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Asset management tool for damp control in residential buildings


School of Built Environment, Engineering and Computing

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Dr D Glew No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Start Date: 1st October 2020

The PhD studentship will have a £15,285 per annum (pro-rata into 12 monthly payments) plus EU/UK fees paid for a period of three years. The closing date for the applications is midnight on 18th September 2020.

The Leeds Sustainability Institute (LSI) in the School of Built Environment, Engineering and Computing at Leeds Beckett University is looking to recruit a highly motivated data analysis engineer to work and conduct industrial research with the Sustainable Energy Efficiency and Policy Research Group, Property Care Association (PCA) and the damp and mould group from Chorus Homes part of Places for People (PfP) Housing Association, two of our project partners.

The full time fully funded Doctoral Studentship will have doctoral fees paid for a period of 36 months (+ 12 months write-up period), and annual stipend of £15,285 per year. This is a unique opportunity for the right candidate to complete a PhD whilst working in partnership with a trade body specialist in damp in residential buildings and one of the largest housing associations in the UK. The doctorate will work in the development and validation of a management tool to achieve the most appropriate and cost-effective solutions to moisture imbalance in dwellings. This research will aim to identify the most appropriate solutions and quantify the benefits from finding better ways to treat current damp issues and to help plan the investment strategy to avoid future mould and moisture problems across the housing association PfP national estate.

To support our business collaborative applied research work, we are seeking a dynamic, flexible, proactive data analyst engineer to manage and lead the project with the ability to further develop, expand our work, and conduct high impact doctoral research. The role will have three distinct complementary elements: (i) Environmental monitoring and moisture imbalance diagnosis; (ii) Analysis and modelling data from building and condition surveys held in the housing association’s asset management software, Keystone, isolating the causal factors and reference to property type, location, orientation, number of occupants, etc; inspecting, cleansing, transforming and modeling data with the goal of discovering useful information; (iii) cost-benefit analysis for both the building owner and customers living in the homes, informing conclusions and supporting decision-making.

The developed asset management tool will help to reduce mould by pinpointing correct solutions to an identified moisture imbalance in typical property types within the current estate. It is expected this will be able to identify suitable options from which to choose the most appropriate solutions. Pre and post installation assessment and household energy use changes will further inform the choice of solution, making decisions more scientific and objective, helping businesses operate more effectively.

The project aims to look into the following research areas:

• Create a tool to identify/match correct solutions that can be rolled out as part of the annual investment programmes depending on the environmental diagnosis and building surveys assessment, e.g. property type, occupier, etc.
• Investigate the effectiveness of the various solutions in resolving the specific moisture imbalance, e.g. does it work for that problem? Cost-benefit analyses, installation cost, cost in use, installation quality control, ease of living with noise, feeling cold or draughts, exaggerated temperature fluctuations, etc.
• Consider energy use and optimise savings / carbon reduction in the determination of the proposed solutions, energy efficiency measures and calculations, considering different types of ventilation, insulation, heating systems, installation and running costs of different units, modeling, big data analysis, machine learning, digital twin, etc.
• Use the management tool to model home internal environment imbalances, informing responsive strategy, capital expenditure forecast and customer first interaction across the national estate.

Candidates are encouraged to contact Dr David Glew at [Email Address Removed] to informally discuss their potential application or research ideas.

How to apply

Candidates should complete the online application form (https://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/the-graduate-school/research-degrees-at-leeds-beckett/how-to-apply/) including:
a. A brief CV (no more than 2 pages)
b. A 2-page outline of how you would approach the research project described above, including background literature, aims, objectives and a research plan using type Arial 12 font
c. Applicants are asked to include at the start of the proposal the research project title.
d. Applicants should use the research project reference (PCA- HA) as the subject in the email subject line when submitting their applications.

The criteria listed below will be used in both selecting those applicants who will be called for interview
a. Eligible candidates will typically have obtained a Masters degree with at least Upper Second Class or a First Class BSc with Honours in any of the following disciplines:
Building science, Architectural technology, Computer science, Mathematics, Physics
b. Candidates will have an interest in and experience of building physics, building performance evaluation and building performance simulation and modelling

Length of studentship

The PhD studentship is for a period of 3 years funded full time study plus 1 year un funded write-up period. Annual renewal will be subject to satisfactory progress

Funding Notes

Successful candidate will have a stipend of £15,285 payable monthly (amount conditional as offered) and exempt from UK Income Tax and National Insurance.

[[Overseas Applicants]]

Prospective students from outside of the UK and EU who wish to apply to study at Leeds Beckett University will be required to make up the difference annually between the UK/EU fees to be paid by the University of £14,000 and overseas’ fees of £4,407
The fee difference must be paid prior to starting. Overseas applicants must refer to the UKVI regulations on studying in the UK and contact [Email Address Removed] - telephone: +44 (0)113 812 5385 before submitting.
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