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Transferring simulation from specialists into design practice

Macdonald, I. and McElroy, L.B. and Hand, Jon and Clarke, Joseph Andrew (2005) Transferring simulation from specialists into design practice. In: 9th International Building Performance Simulation Association Conference, 2005-08-15 - 2005-08-18.

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Building simulation tools (energy, lighting, plant simulation, CFD, etc) have long been the preserve of a few specialist consultancies rather than being used where they can have the greatest impact - by construction design practices. This has resulted in additional costs for designers (time and financial) in terms of buying in specialist services. In addition, the designer is not able to fully explore the design potential: being restricted by what the specialist reports back. There are myriad well-recognised reasons for this situation: the perceived difficulty of using simulation tools; the cost (licences, suitably trained staff, hardware); liability issues; and so on. Also, the construction industry is a traditionally a poor investor in research and development, preferring to operate core business activities on proven ground. Despite this, IBPSA Scotland has, over the last three years, succeeded in transferring simulation capabilities into local businesses, primarily in the building services sector. This has resulted in enhanced design quality, and (more importantly) increased business for participating companies. This begs the question: why, despite these barriers, have these companies succeeded? This paper explores the technology transfer mechanisms and details which have been successful and which have not. In both cases, reasons for success and failure are identified and analysed. The paper goes on to describe how this knowledge has been used to guide the future plans of IBPSA Scotland, including widening appeal within the design team, and targeting architects in particular through a new Scottish Executive initiative.