THE TECHNOLOGY LABORATORY
The well equipped modern laboratory facilities at Oxford Brookes University have been developed to support a wide range of testing and development needs for industry and research.
The laboratory is equipped to undertake a variety of structural and building physics testing. It includes a range of permanent test rigs alongside bespoke apparatus configured for individual projects.
Building physics testing includes airtightness of envelopes and thermal performance assessment under carefully controlled conditions.
Structural testing capabilities range from the assessment of mechanical properties of small materials samples to performance appraisal of cladding elements, major structural sections, composites and full scale building assemblies such as storey height panels and trusses. The latest state-of-the-art control systems ensure reliable incremental loading and unloading coupled with accurate measurement and rapid data acquisition.
All test activities are supported by good quality recording and reporting and clients are invited to participate in and witness activities thus gaining first hand insight into the performance of their products.
Advanced software is used for dynamic thermal simulation of whole buildings using real weather data to determine projected heating/cooling loads, thermal comfort and daylighting performance. Individual building details can be analysed with the latest three dimensional conduction modelling software to evaluate heat flows (thermal bridging) and surface temperatures to assess surface condensation risk.
The group has capabilities in advanced computerbased structural analysis. These often inform the design of components and assemblies that are subsequently tested in the laboratory, and help project teams to accurately understand and optimise performance.
Building Monitoring and Review
The laboratory has a full inventory of equipment to carry out as-built thermal testing of buildings (co-heating tests) to establish fabric losses for comparison with design values and to diagnose reasons for any variance. Discreet ongoing monitoring equipment can be installed to provide detailed in-use energy data, linking to postoccupancy surveys. Thermographic studies of buildings using top-of-the-range thermal imaging cameras to identify areas of concern on the building envelope can also be undertaken by qualified staff.
Working in conjunction with the Low Carbon Building group, environmental performance and user satisfaction with buildings can be assessed using the latest techniques for post-occupancy evaluation.
Staff can guide clients through the processes from enquiry to award, identifying appropriate standards and procedures and, when necessary, liaising with the relevant external bodies on behalf of the client.
The group, often working with its partner organisations, has the ability and experience to assemble the resources required to carry out testing and analysis for certification and accreditation of building products, and for CE marking. Many of the resources are typically available within the laboratory or within the team. Special product specific testing may be configured to meet individual needs.