The Building Research Park welcomes the addition of a 4x8m Environmental Chamber funded by the EPSRC. This giant chamber can mimic the environment through controlled simulations and allow evaluation of large scale construction material under weather conditions. By introducing a panel, the chamber creates a sandwich which simulates the indoor condition on one side of the construction material and external conditions on the other side. Weather conditions such as extreme temperature, humidity, wind and rain can be simulated making the research at the park even more relevant. Not only can we see what happens in the real environment, but we can look at how predicted environmental pressures affect the world of construction material.
Want to know more about the construction of the HIIVE facility? The Structural Engineer released this month shows the trials and tribulations of constructing this unique facility in the midst of an ex World War 2 military site. The exposure of the site to weather conditions may put the research materials through its paces, but the ultimate design of the facility needed some careful consideration to such a weather variant site.
Mach Acoustics Sound Testing
Mach Acoustics is back to develop their acoustic models of naturally ventilated yet quieter buildings. Following extensive design, Mach Acoustics are looking to prove the theory in practical field testing. Watch this space, the buildings of tomorrow really could be sat next to a noisy road without occupant discomfort.
Dr Eshrar Latif gets highly commended in the University of Bath's 'Image of Research' competition for his image of the Building Research Park's HEMPSEC project. Indeed 'Don't be deceived by appearances' this project is the start of a greater understanding of what energy performance means to buildings in the real world. Looking forward to seeing some papers in the coming months...
The HIVE has been shortlisted for the West of England LABC Awards “Best Small Commercial Building”. As we strive forward to enable the best of construction material and technologies of the future, it is great to know that our own small research building can be recognised for the collaborative efforts that our Design and Build team in such a unique project. The team are looking forward to the award ceremony in Bristol and hope that the HIVE’s unique purpose is recognised and appreciated for its efforts in bringing future construction technologies and knowledge to the market. #labcawards
Institution of Civil Engineers South West
The HIVE played host to 2 associations today. The Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Institution of Civil Engineers South West. A keen interest in the future technologies of construction were appreciated by all. But when will we see these great leaps of construction research technologies make it to the main stream? Well, as always, the answer is if you use it. There is always a choice to be made but are we making the right choice because of the cost now, or the cost in the future… If we can prove that you’ll save money in the long term would the public or private sector pay more? Who makes that ultimate decision? Do we really understand how the choices are being offered on large scale construction?
A recent BBC documentary shows that the work done at the University of Bath and specifically the Building Research Park are really starting to analyse the challenges of the future construction. With more and more demand on the space for housing and development the more we encroach upon the 'unusable' landscape. As much as many of us would like to prevent the need to build in flood plains, at the end of the day as a growing nation we all have to work and live somewhere. The question is do we know what to do if flooding occurs and what kind of infrastructure resilience do we expect? Looking at the existing timber housing stock is one way to understand what to do in the event that a flooding disaster occurs.
Testing timber construction under flood
We have been mentioned again in two articles about the future of the energy industry. It becomes more apparent that it's no good just to be be finding more sustainable energy sources but to make sure that the buildings the energy sources supply are able to use the energy effectively and that the leaders of the future know about it.
Quoting for the IOM3 article "According to Innovate UK, 27% of UK carbon emissions come from domestic buildings (18% non-domestic), and 73% of these built environment emissions come from heating and the provision of hot water. "
"To achieve an 80% carbon reduction from a domestic home costs about £70,000, while an investment of about £10,000 will result in a 20–30% saving. This is an issue that Jones is investigating. ‘We have a project where we are retrofitting five houses in Wales and the main aim is to adopt a system approach, rather than an elemental approach, trying to combine the set of measures, which will give us some more cost effective approaches so we get 60%–70% savings in CO2 for about £25,000.’ "
Quoting from Edie "From teaching future engineers about renewable energy to finding innovative ways to reduce carbon emissions, universities can clearly play a huge part in the development of strategies for tackling global warming."
"Universities often collaborate with external organisations and are ideal 'research and development hubs' from which projects can be tested and improved. "
"University of Bath: HIVE building
In September a new £1m HIVE building was opened in the University of Bath's Building Research Park to test low-carbon sustainable building materials in realistic open-air conditions before being incorporated into buildings.
The building aims to tackle the fact that 50% of all UK emissions come from the construction industry, by offering a 'plug and play' facility to test and evaluate facades, walls and panels on their energy efficiency, flood resilience and structural capability."
Presentation and Tour to Constructing Excellence
The Building Research Park has welcomed tour and visits from Construction Associations since the opening including Constructing Excellence and the Zero Carbon Hub. The increasing awareness of the facility is providing real interest to a Construction industry striving to find ways to create low impact and sustainable infrastructure. These events are not only helping to promote the awareness of the Building Research Park but starting to bring questions from industry experts that need answers if the carbon targets are to be met. "What do we do with existing housing stock?" "How can we build more efficiently?" "Why does the product I specify not perform the way it should?"
The Building Research Park is offering the platform to allow construction researchers and specialists a solution to their research needs that will help answer these questions. Welcoming the research potential and enquiries that the facility is being brought, it is becoming clear that the need to find the real life realities and solutions to construction materials and technologies needs this flexible platform to get the answers.
Chancellor Opens the HIVE on 25th September 2014
The Building Research Park opened its site today for its grand launch event and unveiling of the HIVE. The HIVE was opened by HRH Earl of Wessex KG GVCO, Chancellor of the University of Bath who took a tour of the HIVE during the event to witness the potential research projects hoping to do real time research of construction exposed to the open environment. The Vice Chancellor, Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell, accompanied the Chancellor showing the support of the University towards low carbon research.
Speaking at the event, BRE Group Chief Executive Prof Peter Bonfield said: “I have no doubt that the HIVE will become a national asset, an exemplar of world class Britain: forward looking and leading the charge for better, more sustainable and resilient construction in the UK and worldwide.”
Also speaking at the event, EPSRC Director Dr Lesley Thompson said: "the facility will give the construction sector the opportunity to look at the impact of building materials both on flooding but also looking at how we can develop more sustainable materials."
ECO-SEE Project Stand
Researchers exhibiting at the event included ECO-SEE, HEMPSEC, WEIR, Flood Resilience of timber buildings and Mach Acoustics (acoustics in facades and buildings). The University especially the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering turned out to show their support of the project and promote the work and research potential available.
Director of Building Research Park Dr Mike Lawrence explained that "the research possibilities in construction were limited only by the imagination."
Visitors to construction research facility during the event included Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Deputy Speaker of House of Lords), Sarah Troughton (Lord Lieutenant), Peter Addington (High Sherrif of Wiltshire), Teresa Page (Mayor of Swindon), Rt Hon Robert Buckland MP (South Swindon MP), Building Research Establishment, ESPRC, Ecostrata Ltd, Lister Beare, Mott MacDonald, SWLEP, L'Ecole D'Ingenierie et Travaux de la Construction, Cornwall Sustainable Building Trust, Greencore Construction Ltd, Barnwood Construction, Structural Timber Association, Leading Energy,Internorm Windows, HR Wallingford, Europa Facade Consultants, Skanska UK, Construction Industry Training Board, Portsmouth University, University of West England, Parkside Group, University of Plymouth, Innovate UK, Ramboll, Birmingham City University, Building Analysis and Testing Ltd, Rennes University, Hemcrete Projects Ltd, Integral Engineering Design, Mann Williams, Science Museum Group, DM3a, Oculus Consultancy, BLDA Architects, Laing O'Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Foster and Partners, Intelisen, BDP, Steico, Quest Solutions, Saint-Cobain, Wintech Testing, Buro Happold, Actis Insulation Ltd, Institution of Civil Engineers and English Heritage
Coverage of the event can be seen BBC South today, BBC Bristol, Heart FM, Jack FM Swindon, The Guardian, The Times Higher Education, Engineering for Growth, BRE Group, E&T Magazine, Royal Blogs, Royal Central, CITB, Bath Business News, Swindon Advertiser, Building4Education, AzoBuild, Edie, Rural News, Green Building Press, Building Products , Construction Index, Phys.org, Swindon Link, Swindon Business, Flic Wiltshire, This is Wiltshire , Alpha Galileo, DPA on the net, and Business Biscuit.