Dr Alan Forster



School of the Built Environment

Phone: +44 (0)131 451 4661
  • Room G.25
    Edwin Chadwick Building
  • School of the Built Environment
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • Edinburgh
  • EH14 4AS
  • United Kingdom
Alan Forster

Research profile

Roles and responsibilities

Teaching & Administration

Dr Alan M Forster is a research active lecturer (Assistant Professor) in construction technology and building conservation and is the Programme director for the PGDip / MSc in Building Conservation (Technology & Management) at Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh. He has over 9 years experience of academic practice and 10 years industrial experience in the construction sector, latterly specialising in building conservation.

Professionally, Alan is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Builders (FCIOB), an elected member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) (Scotland) Building Surveying Professional Group & a former committee member for the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings in Scotland. Additionally, he is the co-editor for the RICS Building Surveying / Building Conservation Journal.

A strong technological focus has been an important and constant feature of Alan’s work, and this is reflected in the nature of his teaching. Alan is currently responsible for delivering high quality teaching and learning for the following courses: ·        

  • Construction Technology 1 (D37TA)
  • Design Project 1 (D30YD)
  • Design Project 2 (D30YE)
  • Building & Contextual Investigation (D31BX)
  • Building Conservation Philosophy & Practice (D31CN)

Previous courses taught by Alan include; Construction Studies & Design 1 & 2 (2005-2007); Construction Technology 2 (2007– 2011); 1st year Integrative Design Project (2005-2010); & Building Surveying Design Portfolio (2007– 2011).

Alan is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and prides himself on high quality teaching, in building conservation, construction technology, multi-disciplinary design projects and surveying oriented subjects. He was awarded the 2010 Graduates Teaching Prize for lecturer of the year, the 2010 ‘Spirit of Heriot-Watt University’ award for Pursuing Excellence and shortlisted for the 2011 Teaching and Learning Oscars, ‘Switched on’ - most engaging lecturer award.

Alan’s academic administrative functions include; first year undergraduate student co-ordinator, and the MSc programme leader for the MSc/PgDip in Building Conservation (Technology & Management),he was formerly the CPM&QS undergraduate admissions tutor for 3 years.

Further information


  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Builders (FCIOB)
  • Royal Society of Edinburgh: Bilateral exchange programme (Visiting Research Fellowship) awarded in collaboration with the Academy of Sciences for the Czech Republic, 2014. His work was undertaken within the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, and more specifically, the ARCCHIP Centre of Excellence (Advanced Research Centre for Cultural Heritage Interdisciplinary Projects). The Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic is the leading non-university public research institution in the Czech Republic. It conducts both fundamental and strategic applied research.
  • Sir Edmund Happold Senior Visiting Research Fellowship University of Bath (Summer 2011). Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering: Innovative Construction Materials research group.  Fellowship enabled the establishment of collaborative research at a fundamental level
  • Winner of the 2010 ‘Spirit of Heriot-Watt University award: Pursuing Excellence category’ that is typified by  ‘always doing my best, exceeding customers expectations, being ambitious in my goals, and using my strengths’ http://www.hw.ac.uk/equality/Values/Values%20Index.htm
  • Winner of the graduating students’ prize for lecturer of the year (2010) by the Heriot-Watt Students Association.
  • Short listed for the graduating students’ prize for lecturer of the year (2009) by the Heriot Watt Students Association
  • Shortlisted for the Heriot-Watt University (2011) Student Union - Learning & Teaching Oscars for the ‘Switched on award’ that is typified by being ‘Exciting, enthusiastic & dynamic, makes the difficult, easy, relates material well, provides practical examples, feel for students, tailors material, adaptability’
  • Awarded the ‘Structural survey’, ‘outstanding journal paper award’ (2011) by Emerald Literati Network ’, for the paper entitled ‘Condition survey objectivity & philosophy driven masonry repair: An increased probability for project divergence?’ (main author)
  • Awarded the ‘Structural survey’, ‘outstanding journal paper award’ (2009) by Emerald Literati Network ’, for the paper entitled ‘Traditional cob wall: response to flooding’ (main author) http://info.emeraldinsight.com/authors/literati/awards.htm?year=2009
  • Awarded the ‘Structural survey’, ‘Highly commended journal paper award’ (2011) by Emerald Literati Network ’, for the paper entitled ‘Building conservation philosophy for masonry repair: Part 2 ‘Principles’ (main author)