SBEnrc News | December 2019
Welcome to SBEnrc’s final newsletter for 2019
It’s been an amazing year, abundant with opportunities and achievements. There’s so much to share, it’s almost too much for one newsletter! Please enjoy this bumper end of year wrap-up.
FEATURE PROJECT: Lifecycle Facility Value
Integrating whole-of-life factors during the design and construction of facilities can have significant impacts on their long term maintenance and operation. Historically, the value of lifecycle thinking has been poorly communicated across various industry sub-sectors, mainly due to it being at odds with market forces. SBEnrc has been exploring ways to demonstrate value.
Headed by Project Leader Professor Peng Wu, and Project Manager Ammar Shemery, SBEnrc Project 2.64 Unlocking Facility Value through Lifecycle Thinking is developing a digital framework that supports decision making to consider the lifecycle of facilities in the housing, building, transport, utilities, and airports. A water infrastructure module has also stemmed from the project. Partnering with Water Corporation WA and Queensland’s Seqwater, the water module will assist both organisations with their digital asset management transition journey. The project also seeks to find avenues for educating the construction industry and broader community on benefits of lifecycle thinking.
Early project outcomes include:
- Analysing BIM adoption challenges through a comprehensive review of local and global case studies across multiple sectors, has identified enablers for using BIM to integrate design and construction data into a cohesive asset management system
- An approach to progress the use of Level 2 BIM for remote regional government housing to support more proactive and efficient maintenance
- Advice and guidance regarding government’s role in mandating the use of BIM for its facilities
- An image processing tool to generate an inventory of road line markings from video files. The tool includes an algorithm that identifies marking types and wear and tear, to help generate a comprehensive maintenance program
- A lifecycle costing analysis tool for evaluating road widening options supporting population growth and economic development. It balances the benefits of safer roads with consideration of agency, road user, and social and environmental costs
The project team is engaging internationally having participated in two International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB) Commissions — namely, W070-Facilities Management and Maintenance and W078-Information Technology for Construction. The team is also exploring the opportunity of researchers from Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) to collaborate on the water module.
Valuable industry leadership from Stephen Golding AM RFD
The Project Steering Group has been chaired by Stephen Golding AM RFD since its inception in 2018. Stephen brings a wide range of valuable asset management experience across roads, sea ports and water facilities.
With a civil engineering career that commenced in 1967 with the Main Roads Department in Queensland, Stephen rose through the management structure, in both operational and specialist areas. His career culminated with his appointment as Director-General from 2000-05. He has since held board appointments with a number of port authorities, Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) companies, water authorities, and the Queensland Reconstruction Authority.
Stephen has been involved with the Centre since its predecessor, the CRC for Construction Innovation (CRCci), when the Department of Main Roads in Queensland became a core industry partner under his leadership. He has remained connected with this research over the years, before taking on his current role with SBEnrc. With the project scheduled for completion in March 2020, Stephen has agreed to chair the succeeding project Leveraging an Integrated Information Lifecycle Management Framework.
SBEnrc’s profile on the international stage has been raised significantly this year. We’re delighted to report that the connectivity with like-minded organisations around the world is stronger than ever. Our research and industry leaders are active in the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB), with leadership initiatives spanning across all Centre projects. The announcement earlier in the year of the appointment of our CEO, Dr Keith Hampson, to the role of CIB President for the next three years will help us deepen these connections.
Global partnerships help us maintain a level of international credibility and to leverage the research and investment of other jurisdictions — particularly in Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific. Growing international collaborations ensures continuing value for our Australian partners and the Australian industry.
We are excited that the 2022 CIB World Building Congress will be held in Melbourne in June 2022. Hosted by our partner RMIT University, the Congress will help to promote our industry research in Australia to research and industry organisations around the globe.
Online launch of building energy performance reports
Building energy efficiency is a cost-effective opportunity to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse emissions. However, there are growing concerns about a gap between predicted energy consumption levels in buildings and the measured energy consumption in operation, both at an individual building level as well as in the building sector as a whole. The energy performance gap has been identified as an important barrier in achieving building energy policy goals. Reports have identified that savings from key building efficiency policies, including building codes, need to be significantly discounted due to post-occupancy energy consumption being higher than what had been predicted by building energy performance models.
We are pleased to be partnering with the Australian Department of the Environment and Energy to launch two research reports about building energy performance:
A webinar launch will be held in late January 2020 and will include a summary of the reports, and a panel discussion and Q&A session. If you are keen to attend and gain some insight into the gap between design and reality of building energy performance, please register your interest here.
The themes that emerged from our National Industry Research Workshops in July have been fleshed out into six projects ready to be launched in 2020. SBEnrc researchers have been working alongside our industry partners to shape the new projects designed to positively impact housing, transport, infrastructure and sustainability.
This practical research would not be possible without the insights we gained from our National Industry Research Workshops. If you are interested in helping us identify future industry challenges and develop ideas for research at our future workshops, please get in touch.
Like a number of our senior research collaborators, Associate Professor Cheryl Desha has worked with the Centre since the days of our predecessor, the CRC for Construction Innovation (CRCci). She was introduced to the CRCci team as an early career researcher, after completing a PhD in rapid capacity building in 2010. The synergies between our respective areas of research were immediately obvious. At the time she undertook three projects in the SBEnrc’s inaugural Research Program 1: Environment: Energy performance of existing office buildings, The future of roads and Biophilic urbanism in Australia.
Cheryl went on to lead the creation of the civil engineering program at Griffith University’s Nathan campus. She is also leading the Digital Earth and Green Infrastructure theme within Griffith’s Cities Research Institute which is currently participating in SBEnrc’s Project 1.62 Sustainable Centres of Tomorrow: People and Place. In addition to her research portfolio, Cheryl’s current role at Griffith sees her building networks and connections that lead to real-world impacts on sustainable development.
Her work with SBEnrc, collaborating with industry to find solutions to complex issues, has been seminal in the shaping of Cheryl’s professional trajectory.
“The SBEnrc has enabled engagement with established networks of leaders, practitioners and academics, aligned in their commitment to making a difference – this provides great foundations for high-impact research”, she says. “I now have a much greater appreciation of how different systems in the built environment interconnect – from planning, procurement and design through to construction, asset management and maintenance. Putting everything together rather than thinking about things in isolated specialities is critical for enabling nature to be a part of our sustainable solutions – in, on and around our buildings and infrastructure.”
The enduring industry connections from those early days have been pivotal.
“We are working with organisations that we may not have interacted with for some time, but we are able to leverage our positive collaborations through the CRCci to reconnect now through SBEnrc”.
The theme of networks and connectivity has also informed Cheryl’s continuing research. She is now expanding her team’s research into using technology for affordable ‘remote immersive collaboration’, enabling improved networking, engagement, and problem solving that is also better for the planet.
CEO’s 2019 wrap-up
Everyone says it at this time of year, but it really is difficult to believe another 12 months has passed already. Although the time seems to have flown, 2019 has been extraordinarily successful for the Centre. Our teams have made huge advances towards completing our five current industry-driven projects:
This year has seen the most significant partner funding of any of our portfolio of projects to date. This level of support clearly demonstrates the connectivity between our research and industry through our partners’ investment and participation in projects. It’s most gratifying to have the confidence of industry so clearly articulated and the value of our research validated through this collaboration.
Our model of Centre-themed core projects, developed in collaboration with our industry partners, continued with our successful National Industry Research Workshops in July. Our teams are excited about the six new projects commencing in April 2020.
It is with the energy of these successes setting the tone for 2020 that we are winding down for the year. On behalf of Australia’s Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre, I wish you the very best for a happy and safe festive season. I hope you have the opportunity to spend time with family and loved ones and take a well-deserved break. I personally thank you for your continued support and interest and look forward to working together in 2020.
Dr Keith Hampson, Chief Executive Officer
Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre
Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia
Our challenge is to continue growing the value and impact of our applied research more deeply and broadly across Australia. The Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre (SBEnrc) is acknowledged as an excellent example of a CRC that has graduated into an independent organisation delivering unique industry, government and research collaboration.
Dr Keith Hampson
John V. McCarthy AO