Pioneering research to help resolve global challenges

Achieving world-leading status within our first ever submission to the Research Excellent Framework (REF) was a very exciting milestone for the department in 2014–15.

With a breadth of expertise ranging from architecture and architectural history, through spatial planning, civil and structural engineering, and construction management, to building surveying and quantity surveying, the research group draws upon multidisciplinary research to contribute to the global challenge of achieving sustainability in the built environment.

The two impact case studies submitted to the REF demonstrate our diversity: our research upon sustainability toolkits (within the EarthCheck initiative) help tropical islands implement sustainable construction development for sustainable tourism. Our spatial planning research has shaped policy changes to overcome the challenges of an ageing population (through our collaboration with the Older Peoples Use of Unfamiliar Spaces project) by starting a shift towards better signage and emotional belonging to enhance the feeling of security within urban cityscapes.

Bringing together specialist researchers with the common goal of sustainability in the built environment is a fruitful union. At the heart of our research are key strengths in sustainable materials and civil engineering, professional construction management, architecture, and spatial planning. We have influenced practice for optimal use of recycled resources in construction materials, in providing leading edge understanding of the challenges of corroding reinforced concrete, and in modelling the performance of structures subject to earthquakes for communities to develop affordable resilient dwellings. We have pushed the global understanding of Private Finance Initiatives and how clients are best advised to achieve optimum performance within public sector construction projects. Our work to unravel ninth-century records of Byzantine architecture leads to a better understanding of meeting clients’ expectations. Meanwhile, our development of 21C virtual modelling of urban streetscapes leads the way to developing safer and more efficient use of city spaces experiencing intensifying pressure.

With a portfolio of world-leading, internationally excellent and internationally recognised research we have consolidated our UK research knowledge-base to reach well beyond our national borders. We are developing further international research collaborations to focus upon the challenges of Smart Cities whilst taking a holistic approach. We are pioneering research into buildings, infrastructure, logistics and technology: developing integrated solutions to help resolve the global challenges of climate change, resilience and sustainability.