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

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

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.”

My placement at Transport for London

David Roddy
BEng (Hons) Civil Engineering

“Taking a year out on placement is the best decision I have ever made in my path towards becoming an engineer. Working with Transport for London (TFL), not only have I gained valuable experience and training, but have been able to make significant progress into my professional development, signing off a quarter of the attributes required to become a Chartered Engineer and producing evidence for attaining EngTech status at the end of my placement year. I’d say my main take away from this experience is to trust my ability to handle responsibility. When I first started I was nervous about having ownership of a project; now I have managed, or am currently managing, 7 projects with long term impacts and deliverables.”

A warm welcome at our open day

Sunshine, blue skies, our brilliant ambassadors and friendly staff welcomed visitors to our campus open day on Saturday 17 June.

Open days are a great way to find out about the local area and campus where you will be studying. You’ll also be able to hear more about your chosen subject and talk to our staff and current students.

If you are thinking about beginning your studies in 2018 and missed this one, find out more about upcoming events on our website.

Moulsecoomb Campus Open Day

Open days are a great way to find out about the local area and the campus where you will be studying. You will also be able to hear more about your chosen subject and talk to our staff and current students.

If you are thinking of beginning your studies in 2018 come along to our campus open day on Saturday 17 June. Find out more about open days on our website.

Our INTREPID Dr Mary Geary

Barcelona’s water of life: el agua de la vida!

Dr Geary travelled to Barcelona last month as part of an EU ‘Co-operation in Science and Technology’ initiative called the INTREPID training school. Here is her diary of the trip.

In the famous Catalan fairy story ‚‘The Water of Life‘, also known by its original name ‘El agua de la vida’, only the deliverance of the water of life, sourced from a magic spring in the hills, can save a family from being turned to stone by an evil giant. It is the daughter of the family who outsmarts the ogre and restores life with the water. The life of her own family, of her petrified neighbours and of her surroundings are all rejuvanated as the water she spills on the return from the mountain turns everything green and fecund and frees the people from the giant’s curse. That water is still seen as the very essence of Catalan life is clear throughout the urban fabric of its capital city.

Wedged between the Mediterranean Sea and the estuaries of the Llobregat and Besos rivers and with the Serra de Collserola mountain range as its backdrop, Barcelona is a water-centric city fiercely proud of its heritage. As the economic powerhouse of Catalonia, its historic wealth was built around its port, driving its shipping, mercantile, leather and textile industries. The evidence of that financial prowess – Barcelona’s architectural splendour – attracts millions of tourists every year. Power, water, wealth have historically connected together to forge a city of almost 2 million residents; whose population rises threefold every year with almost 6 million visitors per annum.

As one of those 6 million visitors I travelled to Barcelona in early February this year as part of an EU ‘Co-operation in Science and Technology’ initiative called the INTREPID training school. My fellow Sustainable Futures researchers and I were collaborating to work together in a four day workshop, sharing experiences and learning together how interdisciplinary collaboration is at the heart of undertaking sustainability research. Working across disciplines – we were a disparate group of ecologists, urban planners, civil engineers, environmental lawyers, social scientists amongst others –we discussed how it is possible to try to make connections amidst and outside of our own scientific perspectives to find holistic pragmatic solutions to urgent, real world problems. As a Research Fellow based in SET, understanding how communities understand, articulate and action changes in their local water environments is crucial. It helps me contextualise how macro influences are interpreted and responded to, and what steps and strategies policy makers and governance bodies need to undertake to make sustainability science comprehensible and relevant. Continue reading