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ArchitectureDigital construction

The Digital Construction Research Unit (DiCRU) at the University of Strathclyde evaluates and develops advanced technologies, methodologies and approaches for cutting-edge Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to improve the performance of the construction industry.

The Unit also aims to understand the relationships between technologies, processes, and people. Our goal is to develop quality research and to maximise impact through dissemination and research-led teaching, while influencing policy and decision-making.

Our research

The DiCRU is a newly established research unit with two members of staff. Dr Ibrahim Motawa is a Senior Lecturer in Building Information Modelling and director of the MSc in Advanced Construction Technologies & BIM. Dr Zhen Chen is a Lecturer in Construction Management. He has both an academic and professional career in the built environment, working for companies, professional bodies, and universities worldwide.

The research group addresses a strategic priority for the Department of Architecture to explore and develop advanced ICT methodologies and systems in response to UK (and the global) interest in the digital transformation of the construction industry.

Key research areas

We seek to extend knowledge of Digital Integrated practices and innovative trans-disciplinary solutions. Our research areas are also addressed in our MSc in Advanced Construction Technologies & BIM. Our research areas include:

BIM, Big Data, & IoT for Intelligent Buildings

The Built Environment is rapidly changing with the move towards a resource efficient circular economy and the drive for more efficient, agile and customisable manufacturing through Industry 4.0. Our work in this area aims to integrate intelligent smart systems in conjunction with big-data concepts to improve construction performance.

Intelligent Decision Support Systems for Construction & Megaprojects

Our work involves the development and validation of decision support systems for construction problems and for managing megaprojects. We examine the impact of qualitative/quantitative and static/dynamic measures on design/construction/operation stages. We study the interdependency among technologies; processes; and people to develop integrated interfaces.

Sustainable & Energy Efficient buildings

Industrial informatics for smart and energy efficient buildings have huge potential to make significant contributions to sustainable systems. Our work within this area covers applications for communication and control infrastructures; systems dynamic, predictive analytics; energy control, optimization, and demand response.

To learn more about DiCRU, download the Digital Construction Research Unit Booklet.

Our team

In collaboration with industry partners, we act as a knowledge hub and a conduit for facilitating a paradigm shift within the industry.

Academic Leader

Collaborating academics

PhD students

  • Lilia Potseluyko Amobi

Topic: A Framework for Improving Business and Technical Operations within Timber Frame Self-Build Housing Sector by Applying Integrated VR/AR and BIM Technologies.

Topic: The Application of Heritage Building Information Modelling (HBIM) Processes for Building Conservation Works

Topic: BIM integrated building code checking system for Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Topic: Social sustainability and BIM

Topic: An Integrated Risk Management Decision Support System for Oil and Gas Construction Projects

Topic: Using immersive technologies for architectural applications

Topic: Hybrid Optical Fibre Based Daylighting & LED High Power Source for Buildings

Topic: An analytic approach to adopting BIM overlay in Libya.

Topic: A framework of BIM education in Libya.

Research grants & projects

  • Development of a BIM-Integrated Virtual Showroom for Offsite Manufactured Production

Funded by: Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) with Norscot Joinery LTD

  • The effective design and delivery of megaprojects in the European Union (COST Action TU1003)

Funded by: The European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST), Horizon 2020, European Union.

Selected Publications

  • Chen Z. (2019) Grand challenges in construction management. Frontiers in Built Environment. 5:31.
  • Motawa I. and Oladokun M. (2019). Modelling the effect of occupants’ behaviour on household carbon emissions, ASCE Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities, 33(2).
  • Boateng P., Chen Z. and Ogunlana S. (2017). Megaproject Risk Analysis and Simulation: A Dynamic Systems Approach. Emerald Group Publishing Ltd. 360 pages.
  • Motawa I. (2017). Spoken dialogue BIM systems – an application of Big Data in construction. Journal of Facilities, Vol. 35 Issue: 13/14, pp.787-800.

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Our experts


Students Andrea Hickey and Neal Hemingway created ChalkTalk for their Masters project, to encourage discussion and stories about architecture and design within the city during the Merchant City Festival.

Future Architecture Workshop: Merchant City Festival 2015

We invited prospective students of architecture to participate in a day long workshop as part of the Merchant City Festival. Explore our city with them!