The course

Delivery
Distance learning
Course type
Taught
Location
Online
Entry date
September, January (DL only)

Contact

Overview

Our Building Services Engineering course considers low carbon building design and the integration of renewable energy systems into buildings. It deals with services engineering issues, building the skills required to cope with the challenges in the working environment. As a conversion course, it gives you a good foundation for launching, or accelerating, a career as a Building Services Engineer – or technical sustainability consultant.

The Building Services Engineering course is flexible and aimed at graduates with engineering degrees or a background in construction. Courses are taught by experts in their fields, making sure that teaching content reflects cutting-edge knowledge in the industry. Our active Industry Advisory panel also includes senior construction professionals from renowned local and global consultants and contractors.

Architectural Engineering Pathways

Our School has been providing industry-leading, research-based Masters conversion courses in the Built Environment sector since 1984. The continuous accreditation legacy and a strong Industry Advisory Panel gives us a unique advantage when it comes to producing graduates that excel in facing the complex challenges that face the modern Built Environment professional.

We have two Masters Programmes that allow students to follow one of two distinct but complimentary paths: Building Services Engineering and Sustainable Building Design.

For those with an engineering, physics or maths background, the Building Services Engineering path will provide the technical knowledge and services design skill development to transfer into this field or to accelerate an existing career.

For those students from a more general design-based background, the Sustainable Building Design path will enhance your existing architecture or design skills with specialist technical knowledge, equipping you with multidisciplinary understanding, and developing your confidence in combine architecture and technology to deliver sustainable design.

This illustration shows the available pathways.

Whichever path you chose, our teaching materials are research-driven and industrially relevant, providing a learning environment with impact. Research dissertations frequently contribute to national and international strategy and policy, and are based on our globally-recognised research, meaning that our graduates have a significant head-start in their chosen path.

Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design

Royal Academy of EngineeringOur Architectural Engineering programmes are delivered by the Royal Academy of Engineering Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design. This is one of four such Centres established at UK universities that jointly form a national network to demonstrate and exchange best practice in teaching and research for the sustainable built environment. The Centre also ensures graduates from our programmes will be used to working within an inter-disciplinary environment involving architecture, engineering and construction.

Research-active staff

Within the area of sustainable buildings, our Architectural Engineering staff have a long track record in research around low-carbon buildings, modelling and design, and the understanding of energy and water use in the built environment. Through millions of pounds of funding from research councils, industry and governments, our courses are taught by experts in their fields, ensuring that teaching content reflects cutting-edge knowledge in the subject area. Research projects involving Architectural Engineers that our students will hear about include:

  • The £20M EPSRC national Centre for Energy Systems Integration, demonstrating the role of buildings within the wider energy infrastructure
  • Over £3M of projects from the EPSRC Adaptation and Resilience in a Changing Climate (ARCC) programme, looking at how our buildings might perform in a future climate
  • The £1.4M “Tarbase” project, investigating low-carbon refurbishments

Our postgraduate teaching is fundamentaly linked with our research work, so that, our MSc courses not only provide our students with an important insight into current industry practice; but also our latest research can guide you as to how industry might evolve in the future.

Course length

The full-time course starts in mid September and lasts one year. The course can also be taken part-time over two years, or online via Independent Distance Learning (IDL).

Accreditation

Our MSc Building Services Engineering has been accredited as a further learning programme at the postgraduate level to meet the academic requirement for Chartered Engineers (CEng, UK) by both the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and the Energy Institute (EI) and also for Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv UK) by the Energy Institute.

Course content

   Detailed course guide

Students undertake eight taught courses for the Diploma plus the research dissertation for the MSc. Students can opt to complete a total of four courses and graduate with the Heriot-Watt University Postgraduate Certificate.

The taught element of the programme comprises 8 courses, with three mandatory/core courses and one optional course per semester:

Semester 1 Semester 2
  • Building Electrical and Lighting Services (mandatory)
  • Ventilation and Air Conditioning (mandatory)
  • Contracts and Procurement (optional)
  • Water Supply and Drainage for Buildings (optional)
  • Sustainable Design and Development (optional)
  • Climate Change, Sustainability & Adaptation (optional)
  • Thermofluids (mandatory)
  • Human Factors (mandatory)
  • Low Carbon Buildings (mandatory)
  • Architectural Acoustics (mandatory)
  • People and Organisational Management for the Built Environment (optional)
  • Carbon Footprinting (optional)
  • Energy Systems and Buildings (optional)

Building Electrical and Lighting Services

Semester 1 (mandatory)

This course outlines the theory and utilisation of electrical power in buildings. It aims to:

• Provide an overview of ac systems.
• Provide an insight into the design of electrical distribution systems.
• Illustrate a systematic approach to circuit design.
• Provide an insight into regulation and protection.

Ventilation and Air Conditioning

Semester 1 (mandatory)

This course aims to introduce students to the essential aspects associated with the design and operation of a full range of comfort air conditioning systems provided within buildings under various weather conditions. Subjects in the syllabus include:

Heat exchanges between an indoor environment and its occupants; indoor and outdoor design criteria, and internal and external sources of sensible and latent gain; the psychrometrics and psychrometric processes associated with air conditioning systems; ventilation principles and theoretical calculation.

Contracts and Procurement

Semester 1 (optional)

The aim of this course is to help students understand advanced procurement practices, the situations in which their use is appropriate and the contractual principles upon which they are based. The course will also introduce students to the mechanisms used by a typical standard for of construction contract (from the JCT05 suite) to control the risk exposure arising from the liabilities of contracting parties created by the contract and common law, as well as the flow of money and information between contacting parties. Subjects covered by the syllabus include:

Introduction to Construction Project Procurement; Procurement Arrangement Options; Construction Contract Use in the UK; Principles of Contract Law; Partnering; Procurement through Public Private Partnerships; Claims; Negotiating; Managing Conflicts and Disputes; Towards Better Contracting Practices.

Water conservation

Semester 1 (optional)

This course will enable students to understand the drivers for water conservation and how conservation measures are best implemented. The course focuses on both the technologies available for water conservation, as well as on the implications of implementation. Students will be encouraged to develop skills in tailoring water conservation solutions designed not only to comply with legislation but that also provide best benefit within the context of their use. Subjects in the syllabus include:

Drivers for water conservation; relevant legislation; water consumption; attenuation principles; design principles to reduce water consumption; rainwater harvesting; greywater recycling; green/living roofs; storage, control and distribution of reclaimed water and treatment of reclaimed water.

Sustainable Design and Development

Semester 1 (optional)

This course aims to help students develop a critical understanding of the complexity of urban and housing design and development, including the importance of people and process. The course will help students to gain professional knowledge about urban design principles and practice, including sustainability issues. Subjects in the syllabus include:

Introduction to urban design and housing quality; Critical understanding of the development process including stages in the development process and appreciation of different stakeholder perspectives; Sustainable design, housing quality, place identity and character; Climate, aspect, safety, planting, management; Conservation areas and listed buildings; Market and needs analysis; Developer’s budget, cashflow and financial appraisal; Risk analysis.

Climate Change, Sustainability and Adaptation

Semester 1 (optional)

This course introduces students to issues relating to climate science and future predictions, in addition to legislative requirements and government initiatives to combat climate change. The concepts of carbon, energy and water footprints, environmental impact analyses will be explored, and interests surrounding energy and carbon mitigation, and current thinking in adaptation strategies will also be covered. The use of case studies and/or site visits will be used throughout the course to demonstrate principles and current practice.

Subjects covered by the syllabus include: Sustainability and the built environment; History of climate science and future predictions; Carbon, energy and water footprints; Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), including Life Cycle Assessment (LCA); Adaptation/probability for future climate scenarios.

Thermofluids

Semester 2 (mandatory)

This course introduces students to heat transfer and fluids fundamental processes, relating to building services, including steady state heat transfer, fluid flows and principles of energy flow.

Human Factors

Semester 2 (mandatory)

The aim of this course is to give students an appreciation of how buildings are used, how occupants react to their environment, raising issues of aural, thermal and visual comfort. The need for Post Occupancy Evaluation is explored in addition to some behavioural studies elements and adaptation issues. Subjects and topics covered by the syllabus include:

The definition of building sustainability in respect of meeting building occupant and organisational needs; Introduction to behavioural studies; Adaptive Comfort; Post Occupancy Evaluation.

Low Carbon Buildings

Semester 2 (mandatory)

Effective collaboration across the design team is key to the creation of a sustainable environment. This course provides students with an opportunity to apply and test the knowledge accumulated from other courses, and their own experience, to a series of case-study scenarios of real-life ‘wicked problems’, requiring complex decision-making. Students will be required to collaborate and evaluate multivariate phenomena and balance the requirements of different parties, ethical considerations, and technical knowledge. The structure of the course develops students’ abilities in professional practice and the informed application of their technical knowledge, as well as in interdisciplinary communication. As part of the course, students will have the opportunity to engage in self-authored design work, demonstrating their response to a particular site and programme for a Low Carbon Building.

Subects and topics covered include: Principles of Low-Carbon Buildings and Communities; Sustainability drivers for clients and for policy; Professional Ethics; Interdisciplinary Collaboration; Digital Collaboration Tools; Teamworking Skills

Architectural Acoustics

Semester 2 (optional)

This course introduces students to the basic concepts of acoustics. The course will give an overview of environmental noise (sound propagation outdoors) and provides an understanding of the theories used in building acoustics (including room acoustics, sound insulation, duct-borne noise and vibration isolation).

People and Organisational Management in the Built Environment

Semester 2 (optional)

This course aims to develop a high level of interdisciplinary understanding about complex organisational and personal management processes and how important they are in underpinning technical skills to deliver high quality services as a professional. Students will learn about and explore management theory and practice and will have a chance to reflect on their own personal development in a synoptic way. This will be valuable in terms of career development, as management competences and self-reflection are increasingly sought in practice.

Topics covered by the syllabus include: What is management and why is it important for professional practice? Good and bad examples of management and their effect on individuals, organisations and service delivery. A critical evaluation of management theories. In depth understanding of the complexities of team building, organisational culture, recruitment and selection, staff appraisal, motivation, leadership, communication, co-ordination, and managing change and diversity.

Energy systems and Buildings

Semester 2 (optional)

This course aims to help students to understand the basics of how the form, fabric and equipment of a building affect its energy, water and carbon footprint both locally and globally. An understanding of carbon and energy auditing will be developed and demonstrated through case studies and assignment work based on new and existing buildings, and methods of reducing carbon emissions in existing buildings will be investigated.

Subjects covered by the syllabus include: Basics of building energy use; Aims and objectives of energy auditing of buildings; Methods and instruments used in the measurement and assessment of energy consumption; Energy monitoring and targeting; Motivating staff and incentives to improving efficiency; Use of BMS in energy management..

Energy systems and Buildings

Semester 2 (optional)

This course aims to help students to understand the basics of how the form, fabric and equipment of a building affect its energy, water and carbon footprint both locally and globally. An understanding of carbon and energy auditing will be developed and demonstrated through case studies and assignment work based on new and existing buildings, and methods of reducing carbon emissions in existing buildings will be investigated. Subjects covered by the syllabus include:

Basics of building energy use; Aims and objectives of energy auditing of buildings; Methods and instruments used in the measurement and assessment of energy consumption; Energy monitoring and targeting; Motivating staff and incentives to improving efficiency; Use of BMS in energy management.

Programme leader

Dr David Campbell