Integrated Sustainable Building Design Technician

Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Thursday, 22 August 2019
End of advertisement period
Tuesday, 3 September 2019
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Closing date 3 Sep 2019 23:00 (UK time)
Salary £26,243–£30,395 (Grade 6)
Location Edinburgh
Department School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure & Society, Institute of Sustainable Building Design
Category Technical
Status Full Time
Duration 36 months fixed-term

Organization Name

School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure & Society, Institute of Sustainable Building Design

About Heriot-Watt University

Heriot-Watt University has five campuses: three in the UK (Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and Orkney), one in Dubai and one in Malaysia. The University offers a highly distinctive range of degree programmes in the specialist areas of science, engineering, design, business and languages.

With a history dating back to 1821, Heriot-Watt University has established a reputation for world-class teaching and practical, leading-edge research, which has made it one of the top UK universities for business and industry. We connect with industry at every level and develop programmes to match their needs – so employers get work-ready industry-fit graduates.

Heriot-Watt is also Scotland's most international university, boasting the largest international student cohort.

We have an established set of values that help us to nurture innovation and leadership, and show our commitment to continuous improvement and development in all our activities.

For full details on our University please view our Careers at Heriot-Watt http://www.hw.ac.uk/about/careers-at-heriot-watt.htm

About our Team

The School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society is one of the UK’s leading institutions for multidisciplinary research and teaching in areas critical to economic development and societal equity. We aim to attain excellence in the teaching of the core disciplines that contribute to a sustainable, resource and energy efficient society and are committed to undertaking high value, high impact research and knowledge transfer in topics of relevance to global challenges.

The School enjoys facilities consistent with its location in modern, purpose-built accommodation on the Edinburgh campus. The School is well equipped in respect of laboratories for materials, structures, engineering, building services and hydraulics research and teaching. Our research and teaching facilities in Dubai and Malaysia are contained within purpose-built campuses in Dubai Academic City and Putrajaya, respectively.


The School’s undergraduate teaching on our Edinburgh campus covers civil and structural engineering, architectural engineering, construction project management, quantity surveying, geography, urban studies, interior design and the biology suite. On our Dubai campus we teach civil & structural engineering, architectural engineering, architecture, construction management, quantity surveying and interior design. On our Malaysia campus we teach civil engineering, construction project management, quantity surveying and petroleum engineering. We offer a high quality educational experience underpinned by practical and laboratory teaching, and informed by contact with professional practice. Most of our degree programmes hold the appropriate accreditation from the relevant professional body. This educational philosophy ensures excellent employment prospects for all of our graduates.

Programmes of postgraduate study are aligned to the expertise contained in each of our research institutes. Our postgraduate students therefore benefit from state-of-the-art knowledge in their chosen study area. You can find further information about the School’s postgraduate programmes at https://www.hw.ac.uk/schools/energy-geoscience-infrastructure-society/po...


The School is one of the leading research centres in the UK. It has sustained a high reputation for the international standing of its research over two decades.

Research within the School is organised into six Institutes: https://www.hw.ac.uk/schools/energy-geoscience-infrastructure-society/re...

  • Institute of Life and Earth Sciences (ILES)
  • The Urban Institute (TUI)
  • Institute of Petroleum Engineering (IPE)
  • Institute for Infrastructure and Environment (IIE)
  • Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design (CESBD)
  • Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Equalities Research (I-SPHERE)

All academic staff based on the Edinburgh and Dubai campuses contribute to the research activities of one of our Institutes.

These Institutes support a wide range of research activities of relevance to a sustainable, resource and energy efficient society. Institute staff undertake research funded by research councils, charitable foundations, local and national government. Research outcomes are published in leading international and national journals and key findings are widely disseminated through other media and forms of output.

Research Institute

The Institute of Sustainable Building Design (ISBD) is recognised internationally for its excellence in: architectural and building systems engineering; construction informatics, construction management; and building and interior design.

Our team conducts high-value, high-impact research and delivers innovative undergraduate and postgraduate training in a wide range of fields covering sustainability, design and management in the built environment. Particular areas of expertise include: building energy systems, acoustics, water and drainage, building simulation, low carbon innovations, construction informatics, building conservation, construction management, circular economy approaches, as well as innovation in built environment education. Our work aims to provide new insights into the current technical, social and management challenges facing the building industry. Our research outcomes help with informing policy makers and providing the knowledge and tools required by building professionals.

ISBD is a leading member of the School’s Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design that aims to develop and promote multi-disciplinary education for the sustainable built environment.

Further information about the broad range of exciting and innovative research ongoing at ISBD can be obtained at https://www.hw.ac.uk/schools/energy-geoscience-infrastructure-society/re....

Detailed Description

An exciting opportunity has arisen for an enthusiastic, dynamic and well-qualified technician to work on the industry funded “High Rise Building Drainage Air and Water Management, Phase I: Systems Characterisation and Model Development”. The research seeks to advance the science and engineering relating to air and water management systems (AWMS) in high rise buildings internationally, focusing on product characterisation and development, and system operational performance. This will be achieved by a combination of laboratory investigation, mathematical modelling and on-site validation which this will role will fully support and contribute to. Ultimately, the research programme will produce a comprehensive suite of newly developed computer models to expand current simulation capability. This will be critically dependent on high quality, precision engineering of custom made components which the applicant must be able to fabricate from stock material in our extensive workshops. Adaptation of proprietary components and application of sensing components to non-standard tasks will also be required.

The development of high-rise buildings is now at an unprecedented rate, with their number and scale rapidly and dramatically changing the landscape of global cities. The creation of these complex vertical communities poses major operational challenges for the systems relied upon for occupant safety and the responsible management of water resources. The growing need for vertical population distribution is pushing the limits of AWMS to the point where current design codes and system components are no longer suitable.

This 36-month full-time position is funded by our industry partner, Aliaxis, who is a global leader in sustainable and innovative solutions for AWMS in high rise buildings. The successful appointee will be a highly motivated technician with a strong background in mechanical engineering. You will be required to develop innovative solutions to engineering problems on components ranging in scale from millimetres to a few meters, and to very high tolerances. The appointee will also have to cooperate with external design agencies of the funder on product design and prototyping issues as well as the research staff, who will usually have competing advice and concerns on the generation of mechanical solutions to physical problems. Academic staff will be involved on a daily basis but it would be an additional advantage if the appointee was able to visualise the physical meaning of fluid mechanics descriptions of flow and pressure parameters when applied to physical conditions replicated in the laboratory. Integrating velocity and pressure sensors into test items in a way that meets the highly specialised requirements will be a common activity. Site working in the National Lift Tower in Northampton and in the funders’ seven storey laboratory in the Netherlands will require time spent on-site for periods of days or several weeks at a time. Technical support staff also work at these sites and the applicant will be required to coordinate their activities with those remote technical staff to harmonise sensing and data acquisition techniques across all three sites. The applicant will be required to integrate with and fully support the dynamic research team developing the technological solutions, by advising the researchers on alternative and innovative solutions to design and instrumentation issues as they arise on a frequent basis. A patient, resilient and determined approach will be essential because of the innovative nature of the work. Novel design solutions will be generated by the team on a regular basis and there will a requirement to work on solutions for which there is no existing track record to rely on for inspiration.

Key duties and responsibilities

The appointee will be responsible for the development of customised and modified off-the-shelf components related to mixed-phase fluid flow in plastic, glass and metal pipework up to 150mm diameter and many tens of meters in fully assembled length. Other tasks that the applicant will be involved with include setting up measurement equipment at different sites (Heriot-Watt, Northampton, and Panningen) and liaising with other technician specialists.

The successful appointee will be expected to undertake the following:

  • design, manufacture and assist in calibration of measurement techniques, methodologies, and equipment in a fluid mechanics / mechanical engineering setting based in a laboratory and on-site;
  • implement novel experimental procedures specified by the research team;
  • Work with the PI and research team on the implementation of sensing technology to laboratory and site equipment for the acquisition of research data;
  • Align instrumentation and equipment across all three sites (Heriot Watt, Northampton and Panningen);
  • Maintain regular contact with research partners and lead the communications team in order to ensure the project section of the University website is up to date;
  • Actively participate in the activities of the ISBD and the Water Research Group; contributing to material for publication and presentations;
  • Participate in Steering Panel meetings and presentations.

Please note that this job description is not exhaustive, and the role holder may be required to undertake other relevant duties commensurate with the grading of the post. Activities may be subject to amendment over time as the role develops and/or priorities and requirements evolve.

Education, qualifications and experience


  • Awareness of communication protocols for digital sensing equipment
  • Industrial experience – prototyping, design or similar experience/exposure
  • Experience of working as part of a multi-disciplinary team
  • Knowledge of Building Standards related to air and water management in tall buildings would be an advantage but not a requirement.
  • fabrication of components in a variety of materials

Competencies, Skills and Knowledge

  • Excellent practical engineering skills
  • Good team player with good interpersonal skills


  • B.Eng. or equivalent in mechanical engineering, built environment, civil engineering or a related discipline

How To Apply

Applications can be submitted up to midnight (UK time) on 3rd September 2019

At Heriot-Watt University we understand that being diverse makes us better which is why we support a culture of respect and equal opportunity, and value diversity at the heart of what we do. We want to increase the diversity of our workplace to underpin a dynamic and creative environment.

This role does not meet the minimum requirements set by UKVI to enable sponsorship of non-European nationals. Therefore we cannot progress applications from candidates who require sponsorship to work in the UK. For further information on this please visit the UK Visas and Immigration website: https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/work-visas

Use our total rewards calculator: https://www.hw.ac.uk/about/work/total-rewards-calculator.htm to see the value of benefits provided by Heriot-Watt University.

For more information about working at Heriot-Watt University: - https://www.hw.ac.uk/about/work-for-heriot-watt.htm

Candidates can make informal enquiries to Dr Michael Gormley (m.gormley@hw.ac.uk)