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Building Services Dissertation Examples

Course content

   Detailed course guide

Students undertake eight taught courses for the Diploma plus the research dissertation for the MSc. Students can opt to complete a total of four courses and graduate with the Heriot-Watt University Postgraduate Certificate.

The taught element of the programme comprises 8 courses, with three mandatory/core courses and one optional course per semester:

Semester 1Semester 2
  • Building Electrical and Lighting Services (mandatory)
  • Ventilation and Air Conditioning (mandatory)
  • Contracts and Procurement (optional)
  • Water Supply and Drainage for Buildings (optional)
  • Sustainable Design and Development (optional)
  • Climate Change, Sustainability & Adaptation (optional)
  • Thermofluids (mandatory)
  • Human Factors (mandatory)
  • Low Carbon Buildings (mandatory)
  • Architectural Acoustics (mandatory)
  • People and Organisational Management for the Built Environment (optional)
  • Carbon Footprinting (optional)
  • Energy Systems and Buildings (optional)

Building Electrical and Lighting Services

Semester 1 (mandatory)

This course outlines the theory and utilisation of electrical power in buildings. It aims to:

• Provide an overview of ac systems.
• Provide an insight into the design of electrical distribution systems.
• Illustrate a systematic approach to circuit design.
• Provide an insight into regulation and protection.

Ventilation and Air Conditioning

Semester 1 (mandatory)

This course aims to introduce students to the essential aspects associated with the design and operation of a full range of comfort air conditioning systems provided within buildings under various weather conditions. Subjects in the syllabus include:

Heat exchanges between an indoor environment and its occupants; indoor and outdoor design criteria, and internal and external sources of sensible and latent gain; the psychrometrics and psychrometric processes associated with air conditioning systems; ventilation principles and theoretical calculation.

Contracts and Procurement

Semester 1 (optional)

The aim of this course is to help students understand advanced procurement practices, the situations in which their use is appropriate and the contractual principles upon which they are based. The course will also introduce students to the mechanisms used by a typical standard for of construction contract (from the JCT05 suite) to control the risk exposure arising from the liabilities of contracting parties created by the contract and common law, as well as the flow of money and information between contacting parties. Subjects covered by the syllabus include:

Introduction to Construction Project Procurement; Procurement Arrangement Options; Construction Contract Use in the UK; Principles of Contract Law; Partnering; Procurement through Public Private Partnerships; Claims; Negotiating; Managing Conflicts and Disputes; Towards Better Contracting Practices.

Water conservation

Semester 1 (optional)

This course will enable students to understand the drivers for water conservation and how conservation measures are best implemented. The course focuses on both the technologies available for water conservation, as well as on the implications of implementation. Students will be encouraged to develop skills in tailoring water conservation solutions designed not only to comply with legislation but that also provide best benefit within the context of their use. Subjects in the syllabus include:

Drivers for water conservation; relevant legislation; water consumption; attenuation principles; design principles to reduce water consumption; rainwater harvesting; greywater recycling; green/living roofs; storage, control and distribution of reclaimed water and treatment of reclaimed water.

Sustainable Design and Development

Semester 1 (optional)

This course aims to help students develop a critical understanding of the complexity of urban and housing design and development, including the importance of people and process. The course will help students to gain professional knowledge about urban design principles and practice, including sustainability issues. Subjects in the syllabus include:

Introduction to urban design and housing quality; Critical understanding of the development process including stages in the development process and appreciation of different stakeholder perspectives; Sustainable design, housing quality, place identity and character; Climate, aspect, safety, planting, management; Conservation areas and listed buildings; Market and needs analysis; Developer’s budget, cashflow and financial appraisal; Risk analysis.

Climate Change, Sustainability and Adaptation

Semester 1 (optional)

This course introduces students to issues relating to climate science and future predictions, in addition to legislative requirements and government initiatives to combat climate change. The concepts of carbon, energy and water footprints, environmental impact analyses will be explored, and interests surrounding energy and carbon mitigation, and current thinking in adaptation strategies will also be covered. The use of case studies and/or site visits will be used throughout the course to demonstrate principles and current practice.

Subjects covered by the syllabus include: Sustainability and the built environment; History of climate science and future predictions; Carbon, energy and water footprints; Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), including Life Cycle Assessment (LCA); Adaptation/probability for future climate scenarios.

Thermofluids

Semester 2 (mandatory)

This course introduces students to heat transfer and fluids fundamental processes, relating to building services, including steady state heat transfer, fluid flows and principles of energy flow.

Human Factors

Semester 2 (mandatory)

The aim of this course is to give students an appreciation of how buildings are used, how occupants react to their environment, raising issues of aural, thermal and visual comfort. The need for Post Occupancy Evaluation is explored in addition to some behavioural studies elements and adaptation issues. Subjects and topics covered by the syllabus include:

The definition of building sustainability in respect of meeting building occupant and organisational needs; Introduction to behavioural studies; Adaptive Comfort; Post Occupancy Evaluation.

Low Carbon Buildings

Semester 2 (mandatory)

Effective collaboration across the design team is key to the creation of a sustainable environment. This course provides students with an opportunity to apply and test the knowledge accumulated from other courses, and their own experience, to a series of case-study scenarios of real-life ‘wicked problems’, requiring complex decision-making. Students will be required to collaborate and evaluate multivariate phenomena and balance the requirements of different parties, ethical considerations, and technical knowledge. The structure of the course develops students’ abilities in professional practice and the informed application of their technical knowledge, as well as in interdisciplinary communication. As part of the course, students will have the opportunity to engage in self-authored design work, demonstrating their response to a particular site and programme for a Low Carbon Building.

Subects and topics covered include: Principles of Low-Carbon Buildings and Communities; Sustainability drivers for clients and for policy; Professional Ethics; Interdisciplinary Collaboration; Digital Collaboration Tools; Teamworking Skills

Architectural Acoustics

Semester 2 (optional)

This course introduces students to the basic concepts of acoustics. The course will give an overview of environmental noise (sound propagation outdoors) and provides an understanding of the theories used in building acoustics (including room acoustics, sound insulation, duct-borne noise and vibration isolation).

People and Organisational Management in the Built Environment

Semester 2 (optional)

This course aims to develop a high level of interdisciplinary understanding about complex organisational and personal management processes and how important they are in underpinning technical skills to deliver high quality services as a professional. Students will learn about and explore management theory and practice and will have a chance to reflect on their own personal development in a synoptic way. This will be valuable in terms of career development, as management competences and self-reflection are increasingly sought in practice.

Topics covered by the syllabus include: What is management and why is it important for professional practice? Good and bad examples of management and their effect on individuals, organisations and service delivery. A critical evaluation of management theories. In depth understanding of the complexities of team building, organisational culture, recruitment and selection, staff appraisal, motivation, leadership, communication, co-ordination, and managing change and diversity.

Energy systems and Buildings

Semester 2 (optional)

This course aims to help students to understand the basics of how the form, fabric and equipment of a building affect its energy, water and carbon footprint both locally and globally. An understanding of carbon and energy auditing will be developed and demonstrated through case studies and assignment work based on new and existing buildings, and methods of reducing carbon emissions in existing buildings will be investigated.

Subjects covered by the syllabus include: Basics of building energy use; Aims and objectives of energy auditing of buildings; Methods and instruments used in the measurement and assessment of energy consumption; Energy monitoring and targeting; Motivating staff and incentives to improving efficiency; Use of BMS in energy management..

Energy systems and Buildings

Semester 2 (optional)

This course aims to help students to understand the basics of how the form, fabric and equipment of a building affect its energy, water and carbon footprint both locally and globally. An understanding of carbon and energy auditing will be developed and demonstrated through case studies and assignment work based on new and existing buildings, and methods of reducing carbon emissions in existing buildings will be investigated. Subjects covered by the syllabus include:

Basics of building energy use; Aims and objectives of energy auditing of buildings; Methods and instruments used in the measurement and assessment of energy consumption; Energy monitoring and targeting; Motivating staff and incentives to improving efficiency; Use of BMS in energy management.

Programme leader

Dr David Campbell

Entry requirements

For MSc level entry applicants must have:

  • Minimum of 2:2 honours degree or equivalent academic qualification in cognate and semi-cognate subject area. For PG conversion programmes, non-cognate degrees will be considered. Corporate (or chartered) membership of relevant professional institutions will also be considered.

For PG Diploma level entry applicants must have:

  • Third class honours degree in a cognate or semi-cognate subject area PLUS 2 years of relevant experience at an appropriate level completed post qualification.
  • Cognate or semi-cognate ordinary degree PLUS 3-4 years of relevant experience at an appropriate level following graduation.
  • Candidates who do not meet the above entry requirements or have no formal academic qualifications will be considered individually based on their CV and interview. Admission via this route will be at the discretion of the Director of Admissions and the number of successful applicants will be restricted.

There is no entry at PG Certificate level except through exceptional agreement with approved learning partners.

Non-graduating study at masters level:

  • Entry is based on CV or on formal academic qualifications or graduate (or incorporated) membership of a relevant professional institution.

Recognition of Prior Learning

Heriot-Watt University is committed to providing opportunities to applicants who have a wide range of prior experiences through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Prior learning at postgraduate level is normally recognised to gain exemption from individual courses within a programme based on an existing academic qualification. Note that the prior learning must have been rated at the level of the courses for which RPL is sought, yet credits from an award already held by an applicant can only contribute to a higher award in the same discipline, e.g. from PG Diploma to MSc. If you believe that you qualify for RPL, please contact the Learning & Teaching Support Team via egis-enquiries@hw.ac.uk, who will guide you through the RPL application procedure.

The school will only consider students' requests for RPL at the time of application for their programme of study.

English language requirements

If English is not the applicant’s first language a minimum of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required with all elements passed at 6.0 or above.

Applicants who have previously successfully completed programmes delivered in the medium of English language may be considered and will be required to provide documentary evidence of this. Examples would be secondary school education or undergraduate degree programme. A minimum of at least one year of full time study (or equivalent) in the medium of English language will be required.

We offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your masters programme:

  • 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no more than one skill at 4.5);
  • 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum of 5.0 in all skills);
  • 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with minimum of 5.5 in reading & writing and minimum of 5.0 in speaking & listening)

 

Additional information

Distance Learning January entry

Distance learning students can choose to start their studies in January or September. The January intake is not available to students studying on-campus.

Distance learning students

Please note that independent distance learning students who access their studies online will be expected to have access to a PC/laptop and internet.

Selecting a good dissertation topic is vital, as this will provide a strong foundation upon which to build the rest of the work. A weak dissertation topic will inevitably lead to a weak dissertation; something which you want to avoid happening at all costs! Often students realise too late that their dissertation is based on a bad choice of topic and have no choice but to start again.

Don’t want this to be you? Choose a dissertation topic with your strengths in mind. Of course, you want your topic to be impressive, but make sure you choose a subject area in which you feel comfortable working. If you attempt to write a dissertation based on a topic you are unsure of, it will show.

Dissect your chosen topic until you can’t think of anything else to write – then use your notes to work out whether this particular topic will make a good dissertation. You can also ask your tutor for advice – after all, they know what they’re talking about! Once you have selected a strong, interesting topic, you’re well on your way to writing an amazing dissertation – good luck!