Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials (BRE CICM)

BaleHaus closeupThe BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials (BRE CICM) conducts leading research, development and consultancy in the field of innovative and sustainable construction materials and technologies.

The Centre is leading the way in researching solutions to the environmental impacts of construction and infrastructure. Developing the use of radical, low-carbon building materials and reinforcement technologies for the construction industry, the Centre is assisting in reducing the UK’s eco footprint - vital to mitigate the projected doubling of cement-based CO2 emissions by 2050.

Contact us

Director: Professor Pete Walker
Tel: +44 (0) 1225 386646
Twitter: @brecicm

See full BRE CICM team >>

Research activities

The research interests and activities of the Centre fall into the following broad definitions:

Key Projects


The BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials is leading EU FP7 project ECO-SEE in developing the use of eco-materials and photocatalytic coatings to improve the indoor air quality of modern carbon buildings. The consortium is comprised of 17 partners including universities, research institutions, large companies, and small & medium enterprises.

BaleHaus: prefabricated straw bale construction

BaleHaus is a project exploring the construction of homes using straw bale, an ideal material for environmentally friendly construction due to its renewable nature. A two-storey BaleHaus was constructed on campus using ‘ModCell’ – a system that utilises straw bale to form prefabricated panels. The BaleHaus was officially opened by Kevin McCloud in 2009.

EuroCell is a EASME Eco-Innovation funded project conducting research to support certification of modcell panels.

Building research park

The newly created Building Research Park is an open-to-the-elements facility located at Wroughton Airfield, sharing the site with the Science Museum, where they store a vast range of artifacts not currently on display. The park is host to the EPSRC-funded HIVE project, and offers the capability of full-scale research into building materials and systems using 16 re-configurable research buildings.

Artists' impression of the HIVE


The HIVE is an experimental building funded by the EPSRC (EP/K040391/1 and EP/L005689/1), and by the University of Bath. It is located in the Building Research Park at Wroughton Airfield. The HIVE offers a framework around which research projects can be constructed by RCUK researchers and others.


The BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials is leading an EU CIP Eco-Innovation project HEMPSEC (332972) in a project aimed at the introduction into the EU market of a prefabricated, pre-dried composite hemp-lime panel wall. This project is intended to make a significant contribution to the EU-wide carbon reduction targets. The consortium consists of six partners across three European countries.

Further details

Research students

  • Alastair Marsh
  • Amber Wismayer
  • Andrea Giampiccolo
  • Anna Chaliasou
  • Aurimas Bukauskas
  • Atif Hussain
  • Bengt Cousins-Jenvey
  • Carla florbela da Silva
  • Chee Beng Ong
  • Cong Zhang
  • Cristiano Figueiredo
  • David Muddle
  • Eliana Cortes
  • Fiona Gleed
  • Glavije Amirjamshidi
  • Graham Mustard
  • Joe Williams
  • Kaloyana Kostova
  • Kofi Abora
  • Linzhen Tan
  • Marta Leskard
  • Mohamed Alazhari
  • Monika Brindley
  • Muzzamil Shakil
  • Naomi Deering
  • Neal Holcroft
  • Paul Westgate
  • Paulo Almeida Mendes
  • Puxi Huang
  • Rachel Coonan
  • Sarah Scannell
  • Stephen Davey
  • Vesna Raicic
  • Will Hawkins
  • Xunzhi Yin
  • Yadgar Tayfur
  • Yuanzhang Yang


We welcome graduates with a First Class or 2:1 Honours degree who wish to study for a PhD.

For University Research Scholarships, apply by 31 December for studies beginning in October the following year.

Further information on applying for research study can be found on our Graduate School website.

The centre has state-of-the-art facilities to support a wide range of research projects, including:

  • Purpose-built structures laboratory
  • Geotechnical laboratory
  • Rammed Earth and ‘eco' materials research laboratory
  • Concrete preparation laboratory
  • Fluids laboratory
  • Timber preparation and timber research laboratory
  • Environmental chambers
  • Thermal conductivity testing
  • Analytical facilities including caloritometry, SEM, TGA, XRD
  • DVS
  • 3-Flex surface area analyser and porosimeter
  • Building Research Park
  • The HIVE

Many of our projects involve collaboration with industrial partners. We are currently working with:

  • Arup
  • Atkins
  • BRE
  • Buro Happold
  • Clayworks
  • Concrete Repairs Ltd
  • Engineers without borders
  • Expedition Engineering
  • Fraunhofer
  • Tony Gee and partners
  • Ibstock Brick
  • Integral Engineering Design
  • Institution of Civil Engineers
  • Institution of Structural Engineers
  • Lafarge
  • Lhoist Research and Development
  • Lime Technology Ltd
  • ModCell Ltd
  • Mouchel
  • Network Rail
  • Odgers Conservation
  • Parsons Brinkerhoff
  • Ramboll
  • Rotafix Ltd
  • Singleton Birch
  • Technalia
  • Ty-Mawr Lime
  • White Design Associates.

We welcome new approaches from organisations seeking to develop work on innovative construction materials.