SHE Level 1
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M1K212593
Module Leader Jim Castle
School INTO
Subject INTO
  • A (September start)-B (January start)
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)

Summary of Content

An introduction to the primary thermal and physical aspects of the performance of buildings, including the basic methods and theories used to characterise building materials in terms of composition and physical structure. This includes: temperature, specific heat, heat transfer, gas behaviour, condensation, electrical quantities, comfort parameters, thermal indices, sound waves and acoustic quantities, artificial lighting and components of daylight. The characteristics and composition of building materials are also investigated (physical properties, structural properties) and the performance requirements for building materials and components demonstrated.


The basic concepts underlying the thermal/physical performance of buildings and their environmental systems are outlined on the basis of the following topic areas: temperature, specific heat, the modes of heat transfer, gas behaviour, condensation, humidity, electrical quantities. The relationship between man and his thermal environment is discussed, including the important comfort parameters and thermal indices for comfort assessment. The behaviour of sound waves and basic acoustic quantities are described in relation to environmental noise, and an introduction to artificial lighting and the components of daylight is provided. The basic methods and theories used to characterize building materials in terms of composition and physical properties are introduced. An engineering approach to materials decisions in the design and construction of buildings is developed through an identification of structure-property and production-property performance relationships for building materials and components.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:Recognize the basic physical concepts associated with building performance, in particular, relation to heat, light, sound, and human comfortBe aware of the relationship between production, properties and the performance of building materials and componentsAdopt and apply an engineering approach to the selection of appropriate building materials and components for given situations

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Lectures will provide the basic theoretical concepts of building performance and will be supported by practical laboratory exercises and tutorials, which will involve the recognition of theory to practical examples. Structured tutorials will be complemented by the use of audio/visual publications to reinforce principles outlined in the formal lecture programme. Additionally, library and information facilities will be available at GCU, offering various multi-media options to acquire technical references and associated references. Other source references will be outlined as the module syllabus is delivered .

Indicative Reading

Ilston (1994) "Construction Materials" Butterworths Jackson and Dhir (1996) "Civil Engineering Materials" Longman Scientific Smith et al (1983) "Environmental Science" Addison Wesley Weidman et al (1990) "Structural Materials" Longman

Transferrable Skills

Development of problem-solving and application of knowledge Effective communication: written, graphical and oral Effective use of Information Technology Effective Time Management Independent Working Teamworking and Leadership

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Practicals (FT) 48.00
Tutorials (FT) 48.00
Lectures (FT) 48.00
Independent Learning (FT) 38.00
Assessment (FT) 18.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 30.00 35% Materials Science
Coursework 2 n/a 30.00 35% Environmental Science
Coursework 3 n/a 40.00 35% Practical Lab Exercises