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Director, BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials, University of Bath

Pete Walker is a chartered civil engineer and a member of both the Institution of Engineers Australia and The Institution of Civil Engineers (UK). Pete studied at Sheffield City Polytechnic, now Sheffield Hallam University, (BSc Civil Engineering) and the University of Edinburgh (PhD Structural Engineering). Having previously worked in Zimbabwe (University of Zimbabwe) and Australia (University of New England), Pete joined the University of Bath in 1998. He was promoted to Professor in 2006 on becoming Director of the newly formed BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials.

His current research interests include bio-based construction materials, materials for improved indoor air quality, structural masonry and innovative timber engineering. Since joining Bath he has led various research projects, having attracted funding as PI or CI from the BRE Trust, Carbon Connections, DEFRA, EASME, EPSRC, FP7, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, Great Western Research, and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB). Pete has also received substantial financial and in-kind support from a number of SME and large scale industrial partners. The total value of his research projects awarded to date exceeds £10 Million.

He is currently Editor of the ICE Construction Materials journal and editorial panel member for Building Research & Information journal.


Covering a number of construction materials, Pete’s research work is centred on the development of low carbon technologies suitable for new and retrofitting applications. His original research work focussed on structural masonry (prestressed brickwork (PhD), masonry arch bridges, dry-stone walling), but whilst working in Zimbabwe (1989-1993) and Australia (1994-1997) expanded to include earth building (compressed earth blocks, rammed earth).

Since working at Bath Pete has also led research projects developing straw bale construction, hemp-lime construction, and innovative timber engineering. His research work initially centred on physical, mechanical and structural characterisation, but has developed to include work on micro-structural analysis, heat and moisture transfer in porous materials, life-cycle appraisal, environmental monitoring and testing and most recently indoor environmental quality. Recent projects have included the construction and testing of BaleHaus, an innovative prefabricated straw bale house, at the University of Bath. Current research projects include:

ECO-SEE: Eco-innovative, Safe and Energy Efficient wall panels and materials for a healthier indoor environment, FP7
EuroCell project: EU market development of MODCELL - a prefabricated eco-building system utilising renewable materials, EASME
The impact of Pete’s research work includes enabling the successful construction of a number of award winning and innovative low carbon buildings, including to date: Adnams’ new brewery distribution centre; Cheshire Oaks M&S supermarket; Eco-Depot, York; Knowle West Media Centre, Bristol; Orwell Housing Association, Suffolk; Pines Calyx, St Margaret’s Bay; Rivergreen Centre, Durham; The Triangle, Swindon; Wales Institute Sustainable Education (WISE) Building (Centre for Alternative Technology).

Pete’s PhD students have won the IStructE Young Researchers Conference Oral Presentation award on three occasions (Dr Jon Shanks, 2004; Dr Chris Mundell 2008; and, Dr Andy Thomson 2009). He and his team have been the recipients of two best journal-paper awards from the Institution of Civil Engineers.


  • –present
    Director, BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials, University of Bath