Project title: The use of water features for improving speech privacy, productivity and peacefulness in open-plan offices
Project abstract: Acoustics research at Heriot-Watt University aims at integrating engineering and perceptual approaches to reduce noise in the built environment and improve quality of life. Within that context, this research focuses on the use of water features in open-plan offices in view of developing solutions designed to improve well-being and comfort within such spaces. Noise, especially irrelevant speech, is a major issue in open-plan offices, which has been proven to negatively affect workers' subjective satisfaction and their productivity. Sounds generated by water features have the potential to reduce the detrimental effects of noise due to their inherent positive and relaxing qualities. They could mask noise and therefore, increase subjective satisfaction and improve cognitive performance. The research examines these statements through a combination of engineering and social science methodologies, which comprise experimental work and auditory tests
Supervisor: Dr Laurent Galbrun
Project title: The integration of Diffuser Augmented Wind Turbines (DAWT) into the Urban Built environment
Project abstract: Diffuser Augmented Wind Turbines (DAWT) are a re-invented concept for optimising conventional wind turbines. Diffusers have been typically designed to increase the air mass flow rate through a turbine to increase the threshold for power extraction, computed as the augmentation factor. Literature in this field mostly covers improved aerodynamic performance with new ideas on improved Diffuser geometry. Tieng in with current research in this field, my research aims to explore a lucrative application for DAWT's in the Built Environment and extend our understanding of how Diffusers perform. Although an attractive option, Wind Turbines have not yet been very successful in urban environments, typically due to intermittent wind speeds that are unpredictable and multi-directional. DAWT's are therefor able to capture wind in otherwise unfavourable conditions with better air turbulence control. This research is aimed in some way to contribute to improving the energy efficiency and sustainability of new and existing buildings.
Supervisors: Dr Hassam Chaudhry, Dr Fan Wang & Professor Ming Sun
Project title: Data Integration Support for Offshore Decommissioning Waste Management
Project abstract: Offshore decommissioning activities represent a significant business opportunity for UK contracting and consulting companies, albeit they constitute liability to the owners of the assets - because of the cost - and UK government - because of tax relief. The silver lining is that waste reuse can bring some reprieve as savings from the sales of decommissioned facility items can reduce the overall removal cost to an asset owner. However, characterizing an asset inventory to determine which decommissioned facility items can be reused is prone to errors because of the difficulty involved in integrating asset data from different sources in a meaningful way. This research investigates a data integration framework, which enables rapid assessment of items to be decommissioned, to inform circular economy principles. It evaluates existing practices in the domain and devises a mechanisms for higher productivity using the semantic web and ISO 15926.
Supervisor(s): Professor Ming Sun and Dr Alasdair Gray
Project title: Framework for improving the performance of highway construction projects in developing countries
Project abstract: While the benefits and practice of risk management in highway projects have been increasingly recognized in the developed countries such as UK, USA, Australia, Germany, Canada, etc.; it is relatively new in Nigerian construction industry. In recognition of the existence of this failing and the need to overcome it, this research aims to investigate most important risk factors affecting the performance of highway construction projects in Nigeria and develop a comprehensive framework to improve its performance.
Data were collected through a questionnaire distributed to highway construction experts in Nigeria and interview conducted in four cases of highway projects in Central, South East and South West Nigeria. A total of 128 completed questionnaires were received through Council for the Regulation of Registered Engineers in Nigeria (COREN) and Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) monthly meetings; International and local contractors.
Following the combination of literature review findings, data analysis and personal experience, a life cycle based framework for highway project risk management is developed using theory of Constraints (TOC).
Supervisors: Professor Ming Sun & Professor Stephen Ogunlana
Project title: Public private partnership for higher education infrastructure
Project abstract: Public Private Partnership (PPP) procurement route was introduced with the aim of increasing the capacity and quality of services across the globe, whilst the PPP sector is now established and mature in many countries, realising the objectives of PPP has eluded many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa including Nigeria where the level of private sector participation in infrastructure provision remains low particularly in the Higher Education Infrastructure (HEI) sector. The need to enhance private sector participation in the HEI sector in order to transform Nigeria's public tertiary institutions' infrastructure from the current decayed state to acceptable standard has necessitated this research. Subsequently, this study has sought to answer a major question which is: How can the Nigerian government enhance the participation of the private sector in the delivery of HEI? The study is aimed at developing a framework for public private partnership projects in the higher education infrastructure sector.
Supervisors: Dr Graeme Bowles & Dr Adekunle Oyegoke
Project title: Measuring Building Sustainability – An International Perspective
Project abstract: The research theme for this PhD is based around the hypothesis that the growth of different sustainability measurement systems for buildings has undermined the credibility of the sustainability ratings achieved by buildings internationally. The proposed methodology is to examine the principle international measurement systems and identify inconsistencies between them. It is hoped to achieve this through detailed desk study of the various operating systems, in conjunction with unique case study data.
Supervisors: Dr Doug Harris & Dr Gillian Menzies
Project title: Developing Town Square for the sustainable city in UAE
Project abstract: Town Square in the developed city is a unique part of the urban setting for many cities of the world. For example, since more than two thousand years, the urban square has been a distinguished characteristic of the European cities in western and eastern sides. From the last two hundred years, European and North American cities have built town squares with an intention to bring people close. While some cities in the Middle East have been successful in striking a balance between their economic needs and demand of the public, which other cities have failed. In the UAE, since the late 1960, ‘decline' has been a predominant character of the relationship between urban town square and people's interaction. This is despite the fact that there is a global collective concept of serious principles of developing more urban open spaces forms within the new master plan of cities, targeting to achieve liveable sustainable communities. Although the urban planning design guideline in the UAE has been adopted from the west. Moreover, there is a constant support from the UAE leadership and official parties who offered to enhance practical efforts towards developing sustainable communities, however, the gap between social life and the community urban planning is to be filled. This paper examines the effectiveness of developing urban public squares in the UAE cities, and formulating policies for bringing quality urban spaces to cities and communities. The research has attempted to evaluate the liveability in different communities in the UAE through detailed case studies of four squares and plazas, including evaluating the physical quality, users' perception, and professional perception.
Supervisors: Dr Taha Elhag & Dr Ibrahim Motawa
Project title: Optimising Energy Use for Conservation of Historical Gallery Buildings, Energy Saving and Quality Indoor Environment
Project abstract: Funded by the Energy Technology Partnership (ETP), Scottish National Galleries and the School of Energy Geoscience Infrastructure and Society, my research is concerned with the optimising of energy use in historical buildings functioning as art galleries. Driven by the pressure of cutting down energy consumption to meet the 2020 climate emissions target, many of these public buildings are wrestling with high energy usage against a background of traditional conservation requirements of ‘tight-controlled' indoor temperature and humidity levels. These buildings, hence, seek to energy saving solutions while developing a refurbishment program. Targeting the need to assess the effectiveness of such refurbishment activities, this research develops a set of methods for comprehensive and topical assessment of each renovation type against the background of the indoor environmental specifications defined by technical documents for the good health of the highly sensitive and fragile historical artworks. Another primary output of this research is the development of a new parameter analogous to Degree Day, but taking into account the extremities in outdoor moisture, instead of temperature; given that humidity is the major threat to artwork, unlike temperature is for thermal comfort in most buildings. This parameter will successfully gauge the performance of the buildings' HVAC system, energy benchmarking and indoor environment under the microscope of the housed collections' care.
Supervisors: Dr Fan Wang & Dr Zhen Chen
Godawatte, Godawatte Arachchige Gimhan Rathnagee
Project title: Assessment of complexity in cost uncertainty in construction megaprojects
Project abstract: Megaprojects are fraught with complexity and uncertainty especially in determining the project cost. Historically, these projects across the globe are often failed to meet costs estimations, time schedules and project outcomes. A few studies have been carried out in this area to highlight the influence of contingency factors and make sense of the key variables such as risk, uncertainty and project ambiguities. Further work is needed to determine major causes for cost uncertainty and time over run in construction megaprojects. It may require examining programmatic cost and risk analysis along the major construction risk components. The study will also focus on using system dynamics approach to understand the behaviour and complexity of megaprojects. A Cost Estimating Validation Process may also be developed as one of the deliverables allowing the study to explore the interaction between cost and risk uncertainty in different megaprojects.
Supervisor(s): Dr Adekunle Oyegoke and Professor Ming Sun
Project title: New Architectural Approach in Reducing Electricity Consumption in Libyan Residential Sector
Project abstract: The design of a building should be responsible for providing a high level of comfort as well and seek to reduce energy consumption. In the summer time of the hot climate regions such as the south of Libya the temperature can regularly reach 48°C. In addition buildings can be subjected to a high intensity of solar gain and hence cooling of the building is very important.
As demand in thermal comfort of buildings rise increasingly, the energy consumption is correspondingly increasing. For example, in France, the energy consumption of buildings has increased by 30% during the last 30 years. Housing and student accommodation buildings are responsible for the consumption of approximately 46% of all energies and approximately 19% of the total CO2 emissions. Nowadays, thermal energy storage systems are essential for reducing dependency on fossil fuels and then contributing to a more efficient environmentally benign energy use (Kuznik et al., 2011). On the other hand in hot climates like Libya's the residential sector represents the highest share of electrical energy demand at around 36% of the total, due to increased use of air conditioning, where up to 7% of the total national consumption in Libya was created by demand for air conditioning (REAOL, 2013) Therefore, this research will focus on controlling the customers' air conditioning in order to reduce and reshape the electrical power consumption curve.
Supervisors: Dr Edward Owens & Dr David Jenkins
Project title: Effects of indoor humidity on older adults' wellbeing and energy consumption in Scottish care homes
Project abstract: Research into indoor thermal comfort in winter is limited. Additionally, thermal comfort standards focus more on air temperature than relative humidity and do not reflect older adults, who are vulnerable to cold conditions and dry skin. There is an urgent need of scientific evidence on the relationship between indoor hygrothermal conditions and older occupants' thermal comfort.
The aim is to study the impacts of indoor hygrothermal conditions on subjective comfort and energy consumption in care homes. Objectives include surveying the existing indoor environmental condition and subjective perception on air dryness in representative care homes in Scotland chosen with assistance from an external advisor；and assessing the effect of indoor vegetation on relative humidity and energy consumption and develop an effective environmental control operation.
The results will help inform the development of a cost-effective environmental service solution for low carbon management and improved occupant wellbeing in Scottish care homes.
Supervisors: Dr Fan Wang & Dr Sarah Payne
Project title: Evaluation of the Implementation of Safety Engineering Systems in Oil and Gas Construction Projects in the UAE
Project abstract: According to LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design), sustainability is the improvement of human life in relation to the optimal use of natural resources. Saving human life from the daily risks that individual maybe exposed to in the work environment is an essential element to enforce the sustainability concept in all of its aspects; economic, environmental and social. However, the development of the safety system in the oil and gas construction projects the result of historical catastrophes that later provided good lessons learned and professional safety practices to the industry such as Alexander L. Kielland capsize (North Sea, 1980), Piper Alpha Explosion (North Sea, 1988) and Deepwater Horizon Blow Out (Gulf of Mexico, 2010). The loss of Human life, environmental damages and financial loss of these catastrophes lead the oil construction professionals to continuously improve the safety system in this industry. Technical, procedural, and behavioural safety studies and framework have been conducted but, there is lacking of integrated framework that includes these three areas and embraces the involvement of management and operation in the same time, which explains the frequency of current safety incidents in the oil and gas construction projects worldwide. This area of research in developing integrated framework will help to change the approach from reactive to proactive and give a holistic view for the present safety challenges in the oil and gas construction sustainability in UAE
Supervisors : Dr Yasemin Nielsen & Dr Stephen Ogunlana
Project title: Public Private Partnerships for Road Maintenance as a Vehicle for Enterprise Development and Skills transfer in South African Rural Communities
Project abstract: South Africa's rural communities struggles with three main problems, lack of skills, low private sector investment and poor infrastructure, which undermines investments in rural communities. Even those with basic skills, the lack of opportunities undermine their ability to deepen their skills and improve their earning potential. The aim of the study is to develop small scale PPP framework that is appropriate for rural road maintenance in rural communities that have as part of their core purpose, a specific emphasis in fostering enterprise development and skills transfers to develop sustainable businesses within those communities. The study will focus on the current level of infrastructure and skill deficits in SA rural communities and the role that well maintained roads can have on improving the delivery of public goods and service, as well as improving access to economic activities.
Supervisors: Dr Adekunle Oyegoke & Professor Stephen Ogunlana
Project title: Towards supporting the development of heritage skills in Scotland
Project abstract: Scotland's historic environment annually attracts 16 million visitors, generating £2.3 billion income, and supporting over 100,000 jobs countrywide. Therefore, the conservation of Scotland's historic buildings is paramount. Recent research, based on two case studies of historic building within central Scotland, revealed that poor skills development is a key cause of repair problems resulting in a knock-on effect on building performance and cost. In particular, there is a lack of in-depth technical training literature on traditional stonemasonry skills technology, and its ability to meet current quality and performance standards. In order to conserve the current stock of historic buildings, there is a need for a continued investment in skills development. The overarching aim of this research is to support the future skills development for the repair and maintenance (R&M) of historic buildings, focusing on how training can support the application of new technologies and processes for modernising R&M practice without a detrimental effect on the natural environment.
Supervisors: Dr. Mohamed Abdel-Wahab & Dr. Alan M.Forster
Project title: Whole Life Carbon and Energy Performance of Buildings Designed and Delivered Using Life Cycle Assessment and Sustainability Tools - Pitfalls towards Real Practice
Project abstract: Buildings are responsible for about 40% of global energy and can influence up to 47% of the UK CO2 emissions. BREEAM, Building Information Modelling (BIM), and Soft Landings (SL) are the most current tools to drive sustainability in building construction industry in the UK. Three major construction projects are under construction on Heriot-Watt University Campus, using these tools. This is an exceptional opportunity to appraise their efficiency in implementing the best practice in whole building lifetime and in delivering low carbon, low energy, comfortable, and productive buildings.
Moreover, my PhD research aims to capture a snapshot of the transition from traditional practice towards digitalized and futuristic construction and distinguish the best approaches, drivers, opportunities, and pitfalls towards low-impact, sustainable buildings.
Supervisor(s): Dr Gillian Menzies, Dr Andrew Brown & Dr David Kelly
Mohammed, Sarwar Ali
Project title: Design and use of washroom facilities
Project abstract: The way in which we use water has changed dramatically over the past twenty years, particularly as society has come to recognise its value, not only as a resource in itself, but through the associated implications for energy consumption an carbon emissions. Little is understood however, about the behavioural patterns and environmental influences that determine usage patterns and levels and that help ensure provision matches user needs. Influences on usage patterns arise from, for example, differences in: demographic; housing/building typology; climate/weather; culture and religion; and the provision and layout of amenities. Although some datasets exist that provide information on consumption levels, few are comparable and yield useful information that helps with the design of sanitary and hygiene facilities. In addition, these datasets cover differing scenarios, spanning small-scale domestic though piped mains to large city-centre commercial buildings.
Using existing and establishing new data, this PhD study will investigate the range of environmental and physical influences upon user choice and behaviour, and in doing to so, will identify optimum system and amenity design for the provision of washroom facilities.
Supervisor(s): Professor Lynne Jack and Dr David Kelly
Navarro Bringas, Eduardo
Project title: Application of a Human Factors Systems Approach to the Design and Evaluation of Higher Education Learning Spaces and Facilities
Project abstract: In recent years, Higher Education has undergone substantial changes driven by ICT developments, globalization, and the prioritisation of new socio-constructivist pedagogic practices such as, active learning, problem solving, or peer reviewing. Estate capital expenditure and investments on retrofitting spaces and developing new facilities has surpassed for the first time 3 billion £ during 2016. However, evaluation of these new spaces has received criticism, as the focus is solely on user outcomes, such as satisfaction, and investment efficiency measures, while providing weak evidence on how the spaces support the users and institution in their activities and therefore, offering little information to designers. This PhD aims to explore how Human Factors methods, specifically Cognitive Work Analysis, can offer a supplementary formative approach to analyse and study these new spaces. Cognitive Work Analysis, offers a solid theoretical framework to the study of socio-technical systems, by focusing on the constraints that shape behaviours and activities within the facilities.
Supervisors: Dr Graeme Bowles & Dr Guy Walker
Perez del Real, Pilar
Project title: Social Product Declaration for construction materials. Towards a more holistic sustainable architecture
Project abstract: After decades assessing the sustainability of products just looking at the environmental aspects, social impacts are finally being considered becoming part of a more holistic sustainable life cycle thinking approach.
However, the inclusion of social sustainability into the construction industry requires firstly, the establishment of social assessment tools and secondly, initiatives for the dissemination, diffusion and practical implementation of those theoretical frameworks.
In this context, the overall goal of this study is the development of a Social Product Declaration (SPD) for construction materials using the framework proposed by the UNEP/SETAC initiative in the “Guidelines for Social Life Cycle Assessment of Products” in order to provide clear and comparable information about the social life cycle of construction products.
The final aim of this new communication tool is to encourage the improvement of the social performance of construction materials stimulating the competition between material manufactures.
Supervisor: Dr Gillian Menzies
Project title: Conservation Philosophy of Historic Window Glass in Scotland
Project abstract: In the historic built environment, it is important to protect, preserve and maintain the overall aesthetic of the building for generations to come. Unfortunately, historic window glass is often overlooked as a material which contributes to the aesthetic value of the building. Unlike modern window glass, historic glass can often have a tint, texture and variations in the thickness, all of which can distort the view when looking into or out of a window. This distortion adds to the overall aesthetic of the historic buildings, yet is often overlooked when working with windows. This project will work to establish the current conservation philosophy of historic window glass in Scotland. This will be done using previous planning applications and surveys/interviews from those working directly with historic window glass. Lastly, window glass analysis will be done in order to determine the age of the glass being replaced.
Supervisors: Dr Craig Kennedy & Dr Alan Forster
Project title: Stakeholder Management for Achieving Sustainability in Construction
Project abstract: With the increasing awareness of sustainability issues and introduction of new regulations, construction projects need to consider the expectations of both internal and external stakeholders during the life cycle of the project as well as the stakeholders in the future who will be affected by the current decisions and actions. Although the construction industry has started to consider the economic, social and environmental impacts of construction projects, the sustainability efforts so far focused mostly on designing for sustainability without paying much attention to how these will be carried out by the project parties and how the different, and largely competing, demands of stakeholders (both internal and external) will be managed. Stakeholders' interests and influences are dynamic and can vary from one stage to another and even from time to time in a particular stage of the project lifecycle, creating conflicts and making the realisation of the sustainability goals more difficult. This project focuses on this problem and is aimed at engaging and managing stakeholders at all stages of the project lifecycle in order to achieve the sustainability goals whilst achieving the project aims.
Supervisors: Dr Bilge Erdogan & Dr Yasemin Nielsen
Project title: Impacts of Return Migration on Urbanisation at County Towns Level in Western China- A Case Study of Chongqing Municipality
Project abstract: Since the 1980s, a large number of western rural population migrated to eastern regions for work in China. However, majority of these rural migrants eventually migrated back due to difficulties of settling down in destination cities, such as rigid restrictions of obtaining local urban Hukou. Nevertheless, different from the earlier return migrants, who usually remit income to rebuilt rural residence and back to land again, the return migrants in recent years would rather prefer to settle down in county towns near their rural origins and engage in non-agriculture work. The research will focus on this phenomenon in Chongqing municipality, where has significant return trend, to investigate the return migrants impacts on urbanisation of county towns, examine the current policy responses by government and identify opportunities for policy interventions in the future in order to transform return migration into a positive driver for county town's urbanisation process in Western China.
Supervisors: Professor Ming Sun & Dr Harry Smith
Project title: Evaluating the Application of the Environmental Management System at Aluminum Industry in the UAE
Project abstract: Aluminum is the third most abundant element, after oxygen and silicon, and the most abundant metal in Earth's crust. It is widely used in buildings, construction, transport, packaging and general engineering due to its unique characteristics such as corrosion resistance, durability, insulation capability, structural strength and low-weight, which makes it the metal of the future. Aluminum manufacturing is an energy intensive industry and a major contributor to Greenhouse gases such as CO2 and CFC, and PFC. This industry generates huge amounts of waste such as the Bauxite Residue from the Alumina Refinery process and the Spent Pot-Lining (SPL) from the Smelting process. These complex environmental challenges increase the role of environmental management and sustainability in the Aluminum manufacturing industry. According to the World Aluminum annual statistical report in 2014, UAE is the fourth largest aluminum producer, accounting for over 50% of the Arabian Gulf's aluminium production where the UAE Aluminum Industry is on upstream production and not on the downstream industries and uses such as recycling and secondary Aluminium production. This area of research is required in this region on how to reduce Aluminum environmental footprint by studying the life-cycle of Aluminum in the UAE, Environmental Management practices that are currently used in this industry and formulating an efficient environmental management framework for a sustainable metal production, which is mainly the intend of this research work.
Supervisors: Dr Yasemin Nielsen & Professor Stephen Ogunlana
Project title: Variation and Bias across Residential Building Energy Assessments
Project abstract: The release of CO2 through energy production is acknowledged as a key factor in climate change and 40% of energy consumption within Europe is associated with buildings. Energy assessments and the subsequent building refurbishments are proposed as a significant tool to reduce energy consumption and CO2 production. Despite standardisation of energy assessment metrics across Europe there is still significant variation in the way assessments of buildings are carried out. This research aims to identify what, if any, variation in markets, user behaviours and social policies can be attributed to variation in the method used to calculate energy use and CO2 production associated with buildings.
Supervisors: Dr David Jenkins & Professor Phil Banfill
Project title: Scottish Medieval and Post Medieval window glass.
Project abstract: The research focusses on the use of scientific compositional analysis (SEM-EDS and p-XRF) to study Medieval ecclesiastical and Post-Medieval domestic window glass in Scotland. The aims are to study the major, minor and trace elements of glass from a range of archaeological sites to discover differences and similarities between window glass used in Scotland and the rest of Europe. Scientific data combined with archaeological, typological and historical evidence, will add to the currently limited knowledge about where window glass used in Scotland was made and how this changed throughout the Medieval period. Research is also being undertaken on the earliest known glass manufacturing site in Scotland to be excavated, with the aim of identifying raw materials and glass recipes used in Scottish 17th/18th Century glass production.
Supervisors: Dr Craig Kennedy & Dr Alan Forster
Project title: Embodied energy and Carbon Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of office fit-out retrofits
Project abstract: Existing research studies in the area of office retrofit have been carried out with the intention to reduce the operational energy consumption and related carbon dioxide emissions. Regarding the material consumption related to these processes, focus has mainly been on waste management tackled through recycling. However, a lack of attention on the Recurring Embodied Energy (REE) and carbon emissions implications due to office interior retrofits including Fittings, Fixtures and Furniture (FFF) still exists. There is currently no evaluation method to measure the Recurring Embodied Energy and carbon impact of office interior retrofits (including FFF) over the entire life of a building. Therefore, the overall aim of this research is to address the abovementioned gap and develop a tool/method to assist decision making regarding the retrofit of office interiors including Fittings, Fixtures and Furniture with the intention to help reduce the rate and impact of the retrofit process.
Supervisors: Dr Gillian Menzies & Professor Susan Roaf
Project title: Assessing the Reduction in Domestic Water Consumption Ensuring Best Performance of the System
Project abstract: Scarcity of fresh water, rapid increase in population and excessive conditions in climate have encouraged designers of domestic water supply and drainage infrastructure to implement enhanced water conservation mechanisms in both residential and commercial settings. However, in introducing any reduction in potable water consumption, the designer should be mindful of the need to balance interconnected flows and to ensure acceptable performance in the plumbing system. Hence selecting the optimum reduction in water consumption while avoiding unfavourable performance is vital to enhance public engagement in water conservation. To gain this understanding, a numerical model is to be developed that is capable of simulating the time-dependent flow transition within the building curtilage. This encompasses the water supply, the discharge of wastewater and stormwater, and also evaluates the performance of the system within the context of potential water management options.
Supervisors: Professor Lynne Jack & Dr David Campbell