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Project Title: A Critical Appraisal of International Rating Systems for Sustainable Housing: The Development of an Encompassing Property Assessment Tool

  • PhD Student: Daniel Watson
  • Supervisors: Dr Crina Oltean-Dumbrava, Faculty of Engineering and Informatics and Dr Liz Breen, Faculty of Management and Law


The focus of the research is to develop a means of assessing the accessibility criteria of domestic properties and develop recommendations for improving accessibility via refurbishment.

Emphasis is placed on an investigation into how different sectors, including housing, social and health can influence the development of an efficient and cohesive tool for achieving sustainable homes and housing options which are suitable and usable across all generations by means of refurbishment. The research also pays attention to the commercial/ financial implications of refurbishing property using the assessment tool as a means of improving property performance.


The main goal of the research detailed in this report is to use the test results of previous studies, including the latest work in the open literature, to produce a more accurate and reliable method for predicting RC slab punching shear capacity. The main objectives of the current research may be summarised as follows:

  • To develop a nonlinear ANN technique to predict the punching shear capacity of flat slabs reinforced with FRP.
  • To evaluate the accuracy of the equations in the design codes, namely CSA S806 (2012), ACI 440 (2006), and BS 8110 (1997), for punching shear strength of FRP two-way flat slabs.
  • To investigate the effect of different column shapes on punching shear.
  • To develop an analytical solution, based on the deformability concept, to predict punching shear strength.
  • To investigate BFRP reinforcement in the punching shear capacity of two-way flat slabs, where experimental results are assessed for accuracy.

Project Significance

Addressing the issue of the poor accessibility and overall sustainability of the current housing stock, coupled with the issue of the increasingly elderly population is becoming increasingly important not only due to the increasing number of the population struggling within their homes, but also due to the increasing pressures being placed on health and social budgets.

The research investigates the identification of a potential gap in the current legislation, building assessment methods and housing refurbishment standards. This is done by critically analysing current and developing standards and assessment methodologies within the current market place to ensure properties are assessed and refurbished to appropriate and sufficient standards from a sustainability and accessibility perspective, and to ensure these properties perform well against a well-considered and robust set of performance criteria.


The key outcome of the research project is the development of a thoroughly researched and robust property assessment tool which is to be taken advantage of by housing professionals to determine the overall accessibility and sustainability credentials of UK housing.


In order to achieve the identified objectives, an understanding of key stakeholder requirements with regards to accessible and sustainable housing provision is developed through carrying out empirical data collection and literature based research in this key area. The methodology considers the development of property performance criteria and benchmarking as a key component of the overall design of the property rating tool against which the accessibility of a property can be measured. The Delphi methodology has been selected in order to develop benchmarks and key criteria which have been thoroughly considered by relevant stakeholders.

Once an initial investigation has been undertaken via an extensive literature review and stakeholder assessment, the initial research element of the study develops the key property assessment criteria which ultimately leads to the development of the property assessment tool. This tool is to assess properties from a sustainability perspective and in particular from an accessibility perspective.


BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment 2010 Pilot Version, Lessons learnt from piloting BREEAM domestic refurbishment, (2011), Summerson, G. BRE Global Ltd.

Centre for Policy on Ageing, The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2011) "How can local authorities with less money support better outcomes for older people?" The Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Cole, R. (2005). Building environmental assessment methods: redefining intentions and roles. Building Research & Information, 33(5), 455-467.

Indian Green Building Council, 2010, 'Green SEZ Abridged Reference Guide', pilot version, 2010

US Green Building Council, 2010, ‘LEED for Homes rating System’, 2010

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