Knowledge bank


The team have developed a particular distinctive research focus on digital design interfaces, within design and over time. Descriptions of completed projects in this knowledge bank are updated to show how the outcomes of the research and to provide a resource for policy makers, practitioners and academics wanting access to the latest research findings on topics related to design innovation.


Theme 1: Science of Design

Collaboration in project teams: Information and digital technologies

This pilot project examined the existing approach to collaborative working and the use of information and digital technologies within a team undertaking a major infrastructure project or programme. This will be bench-marked against industrial best-practice, with the aim of shaping work to change behaviours, skills and processes.

Configuration management in through-life engineering 

This project examined configuration management as part of the field of through-life engineering services.  It explored the feasibility of learning lessons from developments in large scale infrastructure projects, which are beginning to use a range of data-capture techniques, as well as in other manufacturing industries that combine mechanical, electronics and software systems (completed January 2013).

Design into construction 

The findings of this project indicated research questions that can be fruitfully investigated by focusing on the use of design-generated digital data in the construction phase. This has the potential benefit of further linking the improvements to work processes in the design stages with the construction phase, towards a step change in overall project delivery (completed October 2011).

Diffusion of digital innovation in a project-based firm                 

This research project focused on the diffusion of digital innovations such as BIM for infrastructure project work. It aimed to understand how digital foundation system diffuses across a project-based firm (completed April 2014).

Evidence for BIM 

The methodology adopted for the review was based on the systematic review methodology originally developed in evidence-based medicine and adapted for the management field. The methodology was adapted for this work through a series of meetings and refinements by a DIRC review team in consultation academic and industry experts (completed June 2011).

From projects to operations - research on data handover

The aim of this research with the London 2012 Olympics Learning Legacy Programme was to capture learning in the handover of data from the delivery project to the operations, both for games and legacy uses (completed December 2012). 

Comparative study on the implementation of BIM in FM: Finland and UK 

This was a comparative study on the take-up of Building Information Modelling (BIM) for Facilities Management (FM) in the UK and Finland, through an examination of the challenges of implementing BIM in FM on university campuses. The aim was to understand how the introduction of BIM impacts on FM practice (completed June 2013).

Management practices in project-based design environments

This project was led by Prof Jennifer Whyte and aimed at articulating the new management practices of the digital economy and assess how digital tools change the locus and nature of decision-making in infrastructure design (completed December 2011).

New economic models for gaining value from digital infrastructure 

This project looked into such questions as: How can clients obtain value from the use of digital infrastructure in their project delivery process? How can project-based firms gain competitive advantage? One of the objectives were to review and synthesise extant literature on business models, economic models and operational models and the use of digital infrastructure for delivery in the digital economy (completed December 2012 ).


Theme 2: Playful Engineering

Building safely in design

This research aimed to identify effective modes of interaction between builders and designers in which they collaborate, with the aid of a virtual reality tool as a catalyst for their conversation, to design safe construction processes (completed February 2012).

Immersive visualisation of building information models

The aim of this placement was to develop new workflows for interactive real-time 3D display of information-rich models of the built environment. The construction sector is changing as Building Information Modelling (BIM) is mandated for use in all UK public procurement by 2016.

Mobile and augmented reality 

This project identified and prototyped different AR technologies that could be used to assist the design and construction industries. The research created a number of AR tools and prototypes that were tested and analysed in uses in the construction environment (completed December 2010). 

Using laser scanning for data capture and building information modelling 

This project investigated techniques for using laser scanning technology to capture relevant data about the built environment, using the refurbishment of the library as a context for experimental work. Techniques were developed for effectively producing point-cloud data scans of various locations in the University of Reading library building, using the Faro Focus laser scanner, and these scans were then modelled to form the basis of workable BIM components for facilities management (completed in September 2012).


Visualizing digital models 

This EPSRC Vacation Bursary project aimed to develop techniques for analysing and using a well-structured model as part of a Building Information Modelling strategy, through the use of model servers for open shareable asset information and model-checkers. The project contributes to the work of collating a repository of models that can be used in research and teaching around Building Information Modelling, and taking advantage of opportunities to view the outputs of the modelling work and other models in fully-immersive large scale stereo displays.


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