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#1773: 22/05/2015: TGR Steering Group Meeting in Bristol

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Academic comment on university students coursework submissions

Academic comment on university students coursework submissions

Academic Comment on Coursework submissions

Legend used in word file to each student

Information content and order:

Ensure that the work responds to the brief.

Analyse the site and the buildings within and around the site

  • Many of the site analysis diagrams do not explain themselves, despite the interpretation you provide
  • Charts without words to explain themselves are a waste of paper space
  • Charts that do not show the building or even resemble the building could have been taken from anywhere else and are of no value unless explained
  • Site plan with angled grid of lines gives no clue about what on the site determined the angle adopted, if anything
  • Is there a desire line?
  • Analyse the site, then show your response to it, or it just looks like post rationalization for a design that popped out of your head from no where, or copied from some where else
  • Is the municipal waste segregation site on the same site? How do the students get there materials? How does the LA choose what to supply to the students?
  • Site geography: Good scaling down maps to the site but where is the site on the borough map?
  • This and other pages should come earlier in the document.
  • You have described details of the surround area but not shown them on the maps nor illustrated them
  • Eventually London City Airport? But it already exists!
  • What did you learn from the geology, that informs the project?
  • Site Topology: Is there a flood risk here?
  • I still don’t know where the Silo is
  • The royal docks map: not a single word on the map to locate the text and still no site indicated
  • Site Weather: Is Heathow relevant enough what about London City Airport?
  • Site Solar Access: I still cannot see the site indicated.  I think the view of the model is orientated incorrectly compared with the map, no mention of elevated train and if it overshadows the site.
  • Site Resources: only considered solar thermal and shows its plumbing not the site
  • Rainwater harvesting: it’s another shame there is no schematic showing the proposals in the text and watering the flowers or landscape on the site
  • The 2nd in line filter also needs a drain
  • Why two systems of water supply to WCs you could use rainwater for landscape irrigation
  • Is there a basement if so is there a flood risk here?
  • Your analysis of the site goes from satellite image to plot, without ever showing the location of the site, its orientation its surrounding context or N point.
  • You mention the Thames river, normally know as River Thames or Thames Estuary
  • You do not mention how far it is
  • The Thames is tidal so the site is both Urban and Marine atmosphere, how will that affect your proposal?

Building Use or Programme

  • Your procession is well considered, but I think the people may come as much for the fun experience of the space and may not spend as much, too many cashiers for a slow process through the cocoons?
  • How is the software displayed?
  • How is the hardware displayed? How is it supported?
  • Where is the site entrance?
  • Where is the building entrance?
  • Where is the recyclate delivery?
  • You make no use of the dock as a materials access point?
  • You make no use of the dock side for interesting viewing for visitors and students at lunch break
  • You make no use of the dock side for display of sculptures made by the students
  • Your building appears to block a path along the dockside
  • Is there a reason for spreading the building so wide across the site?
  • The exploded view of the building without circulation route is unhelpful, that comes on page 20 and in isolation
  • The schedule of performance requirements is welcome but simplistic, incomplete and inadequate
  • E.g. An unheated library or office will not be used in winter
  • E.g. A lecture theatre can become excessively warm and humid any time of year
  • If you made the whole building Passivhaus then you have a starting point for an inhabitable building and passive or mechanical systems can make the extreme conditions livable.
  • Passivhaus requires mechanical ventilation with heat recovery not natural ventilation or nat vent in summer
  • Computers and machinery may need cooling all year
  • Computers can be low energy but most do not make low energy computers try IAMECO irish company that makes computers that are low energy, modular, maintainable, adaptable, fixable, which is potentially part of the culture of your project.
  • Section through the auditorium: upper level seating front rows cannot see the speaker

Stealing from adjacent land and buildings

  • Stealing space and trespass under existing buildings and sites, means you made a bad site choice, inadequate for the purpose, but is now potentially possible because the incumbent government has changed the ancient law to permit fraking under your house
  • Your building appears to make an adjacent building’s external wall with windows into an internal wall what happen to the occupants of the building?
  • Stealing support from the existing building would need to be investigated to determine its capacity to support the loads and the dynamic stresses.
  • Consider lighter than air gases to inflate and reduce the load, but be cautious of creating lighter than air cocoons which may result in different stresses on the existing structure

Solar shading studies
  • Thermal Efficiency: Heal loss and heat gain: I have finally worked out where the site is, without your help!
  • Now would be a good time to show the building not just the circulation routes (not movement patterns)
  • We could see the relative positions of rooms and circulation and windows and rooflights (if any)
  • Spelling: has, glazed,
  • Section is not orientated so no interpretation can be done.
  • No information on method of construction, types of insulation, Surface materials, thermal mass and decrement delay so I cannot judge what you know or how you have responded to the heat gain or loss
  • Solar access was excellent until you added the tall trees on the south side of the building
  • The solar exposure diagrams suggest the direction of the sun but your PV panels appear to point in the wrong direction.

Below Ground

Non UK Projects

Analyse you building use(s) and the conditions required for it/them and the conditions created by it/them.

Describe your existing building: (if you do not know, state your assumptions)



Repeat and modify the exercise for proposed modification

Repeat and modify the exercise for proposed buildings

Repeat and modify the exercise for existing case studies:

The Food retail Eco Store case study

Visitors Centre Case Study

Drawing content

  • Don’t waste paper space resulting in small text, fill the page
  • If you have plenty of room make the font bigger so its readable on a laptop and when hung on the wall
  • If you add a colour legend make sure the colours match in the legend and the diagram and explain the illustration
  • Change the scale to see the building not the surrounding when explaining the components of the facade
  • If you add number legends and then put the numbers outside of the diagrams add lines to connect the parts
  • Add the scale to the drawings, show furniture or people to give scale
  • Escape tubes and landings need to be considered and their impact on circulation
  • Do escape tubes offer an opportunity to avoid the cashiers or are they for the non-buyers?
  • ETFE Pillows with U value 1.5 is not great, triple glazing can achieve 0.5
  • Adding blanket of Nano gel (do you mean Aerogels?) will improve U value but how is that done?
  • Using USA sourced information with imperial data needs translation to metric
  • Make sure the images of the building are light enough to see the drawing and its detail

Thermal break and airtightness

  • Airtightness could have been addresses at building level and performance levels since you have opted for Passivhaus in you building performance schedule
  • This would need you to consider services penetrations too.
  • You have shown two methods of construction, which are you using and why?
  • The void in the floor in the wall thickness could have been insulated too, instead you created a thermal bridge
  • The depending upon the insulation materials in the timber frame zone the vapour barrier could have been an air tightness layer too 

Thermal Mass

  • Masonry has thermal mass, timber frame does not,
  • Wrong choice of insulation in timber frame roofs and walls can lead to solar overheating
  • Insulation exhibiting decrement delay characteristics can prevent solar gains entering through the walls and roof
  • Internal linings need to be dense to offer thermal mass to lightweight timber frame construction to absorb solar gains that entered via windows doors and roof lights
  • Surrounding soil around basements or buried buildings offer some thermal mass

Decrement delay

  • What have to learned and applied to this proposal

Materials Schedule (Outline Specification)

  • Not present, only three materials listed
  • The building is an opportunity to show salvage, reclaim, reuse, recycling, recovery to a much greater extent than this uninspired set of materials, internal linings and furniture could be from the many recycled materials glass and plastics and paper pulp, cardboard and bank notes, resin, etc.
  • Reclaiming oak shingles unlikely, leave them on the existing building, (not shown on your details)
  • A basement has no external cladding
  • Sleepers are big section you need to show this unusual cladding, cladding could be scaffold boards or shipping containers
  • A basement structure is unlikely to be timber frame
  • Basement floor: has a cavity, please show it,
  • Floor: Concrete could have been improved with by-products GGBS or PFA, secondary or recycled aggregate or recycled concrete aggregate
  • Floor: could be reclaimed hardwood or scaffold boards,
  • Roof: No waterproofing mentioned,
  • Roof: Sedum often inadequate as solar protection and often poor for biodiversity
  • Roof terrace: what paving?
  • Landscape: what materials?
  • Reclaimed granite kerbs as pavement?
  • Recycled glass as paving bedding
  • Compost from waste in soil 

Layout and text


  • You show mono-pitch in your building and pitched roof in your construction drawings
  • You say shingles and show tiles
  • Redraw information to be correct for your project and lean about construction in the process
  • No railways sleeper cladding
  • No timber frame basement walls!
  • Eaves detail has little or no relevance to your project
  • Passivhaus requires mechanical ventilation with heat recovery
  • Positive pressure Mechanical Ventilation system and pitch roof is not relevant to your project



  • The structure is achieved by inflatable skeleton, this needs to be rigid to create a place to work and concentrate on the sales, your description says it can cope with wind pressure, but not foot traffic, this will be a very wobbly place.
  • Your detail section shows a rigid frame around the perimeter of the pillows
  • Fans are used to raise inflatable roof buildings which need little structural rigidity, achieved by skin in tension, your structure needs to be much more rigid and probably needs to be permanently inflated with a high pressure top up mechanism probably from pressurized cylinders.
  • The noise of the fans may make sales talk impossible
  • The other half of the structure is the tension cables and connectors, these will need to be beautiful and need to explored and be detailed to show you have some knowledge of their ways and details
  • What is shown looks like picture hanging hooks for your house walls
  • Bends in cables shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the tensegrity (tension integrity) of these structures
  • On an dark overcast day the PV panels may not make enough electricity to turn the fans to inflate the structure
  • Your diagram says the CHS is geothermal: explain, there is an unconnected note further on
  • Your heat transfer is better done through large surface area not large volume
  • Ground sourced heat is low grade it is put through a heat pump to intensify it, your large diameter tubes will dilute the heat and leave nothing to warm the space
  • Does the structural frame absorb heat and move it around the building?

Building fabric

  • Show how its made and with what, all of it including nanogel
  • Copying very good marketing information or from good books is okay but you need to be critical too.
  • your application is more sever than an a rooflight.
  • Is there any offgassing?
  • Its still petrochemical, non-renuable, high embodied carbon
  • Is any nano coating/quit compatible with this highly durable ETFE?
  • ETFE has no thermal mass so cannot store it
  • What material is offering thermal mass for storing heat?
  • What is the wall section made of?
  • The section through the external wall and roof show little resemblance to the building except the steel frame
  • The columns are in the wall thickness on the plans creating thermal bridges
  • There are no walls like this section in the building it looks like its 100 % glazed
  • Perforated metal panels are not show on the section
  • Statement ‘store is characterized by high thermal mass, tight sealing and high levels or thermal insulation’ is not supported by the drawing on three counts.
  • Concrete is said to provide the thermal mass but there is no concrete in the floors in the section
  • Heavy weight walls are insulated internally so there is no thermal mass to exploit
  • The wall is described as wet plaster but there is no solid background to apply it to
  • The wall is described as 300 mm mineral fibre insulation (frame not mentioned) any solar gains will over heat the interior in minutes
  • Later you say sheeps wool, which is it and why
  • The wall is described as aluminium cladding and there is perforated aluminium screens but none is detailed
  • The wall is described but a different wall is illustrated
  • Steel floor cannot be exploited for thermal mass concrete can which are you using, there are three different descriotions 2 text and 1 drawing.
  • What reclaimed steel is used?
  • Where is the glass in the floor?
  • Internal wall will not lose heat, external wall will
  • Timber studs have less embodied energy and carbon, they are not less energy consuming
  • Aluminium can reflect light, there may be some aluminium in solar collectors, but that does not reduce embodied energy and will increase embodied carbon, 33% recycled will reduce embodied but 100% will be better
  • Glass also looses heat
  • Window 3 x glass has krypton it will not be U value 1.9 but 0.5 as noted later
  • GGBS is cement not concrete. Concrete has thermal mass
  • GGBS is available at most concrete mixing plants with 2 silos and delivered in mixer truck, e.g. north of kings cross
  • South facing glazing is shaded by the church


  • Show evidence that you have considered how they are distributed through the building and not just in the words
  • Show services in separate drawings so there is something that can be realistically be considered, assessed and criticised
  • 3D views of tangled services shows nothing
  • In plans: transformer rooms, plant rooms, cores, risers, lifts, Escalators, IT distribution
  • In sections: show structure and construction and show services in dedicated voids or expressed services
  • Show thermal insulation to services especially with long runs
  • Some services don’t like each other and need separation distances to be acknowledged
  • Buildings separated by long corridors force a high level of the manning of each building or very clever IT for communicating between rooms and another person to answer all the communications between departments.
  • On elevations: if expressed
  • Don’t show a detail from another project and then change completely how you use it in yours without some explanation of how your interpretation is supposed to work.
  • Electric under floor heating uses electricity as well as what?
  • You are designing the proposal so choose a location for the in fabric heating wall floor or ceiling
  • What is the white inner lining to the orange steel perimeter?
  • Diagrams which are large in area and small in detail tell very little their legends need to be more informative and self explanatory showing flows or liquids and flows of heat or coolth
  • Hot air rises cold air falls they usually swap places with each other
  • Every piece or display technology will use electricity and generate a great deal of heat
  • Every person will generate 100 Watt idle and many more Watts if active in physical or mental action games will there be a mechanical back up ventilation system?
  • People will generate heat and convection is the mechanism for its release not conduction
  • Does Microsoft have a policy of making low energy consumption equipment? No.
  • Do you have an IT solution to minimize heat generated?
  • Consider making this building for IAMECO computers from Ireland or EasyPC.
  • Is there any heat recovery opportunity? (if the solar studies reveal its heated by the sun)
  • You will need summer bypass on MVHR to avoid over heating?
  • Natural, passive ventilation and MVHR, which is it?
  • Will the MVHR be controlled to not be on when the glass wall is mechanically controlled to open?
  • When and why do you need underfloor heating when you have so much heat gain from sun and people?
  • If you have a lot of plant then show the plant room (not just a number on a plan) and show the plant in it.
  • Show services distribution ducts or risers
  • There are no staff kitchen or toilets on the plans, so why the solar heating of water, how water cylinders, etc.
  • HW Cylinders are not particularly expensive
  • How do you future proof a HW Cyclinder
  • Where is the Biomass fuel store?
  • How is the fuel store charged?
  • How will the Biomass fuel be sourced?  Where from?
  • By copying text from many sources and not reading them means you contradict yourself in different pages
  • You’re very good at describing the technology but not good at making the right choice, is it appropriate, not just green
  • You have just about every bit of ecobling and duplication of provision
  • 100% glazed façade, air conditioned office buildings are everywhere in the UK, so statement about summer cooling is incorrect.
  • Zoning of floors is necessary on big building or with different functions needing different conditions this is a house sized building and one use
  • The church overhang will stop half of the rain falling on the building, prevailing wind is stopped by the church, RWH is likely to be a waste of money
  • Fig 4.1 is not below, its too small and unreadable and not explained or applied.
  • On cold wet windy days can the cocoon be comfortable?
  • The statements about use of PV generated electricity is confusing and indicates a lack of understanding
  • PV can provide power during brownouts, blackouts occur at night and PV do not work in the night unless street lighting is very high
  • PVs are not normally portable, but can be dismantled and refixed on another building but you need them here
  • PVs have high embodied energy and some high embodied carbon see the ICE data
  • Did you consider Water Source Heat pump using the dock?
  • No consideration is given to passive systems, a noiseless well allows windows or vents to be opened
  • Statements about electricity demand and PV supply v mains contradict each other on different pages
  • There is no roof space
  • Show in the drawings what you have said in the text
  • Hundreds of A3 sized PVs is not the way to do it unless they are solar shingles
  • Use larger PV panels, point them at the sun.

Understand the principle to be able to use it

  • London is on the East of the country and relatively dry

Natural daylight

  • UV light transmission is good for plants, but you do not have any, but will fade the goods on show, if you have any


  • Is artificial lighting needed if so how?

Heat loss and heat gain

  • Heat exchange by conduction when people enter cocoon, needs explanation, I think you are wrong

Passive stack ventilation and atria:

  • Hot air rises in atria and draws air from floors to atria
  • Fresh air from perimeter windows or vents will replace the air on the floors

Double glass facades

Living Roofs

A living roof can be:


  • If planting is an essential part of the building conditioning then show its extent and how it works, how its irrigated and with what
  • See note above about Green roofs some is relevant to green planting
  • Planting absorbs carbon dioxide and emits oxygen

There is some evidence of wishful thinking even using ‘hopefully’ in the text.

Short life projects should consider short life materials,

High thermal mass materials are only beneficial if exploited. 

Bricks are reclaimable and reusable 

Structural steel can be reused in preference to recycling

Green-engineering is undefined

Mesh is not fire proof, the flames and smoke pass straight through it, but may be non-combustible.

Joints in concrete 

Gypsum Plaster and Gypsum Plasterboard

PV cells in glass facades

When most of the construction looks like insitu concrete


Double glazed windows

Thermal Insulation Choices

Please use the right words

GRC construction

Project comparisons

  • Unilever HQ uses passive ventilation unlike yours

Embodied energy and carbon calculations

  • Included but very few materials listed
  • Where is the corrosion protection and decoration of the steel
  • Where are the floor finishes, wall, ceiling, partitions, PVs, services

U Value and carbon in use calculations

  • Basement wall is external above ground so should be calculated as external wall temperature differences
  • Your basement wall consumption is too high compared to windows
  • External wall length is O m wrong
  • Window area is grossly underestimated
  • Window U value is 0.7 why not 1.9 or 0.5 as stated elsewhere?
  • ETFE U value 0.8 may need to be justified its only 2 layer not 3
  • Despite 0.8, 92% of heat loss through this element
  • Partitions lose no heat despite an earlier statement to the contrary
  • Roof is flat (with falls) not shallow
  • Good to see 4 studies
  • But this contradicts your room performance schedule
  • 10 am to 3 am use is not 8 hours in the calculations
  • 92% of heat loss though ETFE, does it not occur to you there is a better way to clad the building?

© NGS BrianSpecMan aka Brian Murphy
21st July 2013 - 10th July 2014

Academic comment on university students coursework submissions

Academic Comment on Student Coursework png

Academic comment on University Student's coursework submissions

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© NGS BrianSpecMan aka Brian Murphy
 - 24th July 2013 - 17th July 2014

Academic comment on university students coursework submissions
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© NGS BrianSpecMan aka Brian Murphy
24th July 2013 - 17th July 2014