Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

Professor Richard Harris

Contact details

Tel: +44 (0) 7545 371732

Professor Richard Harris



Richard Harris retired from the Department in January 2016 and is an Honorary Professor of the University of Bath, He is a chartered engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Structural Engineers, the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Institution of Materials, Minerals and Mining. His specialist area of work is Timber Engineering, particularly in relation to the design and construction of timber structures.


His current and recent research include:

  • Timber gridshell structures
  • Tall timber buildings – the response of tall timber buildings under wind load
  • Structural properties of UK timber – Characterisation of the relationship between wood anatomy and structural properties for Douglas-fir grown in S W England
  • Traditinal joints in timber – the engineering properties of traditional joints
  • Timber: Concrete composites – The structural behaviour of thin-toppingtimber/cementitious’ topping composites
  • FRP dowels in connection is timber - metal-free connections for timber
  • Bonded rods – industrial research

Between 2011 and 2015, Richard chaired the European network COST Action FP1004, which brought together researchers from institutions in twenty-six European countries as well as Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The objectives related to enhancing the mechanical properties of timber, engineered wood products and timber structures. Publications from the COST Action are available at

Before joining the University of Bath in 2009, Richard was a Technical Director with Buro Happold Consulting Engineers. In his twenty-five years with Buro Happold he led structural engineering design teams, working on a range of structures in differing sectors and using differing construction methods and materials.

With Buro Happold, Richard led a team of engineers in the design of structures in differing sectors, using various construction methods and materials. In his specialist field of Timber Engineering, he was responsible for a wide range of timber engineering projects, several of which won awards. These include:

  • The Globe Theatre (Carpenters Award 1998)
  • The Downland Gridshell, (The Wood Awards Gold Award 2003)
  • The Savill Building (The Wood Awards Gold Award 2006)
  • The Institution of Structural Engineers Supreme Award 2007 (for the Savill Building).
  • The IStructE Derrington Award in 2003
  • The ICE Bill Curtin Medal in 2004
  • The IStructE Murray Buxton Diploma in 2005
  • The IStructE Oscar Faber Diploma 2008.