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The School of the Built Environment delivers world-leading research relating to the design, construction and operation of the built environment. 

Our research vision is to understand the built environment "across the scales" in a way that addresses societal aspirations relating to the built environment, combining real-world problems with high-quality interdisciplinary research. 

Research with real-world applications

We define our research priorities and activity in close collaboration with industry and policy stakeholders.

Our work influences improvements in practice in the construction-related sectors, with a strong focus on the needs of society in relation to the built environment.

Our research projects tackle issues including quality of life, sustainability of communities, wealth generation and long-term resilience. 


Research that makes an impact

In the latest UK Government evaluation of the quality of university research, the University of Reading has been ranked 6th in the UK for research power in Architecture, Built Environment and Planning (Times Higher Education, Institutions Ranked by Subject, based on its analysis of the latest REF 2021).
100% of our research is of international standing (REF 2021, combining 4*, 3* and 2* submissions – Architecture, Built Environment and Planning), and 100% of our research impact has been classed ‘outstanding’ or ‘very considerable’ (REF 2021, combining 4* and 3* submissions – Architecture, Built Environment and Planning).

Working with professional institutions

The School's research is closely aligned with the needs of the built environment professions, including as identified by: 

  • the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
  • the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)
  • the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE)
  • the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Built environment research groups

Close up of field of solar panels

Energy and Environmental Engineering

The Energy and Environmental Engineering research group brings together a diverse range of expertise that is informing scientific (physical and social) and engineering understanding of the built environment, as well as influencing policy and industry practice.

As part of national and international collaboration, the group is leading research on issues such as energy demand, urban meteorology, air quality and pollution exposure, and climate change mitigation and resilience.

Organisation, People and Technology

The Organisation, People and Technology research group draws upon an illustrious tradition of construction management research and industry engagement over the past 60 years. The group has evolved to remain at the forefront of practice-oriented research in the design and construction of the built environment.

The group's expertise spans management, sustainability, innovation studies, diversity and digital practices, combined to create a vibrant and collaborative atmosphere in which to investigate key issues affecting the wider construction industry.

Urban Living

The Urban Living group is truly interdisciplinary. It brings together expertise in analysis, evaluation and mapping of urban systems from a social, economic, environmental, cultural, experiential and design perspective. The group also explores the interfaces between those systems.

The group's aim is to impact on strategy, policy and practice for climate resilience, sustainable resources use, wellbeing community, design quality, and the public realm.