A flood of interest from engineering students

First year civil engineering students took a close-up look at £31m defences being constructed to protect against floods and future sea level rises.

They were taken on a tour of the Adur Tidal Walls scheme which is being carried out by Team Van Oord on behalf of the Environment Agency, Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, Adur District Council and West Sussex County Council.

The new defences at the mouth of the river Adur at Shoreham include steel sheet piling, concrete walls, flood glass and earth embankments.

When completed, the scheme is expected to significantly reduce flood risk to more than 2,300 properties in Shoreham and East Lancing, and will protect local infrastructure including roads, the railway line and Brighton City Airport at Shoreham.

The visit was part of the students’ Civil Engineering Practice module. Students were able to examine close-up sections of the scheme carried out by civil engineers Mackley, working as part of Team Van Oord.

Dr Friederike Günzel, Senior Lecturer in the University’s School of Environment and Technology, said: “It was an extremely interesting and informative site visit, and the students enjoyed it despite the cold weather.”

Read more about the visit on Dr Günzel’s post.

Home for Christmas

Two of our graduates have designed the UK’s largest temporary accommodation development – providing emergency accommodation for up to 288 people before Christmas.

John Smith and Roman Schneker both studied architectural technology and now run Cityzen, the Sustainable Architecture & Engineering practice in Portslade.

They designed the development reusing shipping containers, for Sussex based developers QED. The 60-apartments delivered in Acton, West London, for Ealing Council include 32 with two bedrooms, 20 with one bedroom and also eight studio homes. Each has its own kitchenette, shower room, and front door. There will also be a management office and laundry unit.

The apartments are based around Cityzen’s modular design of one, two and three adjoining units. Cityzen produced 315 drawings and each container build was tracked from the design process, through to the factory construction and to delivery on site. Cityzen designed not only the apartments but the building services in the apartments, and utilities to site.

John said: “It was a tough challenge, given just 10 months from first concept sketch to tenants moving in, and we’re proud to have played a part in helping Ealing Council provide homes before Christmas for people who would otherwise be in B&Bs or moved to another borough.”

John started out as a building services engineer but was continually being asked to look at the fabric and design of building to improve the performance. He saw that energy and sustainability were coming to the fore in the building industry so in 2003 he moved to Brighton to train at the University. Roman studied the same course at the School of Environment and Technology as he wanted to engage with the science of architecture and how buildings are built.

John said: “Both of us found the course helped with our career progression, and since graduating we have both become Chartered Members of the Institute of Architectural Technologists.”

John started Cityzen in 2010 and it became a limited company in 2017. John and Cityzen have mentored six placement students from the University of Brighton. Roman was one of these students and he later joined Cityzen as a Senior Architectural Technologist. For the past year he has been leading technical design on the firm’s modular and housing projects. Continue reading

Shoreham Adir Tidal Wall Scheme visit

A group of students visited the Shoreham Adur Tidal Walls Scheme as part of the Civil Engineering Practice module. We saw sections of the £31m flood defence scheme carried out by Mackley, working as part of Team Van Oord, to improve the flood defences at along the mouth of river Adur at Shoreham. The scheme addresses the current flood risk, and future risk as sea levels rise.

The visit started with some explanations and short videos at Mackley’s Visitor Centre at Shoreham. We then walked along a narrow footpath along the river bank where the vegetation has already been cleared off, ready for installation of sheet pile walls early next year (Pic 1). We saw installed sheet pile walls, already partly encased in concrete (Pic 2), and were quite amazed by the effort that was taken to improve the aesthetics of these walls with brick and flint facing (Pic 3).

We looked at sheet piles being prepared with steel studs for the concrete encasing (Pic 4) and the reinforcement for the concrete (Pic 5). We also saw the length of the sheet piles (Pic 6) and the gripping tool used to install them (Pic 7).

Further along the river, the concrete wall is much lower, so local residents still can see the river from their windows – this section will be fitted with flood glass panels (Pic 8). The thickness of these panels is quite impressive (Pic 9); they consist of three glass sheets and will still give protection if one of them gets damaged, e.g. by floating debris in the water. Access ramps to the marina have also been raised (Pic 10). Access to local residents’ homes is provided by flood gates where necessary (Pic 11).

Overall, is was an extremely interesting and informative site visit, and the students enjoyed it despite the cold weather. Many thanks to David, Terry and Angela from Mackley for being so welcoming! For further information please visit http://mackley.co.uk/good-progress-on-shoreham-flood-defence-scheme/

St Bartholomew’s Church Condition Survey

Within the context of Building Pathology and Life Care, students conducted a thorough Condition Survey of the St Bartholomew’s Church, Brighton. This neo-gothic building was built in the 1870s and has been an integral part of the local community ever since. The building is one of the tallest churches in England. Students identified major defects and recommended remedial works in the form of a ‘5-year Life Care plan’ for the Church of England. This project exemplifies the real-life challenges that construction professionals (particularly Building Surveyors, Architectural Technologists and Construction Project Managers) encounter in their day-to-day activities when working on historic buildings.


Come and visit us this winter

It might be cold outside but don’t let that stop you visiting us this winter!

If you’re considering starting an undergraduate course here in 2018, why not sign up to one of our campus tours taking place during December and January and find out more about what it’s like study at Brighton?

The tours will give you the chance to explore the campus where your course of interest is based, view our facilities and talk to our staff and students.

Find out more and book onto a tour <link to: https://www.brighton.ac.uk/studying-here/visit-us/campus-tours/index.aspx>

We’re in the top ten

The University of Brighton has been placed seventh in the country for its green credentials.

Brighton emerged in the top ten out of the UK’s 150 higher education institutions in the 2017 People & Planet’s University League, the independent league table of universities ranked by environmental and ethical performance.

Installing a record number of solar panels, reducing waste, introducing sustainable food initiatives, and embedding sustainability in the curriculum all contributed to the University’s high ranking.

Measures taken recently at the University include three solar PV projects, involving two ground-breaking roof lease schemes with Brighton Energy Cooperative, which resulted in a total of over 1,600 solar panels on the University’s roofs, placing Brighton among the top universities nationwide for solar generation.

And a recycling competition in halls of residents resulted in a 25 per cent reduction in waste.

The University was awarded just under 70 per cent which earned Brighton a First Class honour from People & Planet, the UK’s largest student campaigning network. It received 100 per cent for Environment Policy, Sustainability Staff, and Energy Sources, and 90 per cent for Carbon Management.

Professor Debra Humphris, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, said: “Being placed in the top ten is tremendous news and one which reflects the hard work and commitment by the University’s staff and students to do as much as we can to combat climate change, protect our planet, and be a socially responsible organisation.” Continue reading

Designing for Performance – IES Free CPD Seminar

Designing and managing buildings for more efficient performance is a concept that is continuously being reviewed and improved globally. In light of this, designers and stakeholders are keen on the evolution and inclusion of the virtual world in construction processes. This CPD seminar held at the University of Brighton was delivered by Dr Naghman Khan (Business Development Manager for IES). The session provided a detailed overview of the performance gap, the UK Government’s BIM strategy and the intelligent use of data throughout a buildings lifecycle to enable performance driven design. Real life case study examples were demonstrated to enhance the understanding of the audience.

The event was facilitated by University of Brighton’s Dr Poorang Piroozfar (Principal Lecturer & Subject Lead for the Built Environment), Yahya Ibraheem (PhD candidate) and Smita Ravishankar (Final year Architectural Technology student).


CDM in Demolition CPD

This CIOB Continuous Professional Development (CPD) event was organised by Briony Milton (Member Services and Events Coordinator – Dorking) on 24 October 2017 in the Cockcroft Building. Dr Terry Quarmby gave a fascinating presentation on the often misunderstood construction sector of demolition. The event was facilitated on behalf of the university by Dr Hannah Wood. The presentation was well-attended and enjoyed by industry practitioners, academics and students.

“CDM (Construction Design and Management) Regulations don’t just apply to the building of structures – they also apply to their demolition. So if you’re working on a project that involves demolition works, you not only need to understand the usual CDM requirements, but also those specific to demolition or dismantling.” – CIOB

Dr Terry Quarmby giving a presentation on CDM and demolition at the University of Brighton

Clay’s Lake Dam site visit

Our first year civil engineering students enjoyed a site visit to Clay’s Lake Dam and Flood Detention Reservoir on Wednesday last week.  The visit was organised in partnership with J T Mackley & Co Ltd, who are carrying out the flood prevention work at Clay’s Lake as part of Team Van Oord on behalf of the Environment Agency.

Here is a bird’s-eye view of the site


My placement at UCBuild

Sami Farhat
BSc (Hons) Project Management for Construction

“The year-out placement was a great decision! Taking on the role of Trainee Construction Manager with UC Build, I have improved my skills and already moved a step up in the construction industry. I have been a member of the UC Build Project Construction Management Team and really learned how to communicate with others regarding the job and increased my knowledge greatly. Working on different projects, including Waitrose in Haywards Heath and Capital Space Office Blocks in Kent, has been invaluable. I highly recommend every student not to miss the opportunity of a sandwich-year placement and to update their CV with such an unforgettable experience in life.”