Civil Engineering and Construction

The Civil Engineering theme has an interdisciplinary team of engineers, geologists, hydrologists, materials scientists and computer technology scientists. Its research funding is widely based, with grants being obtained from industry, Research Councils and the government.

This combination has brought with it a culture where industry and academia can work together to optimise design and practice in civil engineering and construction for its cost-effectiveness, whilst allowing flexibility for radical innovation and sustainable development.

Research themes

Research is organised under three main headings:

Structures and materials

  • Concrete and masonry technology
  • Concrete construction
  • Sustainable construction materials
  • Structural analysis and design

Ground and water engineering

  • Engineering geology and geomorphology: landslide science
  • Natural hazards and risk analysis
  • Foundations and highways
  • Hydraulic structures

Construction methods and management

  • Design and construction process and quality management
  • Sustainable/environmental assessment tools for buildings
  • Building Information Modelling (BIM) in interdisciplinary practices
  • Professionalism in digitally-mediated projects

Much of the current research within this theme is focused on the development of new sustainable construction materials and the structural properties and applications of other types of materials and material combinations.

One small group working on interdisciplinary research into landslides, slope instability and associated hazards across the geomorphology - engineering geology - geotechnical engineering spectrum. Other current research includes earthquake engineering, forensic geotechnics, fire safety in construction and developing creativity in civil engineering students.

Recent projects

Geotechnical behaviour of peat in a natural landslide

Principal Investigator: Dr Alan Dykes
Co-investigator: Dr Michael Long (University College Dublin)

This project is for the first time comparing and integrating different approaches to the determination of peat strength in an attempt to establish feasible and reliable methods for (in particular) the onshore windfarm industry to use instead of the standard but demonstrably inappropriate field shear vane. The research is focusing on experimental laboratory testing of samples obtained from a peat slide in Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, as well as utilising field observations and in-situ geophysics investigations.

Rate effects on the measured residual shear strength of London clay

Principal Investigator: Dr Karen Clarke
Co-Investigators: Dr Alan Dykes, Professor Edward Bromhead (Geotechnical Engineering Consultant)

This project is exploring hypothesised but previously undemonstrated effects of different shear rates on the measured residual shear strength of clay obtained from tests undertaken using a standard ring shear apparatus. The findings are expected to have implications for the understanding and management of existing landslides in southern England and for the assessment of future landslide risks under the influence of climate change.

Contact us

For general enquiries, please contact the Theme Leader, Dr Ted Donchev, or the Research Centre Director, Dr Alan Dykes.