BRE Trust thematic research programmes

There are many challenges facing our built environment; the effects of an ageing population and increased demands on healthcare in the home, the inefficient building stock that we live and work in, and the ageing infrastructure that we rely on for light, heat and power to highlight just a few issues.

The BRE Trust’s thematic research programmes focus on key themes that will have a profound influence on the way we build and refurbish our environment and form communities of the future.

Low impact materials, products and processes

During 2009/10, 20 new research projects funded by BRE Trust were instigated under a three year £1.5 million thematic research programme focussing on low impact processes, materials and products. This wide ranging research aligned with government initiatives to reduce the impacts and costs of construction by supporting and facilitating innovation in the supply chain. Some of the key focus areas include sustainable shop-fitting, low impact roofing and the implications of using phase change materials in buildings. 

Future Cities

The BRE Trust Future Cities research programme was carried out between 2012 and 2015 with over 70 public and private partners. The collective value of these projects is over £30m. The research was carried out with involvement from 16 universities and 14 cities in the UK, European Union and Brazil. The thematic areas included health and wellbeing, infrastructure and energy; with projects often touching on more than one theme.

View the findings of this three year programme in our publication Cities as systems - BRE Solutions for urban environments.


Resilient Built Environment

In April 2015 the BRE Trust launched a Resilient Built Environment themed research programme, with a focus on climate resilience. Earlier research and consultations have highlighted three major climatic impacts with associated gaps in existing knowledge – flooding, wind and overheating – which are the priority areas for this programme.

The research is closely aligned with the work of the BRE Centre for Resilience, created in 2014 to address adverse weather effects, as well as social, security and disaster issues. The BRE University Centres of Excellence are an integral part of the Centre and are fully integrated into the programme.

The programme began in April 2015 with five initial projects on:

  • Flood resilient homes – repair standards.  A project to develop appropriate standards for flood resilient repairs, and technical guidance to help contractors deliver cost-effective measures.
  • Wind loading on buildings.  More that 90% of building wind damage occurs at wind speeds below the basic design wind pressure – this project will address this serious performance gap.
  • Tackling overheating in urban dwellings. This project will provide vital guidance and information based on hard scientific data, including a detailed review of the potential risk of flats to overheat.
  • Resilience to natural disasters.  Builds on the successful BRE Trust and IFRC (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) funded work to develop the QSAND Tool for post disaster reconstruction/redevelopment projects.
  • Community resilience. This will be a precursor to a wider project which is in preparation to develop a tool for assessing and managing resilience at a community level.