Dr Stacey Waring gives talk at ‘Conservation Day’

TSBE Centre alumna Dr Stacey Waring will give a presentation this afternoon at Oxley Conservation Ltd.’s ‘Conservation Day’. The event focusses on the challenges and conflicts in building conservation.

Stacey will discuss her work with the Bat Conservation Trust on the interaction of bat roosts and roofing membranes. The research aims to mitigate the negative effect on bats of alterations to their roosts, as well as the damage that bats cause to the membranes.

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Jacopo Torriti, Associate Professor in the School of the Built Environment, University of Reading, will launch his new book ‘Peak Energy Demand and Demand Side Response’ (Routledge), on Tuesday, 17 November 2015.

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Female engineers: The women solving real-world problems Tackling the big issues of the 21st century is easy – if you’re an engineer

If you want to save the world, be an engineer. Politicians, campaigners and policy wonks may trade words, but when it comes to tackling the big issues of the 21st century – from climate change to poverty, from smarter cities to water management – it is engineers who are coming up with the solutions.


Emily Cummins is an award-winning inventor focused on solving real-world problems facing some of the poorest in the world. Her inventions include a sustainable refrigerator ‘powered’ by dirty water and a water carrier to help reduce the hours African women and children spent walking every day to collect clean water, time that can be better spent in school or building businesses.


Female engineers: Equalising the path to a job at scientific frontier
Student’s letter explains why women and men are not equal in science
Naomi Climer: First female president of Institution of Engineering and Technology vows to attract more women into engineering
Another home-grown investor is Sheffield-based Ruth Amos, who designed StairSteady, an aid to help people with limited mobility to use their stairs confidently and safely. Amos, just 16 at the time, has won a string of awards and plaudits for her design, including Young Engineer for Britain.

Other engineers are busy building and improving the energy, water, transport and communications infrastructure that underpin modern life. Helen Randell, a chartered civil engineer, who earlier this month won the prestigious Karen Burt Award, has worked on a range of transport and energy-from-water schemes across the UK while Laura Daniels helps big retailers analyse how they use electricity in order to accommodate more renewable energy on the grid.

Few jobs give you the chance to get ahead so quickly

These are big jobs, developing key infrastructure, commanding multi-million pound budgets and managing large multi-disciplinary workforces. Nike Folayan is a telecommunications engineering consultant for the transportation industry, working on major projects like CrossRail, the upgrade of Victoria Station and a new station in Edinburgh. She still gets a thrill when she sees her ideas in action, be it the emergency communications network in the Blackwall Tunnel or a footbridge in Croydon. “It’s such an exciting career,” she enthuses. “There are few jobs that give you the chance to get ahead so quickly.”

This is echoed by Avni Mehta, a civil engineer for St Edward Homes and currently working on the prestigious 190 Strand housing project in London, where there are 400 people and 15 different contractors on site. “There are very few organisations where you get these opportunities so early in your career,” says Mehta. “I love it. I love walking through the city and pointing out things I’ve worked on.”

There is no time to get bored in a job where every day is different. “We’re constantly solving problems and finding solutions,” explains Mehta. “You have to be very creative.”

The Independent – 19 October 2015

Amy Mclellan

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The Industry Impact of the EngD

The pilot research study was undertaken by a team led by Dr Fumi Kitagawa at Manchester Business School, and aimed to assess the impact of the EngD in relation to 1) impact on industry partners, and
2) EngD graduate’s career pathways

The four routes to impact from EngD programmes identified were:

  • Generation of new knowledge
  • Innovation-related routes to impact
  • Knowledge networks and collaboration
  • Human capital and skills development

EngD impacts were found at individual, organisational and sector levels.

Engineering Doctoral Benefits

AEngD report

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Costain-sponsored research is set to help customers meet their biodiversity targets


Research Maps Out Better Biodiversity
11 August 2015


Costain-sponsored research is set to help customers meet their biodiversity targets and significantly reduce the time needed to carry out projects’ Environmental Impact Assessments.

Former local authority GIS (Geographical Information Systems) technician Katie McCausland is now in the second year of a four-year Engineering Doctorate project at the University of Reading. She is looking at how GIS can be used to assess a large-scale construction project’s potential ecological and environmental impacts.

Katie, who has degrees in wildlife management and landscape ecology, explained: “GIS allows us to capture and store many different kinds of data, and then display this information on one map. Using data from sources such as Ordnance Survey, Natural England and the Environment Agency, Costain will be able to identify areas on a project that are environmentally sensitive and so need to be taken into consideration during planning. This could, for example, influence the route of a road, railway or pipeline, so helping to speed up the planning process.”

Major customers have already expressed interest in the work. Said Matt Blackwell, Costain’s Group Head of BIM (Building Information Modelling): “Clients are keen to find out how they can cut the time needed for Environmental Impact Assessments, and also meet their requirements for biodiversity offsetting – the work they must do to ensure that where a project causes unavoidable damage, new, bigger or better nature sites are created. We will be able to help customers get the maximum benefit from their biodiversity offsetting and so really benefit an area.”

Costain’s environmental team likes it too. Said Hannah Rich, Costain Environment and Sustainability Manager, Rail: “Katie’s work on biodiversity mapping has the potential to influence and inform construction projects, from feeding into feasibility studies and concept design to informing the construction and restoration processes, ensuring that impacts on the local environment are minimised and helping deliver a net positive gain in biodiversity.”

Geoff Griffiths, Director of Recruitment and Admissions at the Department of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Reading, said the University was “delighted to be a significant partner in this project with a large UK engineering solutions company working at the cutting-edge of computer-based tools for environmental evaluation and protection. It is anticipated that the output from the research will contribute significantly towards better planning and management of large infrastructure projects across the UK.”

Katie will be speaking about her work at the SER (Society of Ecological Restoration) 2015 World Conference on Ecological Restoration in Manchester this month.

Media Enquiries
Costain Communications Department
01628 842585

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Lighting for Large Estates conference

Thursday 21st May saw Lux magazine host their Lighting for Large Estates conference (http://lightingforlargeestates.com) and I was fortunate to be invited to sit on a chaired panel debate about the ease of using of lighting controls. The take home messages from previous sessions for me were about the manufacturers really putting themselves in the position of the tenant, landlord or facilities manager who has to deal with the long term issues surrounding their lighting products and services. David Mason from Skanska, talked about their requirement for lighting sensors to be pre-commissioned and easy for anybody to install regardless of skill, something we could all learn from as a best practice starting point. Ease of commissioning is something the manufacturers seem to have previously missed in their products; their Clients foot a £1,000 bill for every call out, hardly sustainable for a company’s balance sheets or payback periods.

corridor light (600x800)
In terms of the control discussion, I posited the possibility of returning to manual lighting controls as the automation industry seems to be providing more and more (unnecessary?) features and exponentially thinking less and less about the people that use these spaces. So we end up with expensive and often complicated installations that do not work for the people using the space. How is this sustainable? A flexible approach is required and key to this as highlighted in Dan Lister’s lighting methods in practice, is to actually spend time with the people you are designing the lighting for – ask them questions and be open minded to finding new and unique solutions. From Jonathan Rush’s example I learnt that by creating physical models and prototyping what the space will look and feel like you can really review the designs carefully by spending the time upfront planning and designing. I think the lighting manufacturers could learn a lot from academia and designers by spending their time observing and listening to what people require rather than assuming they are developing the latest gadget. It could turn out to be the link to new market places they crave, by extracting lighting and occupancy use data, both quantitative and qualitative, so that it forms part of the rich and diverse understanding of how we habitually use our buildings.

Written by Katharine van Someren

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‘Smart and Sustainable’: Using Big Data to Improve Peoples’ Lives in Cities – New University of Reading Position Paper Published

Smart and Sustainable’: Using Big Data to Improve Peoples’ Lives in Cities – New University of Reading Position Paper Published

Drawing together expertise from across the University of Reading (including the new  Institute for Environmental Analytics the School of Construction Management and Engineering has recently launched a new position paper in which it is argued ‘big data’ and ‘smart thinking’ both provide powerful potential benefits for cities, but on their own they do not provide valid solutions for today’s urban problems.
Key messages
• ‘Integrated approach’: Cities need to develop an integrated approach to smart and sustainable thinking which joins up the best elements of smart technologies and sustainable practices. Developing inclusive visions for cities is fundamental to this goal, and putting people at the heart of any future vision for a city is critical to success.
• ‘Innovation is vital’: Cities need to recognise the benefits of using big data to improve the quality of life for its citizens through improved decision-making and better information and customer service. This needs to recognise the challenges around privacy and security. Urban innovation is a critical concept which lies at the heart of the big data revolution.
• ‘Interdisciplinary thinking matters’: We need to develop better R & D to help provide solutions for today’s urban challenges. Developing partnerships between civic society, business and academia is vital and these must also connect through to the SME sector. Interdisciplinarity, or interweaving different disciplinary approaches, must be at the heart of our R & D in smart and sustainable cities and big data solutions.

For further information and to download the paper:

Using big data to improve city life

Tim Dixon

Professor Tim Dixon
Chair in Sustainable Futures in the Built Environment
Co-Director of TSBE Centre
School of Construction Management and Engineering
University of Reading

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Whisky goes Green !

Whisky goes green!


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University of Reading TSBE Centre to host IEA-EBC Annex 61: Business and Technical Concepts for Deep Energy Retrofit of Public Buildings

The fourth bi-annual Annex 61 experts meeting will take place in Reading, UK on April 12-15. The meeting is hosted by the University of Reading School of Construction Management and Engineering.

Technical Tour: Sunday April 12 2015
Technical Day: Monday April 13 2015
Fourth Experts Meeting: Tuesday-Wednesday April 14-15 2015
Location: Reading, United Kingdom

For further information – limited places are still available see:



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School of Construction Management & Engineering: Research Excellence Framework 2014: Ranked 6th in UK for architecture, built environment and planning research

Research Excellence Framework 2014: Ranked 6th in UK for architecture, built environment and planning research
The School of Construction Management and Engineering, and the School of Real Estate and Planning made a joint submission to the new Unit of Assessment 16 Architecture, Built Environment and Planning. The successful outcome of the REF submission has demonstrated our sustained commitment to and achievement of world-class built environment research. Our robust REF result establishes a strong springboard for further development and growth in research activity. The headline results are as follows:

Ranked 6th (out of 45) in UK by Research Power
Ranked 8th in UK by overall grade point average, with 83% of research rated world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*)
Ranked 8th in UK by percentage of world-leading overall research activity, with 41% research rated world-leading (4*)
Ranked 3rd in UK by research impact, with 70% of impact rated outstanding (4*)


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