the local, national and international construction industry.

Our group is responsible for our School's activity in the areas of continuing professional development (CPD) and knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP). We offer both our Engineering & the Built Environment PhD and our Professional Doctorate in the Built Environment. We have also identified a range of innovative research project opportunities for postgraduate researchers.

We're located in a purpose-built building in Chelmsford, with modern equipment, teaching, laboratory and studio resources. Our facilities greatly enhance our research efforts, which contribute to extending the quality of material taught in our courses.

Our research group is populated from the three central sections in our department:

  • surveying
  • architecture
  • housing & planning and construction & civil engineering.

Our group serves as a focal point to encourage cross-collaboration in our department, faculty, the wider University and our Global Sustainability Institute (GSI). We produce a series of working papers which are available for free download.

Our research focus

Our research effort is focused on four inter-related areas.

1: Sustainable building services and sustainable architecture
  • Building energy end-use modelling on urban scale.
  • Control strategies for energy efficient air conditioning and HVAC systems using contemporary simulation software and field measurements.
  • Modelling and simulation of building performance in the areas of energy consumptions, carbon emissions, orientation and form of buildings.
  • Daylight and artificial lighting to achieve low carbon designs using simulation software.
  • BRE Environmental Assessment Method to assess the environmental impacts of buildings.
  • Renewable energies, including solar energy, wind energy and ground source heat pumps.
  • Sustainability of construction materials.
  • Building design and environmental performance.
2: Sustainable construction materials
  • Low carbon cements: use of natural, artificial and other materials (including industrial wastes) as replacements for cement in concrete.
  • Low carbon concrete strategies and solutions including high-strength and high-performance concrete.
  • Lime-based building materials.
  • Re-use and re-cycling of building materials.
  • Use of alternative de-icers.
  • Evaluation of durability and microstructure of construction materials.

3: Sustainable communities (typically issues affecting the sustainable communities agenda)
  • Community analysis, stakeholder engagement and development of community led consultation processes.
  • Climate change adaptation strategies.
  • Renewable energy technology developments.
  • Sustainable energy production from domestic wastes.
  • Environmental assessment and policy.
  • Facilitating sustainable life styles.
  • Sustainable urban design strategies.
  • Skills for sustainable communities.
  • Use of new technologies, eg virtual worlds for teaching and training.
4: Infrastructure design and professional practice
  • Improvement of professional practice, particularly through the promotion and further development of the PrD.
  • Vibration analysis and control in buildings.
  • Vibration analysis and control in highway structures.
  • Non-destructive performance testing of structures.
  • Effective management of the construction process.

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