Construction Innovation and Research Initiative (CIRI)

Construction is the world’s largest industry and its efficiency is of obvious importance. The UNSW School of Civil and Environmental Engineering is a world resource centre for academic research in this field. The School’s Construction Innovation and Research Initiative (CIRI) is engaged in industrial research on major construction projects in the region and has research partnerships with some of the industry’s most successful organisations.

construction sydneyThe aims of the Construction Innovation and Research Initiative are to:

  • train elite level professionals in the field through specially-designed undergraduate, Master’s and PhD programs in construction engineering and management,
  • work on theoretical and practical research projects that will advance the current practice of the construction industry,
  • create a culture of creative curiosity in a new generation of construction professionals,
  • operate world-class research laboratories, including an automation laboratory, sustainable materials laboratory and sustainable design studio, and
  • offer independent expert consultancies to address critical issues in various areas, such as resource management and information technology in construction.

CIRI’s research benefits from the ‘laboratory’ provided by its close relationship to industry, as well as the state-of-the-art research laboratories in the UNSW School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Research themes

CIRI undertakes basic and applied research in four broad areas:

The Sustainable Construction Program provides research and consulting services focused on achieving a balance between the economic, environmental and social impacts of construction. We develop methods and tools for the assessment of sustainability in construction with a life cycle perspective, sustainability reporting, multi-objective optimisation of construction operations to improve sustainability, management of construction and demolition waste, and automation in control of construction equipment and operations to reduce wastage of resources. In addition, the Sustainable Construction Program focuses on developing design procedures and guidelines for sustainability.

The Construction Automation Program aims at enhancing the level of project management through developing and adopting advanced information and automation technologies. The Program researches the development of automated machine control and guidance, real-time field sensing and operations monitoring, construction materials tracking and proactive safety management. Strengths include automated surveying and tunnel-boring machine (TBM) guidance in tunnel construction.

The Sustainable Materials Program aims at improving the life cycle sustainability of buildings and infrastructures through enhancing the performance (mechanical and durability properties) of materials. This Program focuses on developing high-performance and ultra high-performance materials, eco-materials and smart materials for sustainable infrastructures and buildings.

The Engineering and Construction Management Program provides teaching, research and consulting services in a broad range of fundamental management topics in construction, including construction business insolvency, contracts, disputes, delivery methods, financial options, planning, and supply chain management.

CIRI’s success is underpinned by a unique group of faculty within the UNSW School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, with cross-disciplinary competencies unique in present Australia.

Members of the Construction Innovation and Research Initiative include:

More information

Convenor: Professor David Carmichael