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BKCC Publication

by Claire Walsh last modified 2007-08-15 11:39

The BKCC publication summarising the results of the nine funded projects can be downloaded HERE.

If you would like a hard copy of the publication please contact

Building Knowledge for a Changing Climate: collaborative research to understand and adapt to the impacts of climate change on infrastructure, the built environment and utilities.


Climate change is projected to have a significant impact upon buildings, infrastructure and utilities. As it is essential that these systems are designed to last for decades, so it is of the utmost importance include climate change in their planning, design and operations. In order to plan effectively for the future, researchers, regulators, policy-makers and decision-makers need to work together to determine future challenges and to develop appropriate adaptation options.

The Building Knowledge for a Changing Climate (BKCC) programme supported by EPSRC and UKCIP involved researchers and stakeholders from the outset in defining and undertaking a portfolio of nine projects related to climate change and the built environment. The programme had a number of generic objectives:

• to better understand potential impacts and adaptation measures for climate change on the built environment, transport and the utilities;

• to inform stakeholders on how to adapt successfully to impacts of climate change;


• to inform the research community on the research challenges in implementing these adaptation strategies.

An over-arching Stakeholder Forum has kept the projects focused on solutionsdriven research and has advised where BKCC outputs themselves can be applied more widely. In order to achieve an effective sharing of knowledge between projects and with stakeholders, the programme was coordinated through an Integrating

Framework which included a data-management group to facilitate data acquisition and storage. This publication reports the BKCC programme and presents results from the portfolio of nine projects. It aims to inform a range of stakeholders whether they be policymakers, decision-makers, planners or designers. Further details of the research results can be found in the more detailed publications cited in this report.

The projects have advanced knowledge of the impact of climate change on urban drainage, engineered slopes, the electricity supply industry, the aviation industry, historic buildings and infrastructure, as well as the urban environment more generally. The programme has delivered new insights into how to reduce climate related risk and increase resilience in the built environment, including soft engineering solutions with urban greenspace. Specialised climate and socioeconomic scenarios have been developed along with risk assessment techniques. A summary of each of the projects is given which provides context to the projects, states the aim and objectives of the projects, provides an overview of the project methodology, highlights the key results of the research and suggests how the results relate to policy and practice.

Each of the projects has resulted in new insights and important recommendations. However, unlike climate science, which generates headline-grabbing results, the science and practice of adaptation cannot be summarised simply. It involves carefully weighing up options, costs and risks within the context of specific locations and systems. Understanding the vulnerabilities of engineering systems and proposing modifications to make them more robust and resilient involves careful analysis and skilled engineering judgement. Those skills are not widespread in practice and one of the contributions of the BKCC programme has been to train a new cohort of young researchers in methods that can be transferred into practice.

The BKCC programme has certainly not solved all the problem of adapting infrastructure systems and the built environment to climate change. It was not able to cover all infrastructure sectors with the BKCC programme. Furthermore, our understanding of the challenges presented by climate change is itself rapidly evolving. This report therefore concludes by summarising some of the challenges and research questions that remain in adapting to a changing climate in the built environment.

This report is one of the outputs of the EPSRC funded project Sustaining Knowledge for a Changing Climate (SKCC), which will sustain the researcher and end user community assembled in the BKCC programme. SKCC will develop a user-led plan for future research into the impacts of climate change on the built environment and infrastructure and development of adaptation options. To become involved in developing that research plan, visit the SKCC web site at

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