We are delighted to be collaborating with and advising a world-leading interdisciplinary team from the universities of Cambridge and Birmingham that has recently secured circa £1.3 million in research funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to research the reuse of structural steel in construction (project acronym RESTOR).
Our Works Team’s Lead Strategic Consultant, Dr Erika Parn, who is a Research Associate at the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing and works with the Centre for Digital Built Britain, is a co-investigator on this project.
Our Chairman Laurie Chetwood, and CEO Tim Ward, head of our Industrial Intensification team, will be alternately representing Chetwoods as part of the industry advisory board, make up of a range of industry advisors with a business interest in structural steel frames in construction. Chetwoods has a 30-year track record in research and development into improving sustainability in the design and construction of industrial and logistics buildings where steel is the most commonly used framing solution.
The RESTOR Project
RESTOR is investigating how the iron and steel industry and the construction sector can move onto a low-carbon pathway that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deliver strong economic and societal benefits. They are exploring how structural steel from demolished buildings can be reused rather than recycled.
The current preference for recycling structural steel is extremely energy demanding resulting in it having the highest embodied energy among traditional building materials such as masonry, concrete and timber. If the potential for the reuse rather than recycling of disassembled steel components can be developed and tested, this will significantly reduce the environmental impact of steel buildings.
This transformative project will apply sophisticated non-destructive testing, machine learning optimisation and building information (BIM) techniques to facilitate reuse of structural steel in construction. It will create a low-energy route to circular economy, resource efficiency and material recovery in the built environment, enabling the sustainable delivery of construction projects to achieve low carbon and net zero targets.
Within the project team Dr. Parn will be using her experience in digital construction to create a roadmap for the business case for introducing new services and future commercial pathways based on the RESTOR project to stakeholders in the architecture, engineering and construction domain.
Chetwoods Research Projects
For us at Chetwoods engaging in academic research that supports the evolution of our industry towards a more sustainable model has long been high on our list of priorities. We are constantly inspired by progressive clients who work with us to buck trends and are willing to take risks and push boundaries in the design of their buildings, and our in-house research teams are always keen to engage with academic research partnerships.
Our current research programmes aim to enhance both our own and our clients’ understanding of what really works when designing for people and the environment. We are continuously developing processes and tools that allow us to deliver net-zero buildings, and to scientifically measure the impact of their design on the wellbeing of the people who use them.
We are exploring data-centricity, and trialling analytics and insights into emerging technology to drive our design. Our Works specialists are helping us harness emerging technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality tools across our business to futureproof our work, and supporting our clients to embrace taking Building Information Management/BIM to the next level for business intelligence applications.
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