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Smart innovation for tomorrow's urban landscape

Tackling the global engineering challenges of tomorrow’s urban environment, the Built Environment Sector focuses on hot topics relating to designing, building and maintaining buildings and the wider built environment.  Current themes include; connected buildings, efficient energy building management systems, risk resilience of the built environment and Building Information Modelling.

Discover events you can join, discussions you can share and publications you can access to extend your technical knowledge.



IET Achievement Medals


The IET Achievement Medals recognise engineering or technology professionals who have made a significant impact on the world through their work, or who have made an exceptional advancement to engineering either through research and development, leadership or their voluntary work.  The Medals are international in scope and are awarded by nomination only.
Do you know somebody who you would like to nominate for one of these awards?  The IET Prestige Medals consist of the Faraday Medal, the Mountbatten Medal, the Mensforth Manufacturing Gold Medal and the JJ Thomson Medal for Electronics.  There are also up to five Achievement Medals available to individuals who have made major and distinguished contributions in the various sectors of engineering, technology or applied science.
To find out more about the IET Achievement Medals or to complete an online submission please visit  The deadline for nominations is Friday 27 May 2016 at 17:00 BST. 

IET image boards are now available on Pinterest

The IET has recently launched its own image boards on Pinterest to share photos and visual concepts with other users. The current IET topic boards include Michael Faraday, Electric lighting, Telegraphy, Design and Production, Transport, Energy, Built Environment, Information and Communications, with additional boards to be added over time.

Pinterest is a discovery tool that allows people to find and share ideas for projects, ‘pin’ them to their own digital boards, and follow boards that are of interest to them. Morethan 70 million people around the world use Pinterest as an information source. Users are invited to follow boards or pin any of the images contained within the boards to their own collections. Find IET boards and follow us, and take a look at the Built Environment board to see our latest pins.



RICS BIM Conference, London - 12th Feb 2015

Key points from a packed programme.

There were some significant messages coming from the assembled QS’s and it was made very clear that collaboration will be the key to successful project delivery. Engineers need to ensure that the design models are coded correctly.
The UK Government Construction Strategy has identified £1.4Bn savings resulting directly from the use of BIM during 2014.
Too much information = infobesity
EIR = Employers Information Requirements. This must contain a clear brief and set out the expectations for the level of BIM information sought. Clients aren’t always BIM savvy and may need help producing the EIR. The projects response to the EIR is the BIM Execution Plan.
On major projects CH2MHill  use a BIM Cave (a walk through CAD projection)  to allow clients and contractors to understand the project and undertake such things as clash detection, health and safety checkes and construction sequencing.

Assuming only major projects are BIM’d, the top 50 UK Clients, signed 2664 deals in 2014 with a total value of £25Bn. The average project value was circa £10m.
Client's must ensure that their FM's are clear about what data sets they require from the design and construction processes in order to manage the facilities and maintain whole Life Cycle costing information. This information must be communicated to the project at the earliest stage possible so that the relevant data is captured and made available. 
Questions still remain regarding Intellectual Property. The consensus seems to be that the Client owns the design data, which includes all 3D models. It is unclear what use they are put to after construction. The models should reflect construction sequencing. Data should be recorded as per the Standard Method of Measurement. There should be specific levels of detail appropriate to the key stages of design and project development. Engineers should send trial data to QS’s early in the project to test quality and quantity of data.
Engineers must undertake thorough verfication of their designs to ensure that the 3D models are complete and the designs reflect construction sequencing such that the correct quantities can be extracted from the models. E.g. columns should not pass through slabs.
QS’s need to speak with the designers early in the project to agree what data will be exchanged and in what format.
There is a potential issue regarding suppliers of MEP equipment needing to code their 3D CAD models in accordance with UniClass. It’s not clear whether this has been communicated to the OEM world.
There seemed to be little doubt that BIM is the correct way forward for the industry irrespective of the UK Governments 2016 deadline for major projects. Private sector clients should be encouraged to use BIM for all projects where appropriate.
The legacy of BIM will be that detailed project data will be coordinated throughout the project resulting in soft landings at each key stage. Life cycle costing will be accurate, Asset Managers will have detailed information of every aspect of the asset and clients will save circa 20%.


InnovateUK Announce £6million funding

InnovateUK are pleased to announce £6 million worth of competition funding in the following areas: Building whole-life performance and the Construction supply chain.

These competition-funding opportunities would be of direct interest to practitioners in building processes, products, services and intensifying collaboration within the construction supply chain.
Building Whole-Life Performance (BWLP) competition.
This £4M CR&D (collaborative research and development) competition aims to maximise the long-term economic, societal and environmental contribution of buildings, by improving their whole-life performance.  Find out more
Supply Chain Integration in Construction Competition
With such a significant challenge, Innovate UK are investing up to £2 million in feasibility studies to explore new ways of increasing collaboration and improving the flow of information throughout the whole supply chain.  Find out more
Come and be briefed - A series of consortium-building events are planned to outline the scope of the completions.  These will be valuable networking opportunities designed to develop effective partnerships for the competitions.   Interest is anticipated to be high and numbers are restricted.  Booking your place early is strongly advised.

Heat Networks

The IET’s “Future of Urban Heat” debate was held in London as a part of the Future Cities Conference. Chaired by Davy Thielens , the debate tackled the key technological, economic, political and consumer issues around the future challenge of decarbonizing heat in the UK.
To ensure that heat networks are designed and operate effectively,The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE)  and the Combined Heat & Power Association (CHPA)and have brought together industry partners to establish common standards for the development of district heating.


To BIM or not to BIM – Is that the question?

During 2015, the Built Environment Sector will see the maturing of Building Information Modelling (BIM) before the need to work in the BIM environment on all UK Government projects from 2016.

To standardize the implementation of BIM, nbs (RIBA Enterprises) are drafting Uniclass 3 (Unified Classification 3) in consultation with industry, academia and the professional engineering institutions. The output will be a ‘Toolkit’ for BIM to facilitate standardised data sets which grow through the life of the project from initial concept, through design, construction, operation, maintenance and finally deconstruction. The expectation is that by the end of this year Uniclass 3 and the BIM toolkit in compliance with Cobie and PAS 1192-2 will form the basis of all Government sponsored infrastructure projects.

The IET’s Offices at Michael Faraday House in Stevenage were recently surveyed using a laser scanner. The purpose of the survey was to produce 2D floor plans, however, the data capture process created a 3D model of the interior and exterior. This process can be used to create BIM models from existing buildings as is regularly done by Stanbury’s Ltd for clients such as the Ministry of Defence and Imperial War Museum.

Managing and maintaining new facilities post construction using the data collected during design and construction will significantly increase the amount of information available to clients and facilities managers. In due course retrofitting BIM data to existing public and commercial buildings is likely become an increasing popular practice once the full benefits are exploited.
You can learn more about BIM at the RICS BIM Conference in February.

Do you have strong feelings or bad experiences regarding the use of BIM on projects and in facilities management. If so let me know. @iettimclark  Tim Clark 

Future Homes and Cities.

There are around 25 million homes in the UK. The Department for Communities and Local Government figures show that since 2010 130,000 new homes are currently built each year in the UK, which is down significantly from the 212,000 built during 2007. The Home Builders Federation estimates that 220,000 new homes need to be built each year to keep up with demand. To add to these challenges the UK construction industry needs to become more sustainable and to reduce its impact upon the planet through carbon reduction measures and lower usage of natural resources such as energy and water.
In order to live more sustainably the construction industry has been developing new and innovative ideas. The Homes 2014 Exhibition at Olympia in November showcased many examples of how the sector is addressing sustainability. Many of the businesses represented were demonstrating how they are contributing towards reduced energy consumption during manufacture of construction materials, initiatives to reduce domestic energy use by installing thermal insulation, mobile apps to control domestic heating and the introduction of resources to reduce overall energy demand such as LED lighting and Photo Voltaic installations.

The UK Government has set a target to reduce Green House Gas emissions by 80% by the year 2050. A study has been undertaken by Paul Davis Associates on behalf of Innovate UK (Formerly the TSB) of 20 residential properties that have been retrofitted with a range of energy efficient products. Marion Baeli’s presentation explained many of the problems encountered and solutions employed to make significant reductions in carbon use and emissions. To reduce heat loss properties were fitted with roof and wall insulation, triple glazing and the cold bridges were removed between floors and walls. Heating and energy was provided by ground source heat pumps and PV cells.

The house building industry has made significant progress in recent years in improving the sustainability of new homes. At the Fast Forward event in December, the members of Next Generation were able to demonstrate how 55% of the homes built in 2014 achieved an average of 75% sustainability. The group is looking to improve upon its own performance and to welcome other UK house builders to join the initiative.

The Future Cities event held on 4th and 5th December 2014 brought the Built Environment and Energy Sectors together to look at challenging topics for all our futures. Cities are the greatest users of energy and we continue to explore ways of reducing that energy demand. We are now looking to define what a future city is and ask when they will become a reality? What will it take to deliver Future Cities? Are the Codes of practice and standards adequate or do we need to introduce new technologies and methods such as Low Voltage DC supply and modular off-site building manufacture?

If you have views and ideas on any of the above topics, please share them with me Tim Clark or discuss them on Twitter @IETtimclark


So how can we meet all these future demands when there are reports of skills shortages in the construction sector, and announcements that the UK will need an additional 75,000 Engineers in 5 years’ time?

To meet the skills shortage we can all do our bit by spending some time with our local schools. As STEM Ambassadors, IET members can support activities in schools and colleges to bring Engineering and Technology expertise into the classroom. The IET’s Education programme provides resources for Teachers, activities for students and opportunities for IET members to support activities such as the Faraday Challenge. Other activities in and for schools, are coordinated through local STEMNET providers such as SETPOINT Herts.

Following the Prime Ministers announcement in June 2013 of an initiative to create 100,000 professionally registered technicians by 2020, the Built Environment Sector is set to benefit greatly from the important work that is now underway. The IET is working closely with EngTechNow, the body set up to drive the initiative forward, in order to help our technician members achieve this important professional recognition and our efforts will continue throughout 2015.


Savoy Place and the North Bank.

As many members will be aware, the IET began a feasibility study in 2010 for options to modernise Savoy Place. The upgrades took into consideration overall building energy efficiency, aesthetics, ergonomics and amenity. Working with the BRE to meet BREEAM 2008 standards the study assessed the maturity of new technologies and how suitable they were to retrofit to buildings such as Savoy Place. The proposed works have achieved a BREEAM assessment of "Very Good".
The physical works commenced on-site in July 2013 and are progressing well with the out-dated fittings and Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing services removed, remedial repairs done and the process of installing new equipment now underway.

In the vicinity of Savoy Place, plans are being developed to improve the general amenity of the North Bank of the Thames and to build a “Garden Bridge” for pedestrians between Temple and the South bank which has already received approval from City Hall. Despite significant momentum there are still challenges ahead for the bridge project as highlighted by the withdrawal of RSPB’s support, citing that there are potentially better ways to provide protected environments for birds.


Upcoming Events


We live in a rapidly changing world where the outcomes from relentless innovation continue to affect our lives. Attempting new ingredient combinations in cooking has for example, lead to ‘salted caramel’. From a patisserie in France in the 1980’s the combination of something sweet and salty has become the rage internationally. You can even buy it on ... read more...
Posted by Kimberley Munns on IET Built Environment Sector May 24, 2016 1:49 pm BST


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