The Centre for Infrastructure Management which is a part of the Materials and Engineering Research Institute has a strong track record and reputation in the field of infrastructure management and development. Our aim is to apply that range of knowledge to deliver client focused and practical everyday solutions.
We work in conjunction with local authorities, consulting companies, contractors, highways agency and material suppliers.
The expertise of the core team includes specialists operating in the key areas of infrastructure, construction and maintenance. The Centre also operates with other related units in areas such as materials research and analysis, architecture, engineering, electronics, IT systems and renewable energy.
Support is provided by state of the art laboratory and workshop facilities.
Our Services Include
• Independent expert services
• Technical expertise
• Product development
• Materials and recycling solutions
• PFI and PPP
• Post Occupancy Evaluation
• Insulation testing
Independent Expert Services
• Independent reports on all construction related matters
• Feasibility studies
• Structure condition assessment and fault diagnosis
• PFI / PPP audits of best practice
• Post occupancy evaluations
• Evaluating and testing the comparative thermal performance of reflective and multifoil insulation materials
• Admixtures, repair mortars, inhibitors
• Novel coatings
• Durable and heritage materials
Recycled Waste to New Materials
New materials and products from recycled waste
• Construction materials from recycled waste using a cement free process
Infrastructure management systems
• Facilities management systems
• Bridge & structure maintenance and repair systems
• R&D of novel solutions to industrial problems
• Concept generation
• Novel pipe couplings
• Accelerated concrete curing technology
• Corrosion prevention systems
• Retaining walls etc.
• Paving works
• Structural appraisals, repair and maintenance methods
Expert management systems (including risk mitigation)
• Infrastructure management systems
• Bridge management systems
• Facilities management systems
Research, development and testing of novel and standard materials, e.g. concrete, fibre reinforced composites, cement/pvc mixtures, masonry, bitumen, new non-cement materials, recycled waste materials, sustainable construction materials and life cycle analysis.
Diagnosis and Remediation Strategies
Condition monitoring, inspection and surveys of infrastructure, e.g. buildings, heritage structures, bridges, underground systems water retaining structures. Corrosion of reinforced concrete and steel framed infrastructure including remediation techniques such as cathodic protection, realkalisation, corrosion inhibitors. Developments in novel monitoring systems, e.g. optical fibre sensors.
Structural Design and Stress Analysis
Design and analysis of new-build, repaired and renovated structures (reinforced concrete and steel). Reliability analysis of bridges. Design and advanced stress analysis of novel pipe coupling systems developed for water, gas and oil.
Numerical and Finite Element Analysis
Life Cycle Asset Management
Modelling of long-term deterioration processes in reinforced concrete, e.g. predictions of chloride diffusion, corrosion initiation, corrosion propagation rate, structural behaviour and residual strength of corroding reinforced concrete structures. Development of expert systems for bridge management and for building maintenance leading to cost effective, low risk solutions. Expert advice on repair and maintenance of infrastructures. Independent investigations of PFI assets.
The Centre for Infrastructure Management has access to extensive specialist facilities for the production and testing of structural materials. These include dedicated concrete and bituminous material laboratories, advanced analytical services, sensor manufacture and testing and full IT support.
From destructive testing of full-sized structural elements to elemental analysis at the nanometre level, the Centre can provide the environment, equipment and personnel to provide whatever level of service is required. The workshops are able to produce test samples and prototypes in standard or novel materials and in most cases design, manufacture, testing, analysis and reporting can be carried out within one convenient and secure location.
As part of Sheffield Hallam University, the Centre is also able to provide facilities for meetings and seminars of virtually any size, including accommodation and catering
The Centre for Infrastructure Management has a strong track record in research. Major research projects have been funded by, for example, the DoE, EPSRC, BRE, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, Department of Transport and the Commission for European Communities.
Opportunities exist to study for a higher degree with the Centre. Excellent research facilities, supported by specialist expertise, are available to candidates wishing to enrol for an MPhil or PhD.
Repair, maintenance and management of reinforced concrete infrastructure, concrete technology, cement composites, highway materials, masonry and optical sensors are just some of the areas available for research.
The Centre is always willing to discuss new research ideas.
The Centre for Infrastructure Management provides R&D expertise to industry (especially SMEs) to develop innovative and novel products which enable the companies to maintain a lead market position. The Centre also provides a rigorous project management and business planning expertise to support the development and commercialisation stage of a project. It has a significant track record of developing novel products in recent years, examples are:
• A Cam Driven Coupling System for pressurised pipelines developed in collaboration with an SME. The system has been patented internationally and is in its commercialisation stage.
• An innovative Restraining Joint System for steel pipes developed for a major utility company.
• Optimisation of a jacking pipe coupling system developed for an SME.
• Hi tech, low voltage (e.g. 24v) versatile thermal system developed with an SME for construction applications e.g. accelerated curing system for concrete, winter concreting and de-icing applications for bridge decks.
• Optimisation of corrosion prevention systems being developed in collaboration with a leading professional practice through a Royal Society Industry Fellowship award.
• An accelerated test for chloride diffusion in concrete, for industrial use, being developed in collaboration with a large professional practice.
• An Expert System for optimum repair of bridge infrastructure, developed in collaboration with a software producer SME.
• A bridge management expert system developed in collaboration with a software producer SME.
Materials and Recycling Solutions
The Centre for Infrastructure Management has been engaged in R&D to develop sustainable materials for the construction industry for many years. The R&D has been conducted in collaboration with industrial partners in the UK and across the EU with funding provided by industry, Government departments and the EC. In addition, commissions have been undertaken from companies to provide independent assessments and advice. Work is currently in progress to commercialise the outputs of the R&D activity.
• EnviroMat project which, in association with industry and the public sector, is developing construction products that are based predominantly on industrial waste materials utilising a cement free process.
• Optimum utilisation of the waste products of the dry and semi-dry process of flue gas desulpherisation, which is used in the power plants of many EU countries, in construction materials.
• High performance materials derived from industrial waste gypsum produced by the FGD processes of the dry and semi-dry methods.
• Sustainable and durable (non bio-degradable) construction materials developed from reinforced earth using straw fibre reinforcement.
• Utilsation of incinerator waste in construction materials, to provide chemically stable composite materials.
• Repair material formulations and solutions for infrastructure (e.g. bridges) and for heritage structures.
• Assessment of Chemical Inhibitor formulations for the remediation of corroding reinforced concrete infrastructure.
PFI and PPP
CIM has substantial experience in this growing capital project procurement process.
The requirement for a public body to procure building works with the minimum of specification detail, whilst ensuring that the level of detail provided meets with due diligence requirements, has been very difficult to achieve. In some respects only time will tell whether the specification will deliver over the 25 or 30 years of the contract by this method.
It is accepted by all parties that specifications should reflect “fitness for purpose”, and it is in the interest of all parties that operational ease, aesthetics and longevity are routinely provided on future projects.
Projects undertaken by CIM have assisted in the audit of best practice provided, and the preparation of specifications, separating unrealistic aspirational requirements from practical solutions, whilst allowing input from the schools themselves.
Post Occupancy Evaluation
Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) is a method which provides a view of the occupants’ appraisal of the building and assesses how well the building matches the users' requirements. POEs are normally conducted a year after the building has been in use.
In a POE, information is gathered either by via a questionnaire or through informal interviews and unobtrusive surveys. This allows the evaluator to determine which areas of the building works well and which areas require closer attention in the future. Fitness-for-purpose is also monitored in the survey. The results of the evaluation allow the designers to enhance future performance through a better understanding of how plans are translated into reality.
In the absence of a standard thermal conductivity test for thermo reflective insulants, CIM are able to evaluate and test the comparative thermal performance of reflective and multifoil insulations.
Custom built roof spaces are insulated with both conventional glasswool and thermo reflective insulants and exposed to simulated winter temperatures over a period of time in a temperature controlled climatic chamber. The power consumed in order to maintain a thermostatically set internal temperature is recorded.
The heat distribution within the roofs is also monitored via strategically placed thermocouples to gain an understanding of the efficiency of the insulants for space heating.
The power consumed in the thermo reflective insulated roof within the monitoring period is compared to that in the glasswool insulated roof to enable a comparative performance to be obtained.