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CIBSE COVID-19 Achievement Award - Buro Happold

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Covid-19 Achievement Award
Created for 2021 in association with CIBSE Journal, this award recognises the remarkable work that building services professionals, with their supply chain, have undertaken to contribute to the nation’s efforts to combat the effects of Covid-19. It celebrates the outstanding achievements of individuals, teams, organisations, projects, products or services, taking account of the challenges they have faced across the full range of activities in the built environment, and the impact they have made in responding to the unprecedented circumstances of 2020.
 
Buro Happold Analytics team - Buro Happold

As the coronavirus pandemic began to unfold last year, it was clear that universities – like other organisations – would face unprecedented challenges in re-opening their campuses and helping students return to lecture halls.
 
Buro Happold’s Analytics team worked with seven UK and Irish universities to help them facilitate social distancing and promote the health and wellbeing of students and staff.
 
The number and complexity of interrelated issues made the planning complex and involved a range of stakeholders, from timetabling and estates staff, to department heads and student and staff representatives.
 
At a time of great uncertainty and changing guidelines, universities had to:

  • Rapidly determine the capacities of spaces under different social-distancing regimes

  • Devise new timetables and teaching approaches

  • Regulate the flow of people around campus and within buildings

  • Build flexibility and adaptability into their plans.

 
Buro Happold used innovative modelling to optimise the capacity of different teaching spaces and applied this to thousands of spaces to determine the overall capacity of a university’s campus.
 
Real-time analytics and ‘what if’ modelling enabled collaborative decision-making among the various stakeholders, while ‘day in life’ modelling highlighted potential social-distancing hotspots as students and staff move around campus by foot, bike, car or bus.
 
Buro Happold also considered the flow of people inside buildings, and then detailed interventions that could improve their circulation and facilitate social distancing – for example, building entrance management, unidirectional corridors and staircases, signage and floor markings, and timetabling and scheduling.
 
The award judges said: ‘The work Buro Happold did helped universities get a clear understanding of what level of occupation was realistic for their facilities, so they could plan. 
 
‘The modelling… had such a big impact on getting universities open again. Buro Happold has taken a lot of things that have been done before and applied them to the Covid situation in a clever way. It is showing how you can use digital tools and BIM to solve a problem.
 
‘Buro Happold supported those universities in an emergency situation and appear to have had good results.’