What's new: ICRC news and updates

The ICRC has now closed, but its legacy continues within the School of Construction Management and Engineering.

Please visit the School news page http://www.reading.ac.uk/CME/about/cme-news.aspx for ongoing updates.

Reducing our carbon footprintCarbon Brainprint report cover 

Research to quantify the impact of university research on carbon footprint reduction has so far shown that improving user awareness and enhancing intelligent monitoring systems can both result in significant energy savings. 

Professor Derek Clements-Croome has been working with the University's Facilities Management Directorate and Newera Controls Ltd. to demonstrate the potential of such complementary approaches in achieving energy efficiency and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The first investigation demonstrated a 20% saving in lighting, office equipment and catering energy use, largely through user awareness and behaviour change. The second involved an interventionist approach using intelligent monitoring and control systems, and indicated that enhacing Building Management Systems can save around 24% of the heating energy.  The savings go some way towards helping the University achieve its commitment to a 35% reduction in carbon emissions by 2015/16.

The research is being carried out as part of the Carbon Brainprint initiative.  A carbon brainprint is the intellectual contribution universities make in helping other organisations reduce their carbon footprint. 

Read more at the Carbon Brainprint website

Cover of Making Sense of Construction Improvement by Stuart D GreenMaking sense of construction improvement 

This new book takes a critical review of the change agenda over the past thirty years. Professor Stuart Green deliberately challenges current directions in construction management, and demonstrates how the discourse of construction management shapes, and is shaped by, the changing reality of the workplace. Specific chapters are devoted to: business process re-engineering, lean construction, partnering, collaborative working, performance measurement and the assumed need for culture change.

Professor Green has thirty years experience in the construction and among other responsibilities is a commissioner on the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012.

Buy Making Sense of Construction Improvement: A Critical Review

Dr Abbas Elmualim with Counsellor Mohamed Akasha, of the Sudanese Embassy in London, and Dr Gamal Hamid, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, University of KhartoumImproving the standard of the Sudanese construction industry

July 2011

As part of the Development Partnerships in Higher Education (DelPHE) programme, Dr Abbas Elmualim recently welcomed colleagues from the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Khartoum for a series of workshops and presentations.

Dedicated to improving the standard of the construction industry in the Sudan, the partnership delivers a series of cross-cultural exchanges, and builds an a previous School visit to the Sudan to share knowledge and expertise. 

During the visit, Reading experts delivered various presentations covering international construction, construction of areas of conflict with reference to Southern Sudan and Darfur and sustainable social housing. Discussions also took place concerning the development of specialised undergraduate, postgraduate and CPD courses.

See here for the full press release

Mr Ian Fielder, CEO of BIFM with Dr ElmualimAcademic wins BIFM Recognition Award 

July 2011

The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) Recognition Award 2011 has been won by Dr Abbas Elmualim for his research excellence and leadership on the Sustainability in Facilities Management (FM) project

The need for sustainable FM is growing alongside the need to develop new ways of working to meet sustainability criteria.  The research seeks to provide tools and guidance to help develop facilities managers skilled in sustainable FM.  There is already a centralised web-based knowledge portal for the FM community: Sustainability in FM.

Dr Elmualim said: "This has been a challenging and tremendously rewarding project which we would hold up as an exemplar in the arena of sustainability within the FM industry. The success of the project is greatly attributed to the group of enthusiastic researchers who have worked with me over the past five years. Of special mention here are Mr Marious Pastou, Mr Roberto Valle and Dr Wisdom Kwawu. Indeed my gratitude also goes to colleagues at the University's KTC and colleagues at the ICRC."

Sustainability and profitability

April 2011

Can sustainability lead to profitability? ICRC Research Associate Dr Wisdom Kwawu has been exploring answers to this question at two industry events.Photo of Dr Wisdom Kwawu presenting at ThinkFM

In March, Dr Kwawu presented on the profitability of green retrofit buildings at the Refurbishment for the Future - Retrofitting Responsibly workshop. Organised by the Cambridge Responsibility Forum (CRF) and ARM Ltd, Dr Kwawu was one of a number of speakers presenting thought-provoking ideas about extreme technology, responsible retrofit on a shoestring, and becoming green for the short- or long-term. 

Dr Kwawu then discussed how to maximise efficiency and productivity of sustainable workspaces at BIFM's Th!nkFM conference.  Held in April at the East Midlands Conference Centre, the conference was attended by over 200 international delegates.  Participants engaged with a range of topics falling under four hubs: 'Tough Decisions for Tough Times'; 'Future Ways of Working'; 'Sustainable Business - Actions Not Words' and 'Your Career in FM'.

'Is the construction industry fit for purpose for the transition to a low carbon economy?'

March 2011

Professor Martin Sexton leads a host of academics working to answer this question, posed by UK Government's Low Carbon Construction Innovation and Growth Team.  Winter 2011 Research Review cover

In the Winter edition of Research Review, Professor Sexton, Dr Runming Yao, Professor Gavin Parker, and Dr Jennifer Whyte discuss their approaches to the problem of sustainability in the built environment.

Professor Sexton emphasises that SCME is "drawing upon and integrating research from across the physical and social sciences’ spectrum to develop the construction and property industry capacity to deliver high-value, sustainable built environments."

Later on in the issue, SCME academics Dr Libby Schweber and Dr Ben Potter join Systems Engineering lecturer Phil Coker to discuss their differing interests in sustainability.  These range from the variability in output afforded by renewable engery sources, to smart energy management, and how the industry can support "reasonable" behaviour change in users.

If you're interested in finding out more about ICRC research on sustainability please contact the research manager Stephanie Weller: s.j.weller@reading.ac.uk

Reading launches unique management course for construction industry

March 2011

With employer concerns surrounding the changing nature of the building industry, the School of Construction Management and Engineering (SCME) at the University of Reading is delighted to launch the first open-access programme of higher education management learning tailored to the sector.

University of Reading experts and respected contributors in the sector will lead the sessions which will examine stimulating staff retention and skill development, sub-contracting advantages and pitfalls as well as setting targets and maximising their attainment. The course also includes a site visit at which participants will be encouraged to practically apply some of the course subject matter.

See here for the full press release

See here for further information on the Management for building services engineering module

ICRC Professor gives inaugural address

February 2011

On February 28 Professor Roger Flanagan provided the inaugural address at The Georgia Institute of Technology, one of America's top research universities. Professor Flanagan discussed Global Trends in Construction in his speech at the inauguration of Georgia Tech's School of Building Construction's lecture series.

Read more about Professor Flanagan's Georgia Tech inaugural speech

CIDCA Symposium, Hong Kong

January 2011

International research into the development of the construction industry across Hong Kong, the UK and Singapore reached an important milestone in January with the hosting of a one day symposium on Construction Industry Development: Comparison & Acceleration (CIDCA). Panel session at the HK symposium

The event, hosted by The Centre for Infrastructure & Construction Industry Development (CICID) at The University of Hong Kong, involved presentation and discussion with leading academics from all the three countries. Professor Stuart Green and Dr Chung Chin Kao discussed change and continuity in the UK construction sector.

This research is being further explored in the All Change in Construction one-day event at the CIOB.

Liberal technologies and the distribution of expertise

January 2011

The effect of assessment tools on the meaning of sustainability and on design decisions in highly complex, inter-disciplinary teams was discussed at a recent seminar at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. On 25 January, ICRC Principal Research Fellow Libby Schweber presented at the GAIn seminar series alongside representatives from the University of Oxford and the Copenhagen Business School.

Information on the GAIn seminar series

University expertise to benefit Sudan's construction industry

January 2011

Members of the ICRC and other representatives of the University returned recently from the Sudan, where they are playing a pivotal role in a new partnership designed to improve the standard of the construction industry within the Sudan.

Despite the political uncertainty, representatives from across the whole country gathered to share knowledge and learn more about developments in the industry. Dr Gamal Hamid Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, University of Khartoum said there was a particular focus on "new approaches for in-depth investigation of emerging issues in Sudan, such as the status of women in the construction industry and in post-conflict regions such as Darfur and Southern Sudan" . Photo of the ICRC team at University of Khartoum

Associate ICRC member Dr Abbas Elmualim (Project Coordinator) and Professor Stuart Green (Director of the ICRC) were accompanied by Professor Steve Mithen (PVC for International and External Engagement), Professor Roger Flanagan, Professor Derek Croome, Dr Tabarak Ballal, Miss Elizabeth Reed, and Mrs Amna Shibeika.

See here for the full article.

Procuring complex Performance

January 2011

Earlier this month, leading thinkers and experts on the subject of procuring complex performance (PCP) gathered together at Reading for the third PCP colloquium. International academic institutions, local authorities and representatives from the service, health and defence sectors explored the impact of the recycling agenda, sustainability and routinisation on the way performance is procured and complex services delivered. China's Eco-City, Heathrow T5, and Sony were some of the case studies presented for discussion.

The PCP colloquium was set up in 2008 and meets annually. A book on Procuring Complex Performance was published in 2010.

Are you doing R&D in the area of procuring complex performance? Interested in being involved? Contact Professor Will Hughes w.p.hughes@reading.ac.uk

New Research Fellow

January 2011

icrc-borneo-longhouseThe ICRC is pleased to welcome Ian Ewart to the Centre. Ian originally studied mechanical engineering before working in industry for 13 years. He moved to Oxford University in 2003, to study archaeology and anthropology, before moving into material anthropology.

Ian is currently finishing his DPhil in the anthropology of engineering, in which he explores how the concept of engineering translates into other cultures. Ian has spent six months living in a longhouse in a rural village in Borneo, looking at how the design and building of houses and bridges has developed over time. He will be working with Dr Rachael Luck, researching how design activities are coordinated in construction contexts.

Ian's background complements the Centre's growing research expertise in ethnography: Dr Dylan Tutt joined October 2010, and brings with him experience in visual ethnography and video-based study of communication and (work) practice in diverse settings, including construction sites, and the home. The research also has synergies with the work of Professor Sexton and Dr Lees, who are looking at the adoption of micro-generation technologies by the UK new build housing sector the adoption of micro-generation technologies by the UK new build housing sector

Shaping the digital economy

December 2010

Paul Morrell, the Chief Construction Advisor and Professor Martin Fischer, from Stanford University were two of the speakers at December's event on Engineering Management in the Digital Economy, organised by Dr Jennifer Whyte. Held at the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and co-sponsored by the Advanced Institute of Management Research (AIM) and the ICE, the workshop provided a forum for leading researchers and practitioners to learn from current research and to shape the future research agenda. ICRC members Professor Stuart Green and Dr Chris Harty also presented and chaired sessions.

The workshop sought to address four key questions:

  • How can digital data be best managed to add value across the life-cycle of infrastructure projects?
  • What are the strategic challenges that project-based firms face in engineering management of the digital economy?
  • How can leading practice shape research agendas?
  • How can international research inform practice?

The day included a presentation and discussion about the pilot study Hand-over of data to clients, conducted by Dr Carmel Lindkvist, Dr Nurain Ibrahim Hassan and Dr Whyte in collaboration with the ICE Information Systems (IS) Panel. Previous industry literature has focused on the potential value of digital data going from a project into operational use in an asset's life-cycle. This pilot study examined the actual value and use of such data in operations after a project is handed over. This work is part of the ICRC project Infrastructure through Life - Technology Use in Global Projects

Presentations and other details of the day are available at the ICE Digital Economy webpage

Reading advises on Low Carbon Construction

November 2010

ICRC member Professor Will Hughes is one of a number of industry experts who have spent the past year working to answer the burning question: Is the construction industry fit for purpose for the transition to a low carbon economy? The final findings of this review were published on 29 November 2010.

Professor Hughes says, "This report may prompt the kind of decisive action that is needed to enable the construction sector to reduce its carbon footprint. Climate change is a long-term issue that requires serious and urgent responses from all those involved in the construction sector, from funders to suppliers. We await the government's response with keen interest".

Visit the Low Carbon Construction Innovation and Growth Team website to learn more about the review, and to download the final report.

ICRC Professor called to conference as world expert

September 2010

Professor Roger Flanagan is one of the world's leading authorities on construction management. He will be among the top-level speakers at the annual builders' congress in South Africa next week.

Experts will be attending the 105th Congress of the South African Master Builders, entitled Beyond 2010, in Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia from 19 - 22 September. The event brings together experts in building and other related industries to share expertise between decision makers and industry experts.

Professor Flanagan is globally respected for his work on global construction markets, cost management, whole-life appraisal, risk management, organisational management and corporate strategy.

Professor Flanagan is a member of the Board of Directors for Skanska AB (Sweden), one of the top five largest contractors in the world, and for Halcrow Group, an engineering consultancy with a staff of over 6,000 operating in 70 countries. He is also a member of the EPSRC-funded Innovative Construction Research Centre (ICRC) at the University.

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