Welsh School of Architecture

CRiBE Case Studies

CRiBE provides a full range of research and consultancy support to companies located across all aspects of the built environment. CRiBE has an established record of successful collaboration with a range of clients; from architect and engineering practices, building component manufacturers and contractors to local authorities, national and international companies.

CRiBE has dedicated business support staff assisting with project management and providing administrative support. These members of staff act as an interface to external bodies and industry and ensure the smooth running of all projects. Many projects have been undertaken through CRiBE that demonstrate the capabilities of staff to undertake work in the area of sustainable design and construction of the built environment. Selections of these are outlined below.

Urban Design

BP Llandarcy Master Plan Advice for Edward Ware Homes

Working with the developer Edward Ware Homes at an early stage in the design process, CRiBE assessed the proposed development of this brownfield site against the BREEAM EcoHomes environmental audit schedule.

A score indicating how the development might rate when completed was provided to Edward Ware Homes, together with suggested design advice to achieve the BREEAM Excellent rating.

RoathBasin Redevelopment, Cardiff

CRiBE was commissioned by Terry Farrell and Partners to undertake environmental testing of a proposed development scheme for Roath Basin in Cardiff Bay.

Studies completed included a desktop climatic study, with testing of physical scale models in both the wind tunnel to assess pedestrian discomfort and the heliodon to investigate solar penetration and overshadowing.

The outcomes of the study were reported to the client and subsequently used to refine the design, increasing sustainability, occupant comfort, and the urban quality of the development.

Building Design

Social Housing Innovation Programme, Gorseinon

Working in collaboration with Swansea City Council, Gwalia Housing Association and Corus Plc, CRiBE developed a modular housing system that can be modified to suit a range of sites and needs but which was designed to be 'zero energy'. The development of 13 houses incorporates the use of renewable energy and passive design and the scheme has been successfully submitted to the Welsh Assembly as part of the Social Housing Innovation Programme. All materials for construction were to be sourced from within a 50 km radius of the site and the whole design and development programme was based on partnering and meeting the targets of 'Rethinking Construction'.

Eco-Factory, Baglan

CRiBE was commissioned in 1999 to prepare a design strategy and specialist design advice for this low energy factory for Neath and Port Talbot Borough Council. The factory was the first to achieve BREEAM Excellent in the UK. The building is daylit and naturally ventilated, the environmental laboratory at the Welsh School of Architecture being used to predict energy performance at the design stage. The building costs are the equivalent of a standard speculative factory proving that low energy design need not incur additional cost.

The completed building won the Corus Industrial Building of the Year award for 2000 and was awarded a Civic Trust Award in 2001. In 2002 the Eco-Factory won the only RIBA award in Wales and it has recently won the RIBA Sustainability Award.

Creative Industries Business Units, Aberystwyth University The Design Research Unit Wales (DRUw), a design focused research group within CRiBE, were appointed to carry out a feasibility study for the design of 16 creative industries business units connected to Wales' largest Arts Centre. The early design suggested a modular approach to construction using a standard timber framed unit module which could be adapted for a variety of uses and sizes over time.

The materials and technologies employed were carefully selected based on the environmental impact of each from production to construction. It is envisaged that the design will also integrate the best principles of sustainable design to provide adequate levels of natural light and natural ventilation.

Sustainability Tools

Practical Evaluation Tools for Urban Sustainability (PETUS). This project was developed to help people who are involved with, or affected by buildings and infrastructure to consider impacts on the environment, economy and society. The aim of the European funded research is to develop a decision support system for stakeholders to increase the sustainability of infrastructure projects by providing a database of tools, case studies, European legislation and cross sector issues relating to different sectors of the built environment and also a monitoring procedure to guide the decision making process for all stakeholders to follow the incorporation of sustainability in practice.

The decision support system is available as a matrix or a checklist. The matrix has been developed to assist the process of increasing sustainability in the decision making process of a project over the projects lifespan. The checklist, a simpler version of the matrix, has been set up to provide a quick and easy to use list of questions that can be considered when attempting to incorporate sustainability into urban infrastructure projects.

This system can be utilised by Caerphilly County Borough Council to provide recommendations relating to sustainability assessments of Design and Construction projects including tools that could be used to guide projects and case studies of similar projects in other areas of the UK and Europe.


The Welsh School of Architecture is licensed through BRE to undertake both BREEAM Offices & BREEAM Schools Assessments. HK BEAM The Hong Kong Building Environmental Assessment Method (HKBEAM) for Offices was developed in collaboration with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and it was launched by the Hong Kong Real Estate Development Association (REDA). This provides property developers with a tool to assess the overall environmental performance of a building combining its energy use, its potential for polluting the environment (during construction and use) and its indoor environmental conditions. The method has been extended to consider high rise residential buildings in Hong Kong.