Dr Alba Fuertes Casals
Profiles

Dr Alba Fuertes Casals

Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in Construction Technology and Management

School of Art, Design and Architecture (Faculty of Arts & Humanities)

Role

Programme leader of BSc Architectural Engineering, BSc Construction Management and BSc Building Surveying in the department of Architecture and Built Environment.
 

Dr Alba Fuertes is an Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in the department of Architecture and Built Environment of the School of Art, Design and Architecture at Plymouth University. She is currently the programme leader and full time lecturer of the undergraduate programmes BSc Architectural Engineering, BSc Construction Management and BSc Building Surveying. She also lectures in the BA Architectural Technology. Previously, she was a lecturer in the Department of Construction Engineering at Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (Spain) for six years.

Originally trained in construction project management and construction engineering, Dr Fuertes’ research has often focused on construction project management and building performance issues, with building quality assurance and energy efficiency being a particular interest. She has participated in many national and international research projects funded by the European Union, UK and the Spanish research council. She has also been involved in many collaboration agreements with industry, mainly SMEs of the construction sector. She is currently part of the Building Performance Analysis Research Group at Plymouth University and principal investigator of the EnerGAware Project funded under the Horizon 2020 EE-11-14 call of the Horizon2020 EU programme.

Dr Fuertes has been included as an Early Career Researcher in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF, UK). She has published 16 journal papers in high impact research journals, about 30 refereed conference papers, one book chapter, many of them construction management related. She is currently co-supervising a full time PhD in the field of quality management in energy efficient buildings. She has also supervised a completed EPSRC Industrial CASE PhD focused on the selection of innovative sustainable building technologies. She has also supervised many Master’s theses and undergraduate research dissertations.

Dr Fuertes is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She has an established track record of research-informed teaching, as well as authentic learning activities with the input of construction companies. She has experience in student pastoral tutoring and industry placement tutoring.

She is an active committee member of Constructing Excellence and the International Council for research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB).

Qualifications

2013: FHEA Fellow of the Higher Education Academy UK

2012: PhD in Construction Engineering (European distinction). Department of Construction Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Spain. PhD Thesis: “Contributions to the measurement, monitoring and evaluation of environmental performance on construction sites”.

2007: MSc in Construction Project Management. Department of Construction Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC,Spain) and the Università degli Studi di Firenze (UNIFI, Italy). Master’s Thesis: “Development of an ontology for the document management systems for construction”. 

2006: MEng in Industrial Engineering (Construction specialisation). School of Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering of Terrassa, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain. 

Professional membership

Committee member of Constructing Excellence South West  http://www.constructingexcellencesw.org.uk/about/steering-committee/dr-alba-fuertes/

Member of the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB)

Member of the Professional Organisation of Industrial Engineers of Catalunya (COEIC, Spain)

Roles on external bodies

Journal Reviewer: Journal of Cleaner Production; Automation in Construction; Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities

Teaching interests

Teaching roles

Module leader, "ICT for Archtiectural and Construction Projects"  (Stage 1)

Module leader, "Built Environment Project 1" (Stage 1)

Module leader, "Construction Management Processes and Principles" (Stage 2)

Module leader, "Built Environment Project" (Stage2)


Administration roles

Programme Leader of BSc (Hons) Architectural Engineering, BSc (Hons) Building Surveying and the BSc (Hons) Construction Management, Plymouth University

Innovation in teaching and learning

2012 - 2013: Co-investigator. Designing and implementing innovative multimedia material for teaching and learning in construction courses. Education Science Institute. Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Total value: 6,000 €.

2007 - 2009: Co-investigator. Development of a methodology to support team working in engineering courses within higher education. University and Research Agency, Local Government of Catalunya (Spain). Total value: 14,000 €.

2007 - 2009: Co-investigator. Development of a methodology to support distance learning and team working in construction engineering design courses within higher education. Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Total value: 9,000 €.

Research interests

- Improvement of construction processes to enhance building energy efficiency

- Relationship between quality management and building energy performance

- Effects of design changes and value engineering on the energy performance of buildings

- Use of ICT and BIM to achieve excellent H&S, quality and environmental performance on construction sites

REF 2014: Research outputs submitted to REF2014 for University of Plymouth : 16 - Architecture, Built Environment and Planning 

Dr Fuertes is particularly interested in establishing research collaborations, attracting research funding and discussing potential PhD studies. Please use email provided to discuss options. 

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

Dangana, Z. (2015 PhD completion). A decision support framework for selecting innovative sustainable technologies for delivering low carbon retail buildings. Funded by EPSRC Industrial CASE in collaboration with a leading provider of retail solutions to major high street names in the UK. University of Plymouth, School of Architecture, Design and Environment (Second Supervisor).

Ulrich de Alencastro, J.P. (PhD in progress). Construction and the Building Energy Performance Gap: the Role of Construction Management and Inspection Techniques. Funded by Science without Borders Programme (Brazil - UK). University of Plymouth, School of Architecture, Design and Environment (Second Supervisor).

Grants & contracts

EnerGAware: Energy Game for Awareness of energy efficiency in social housing communities (European Commission Horizon 2020)  -   February 2015 - February 2018

Principal Investigator: The EnerGAware project funded under the EC Horizon 2020 call EE-11 New ICT-based solutions for energy efficiency is investigating how a Serious Game embedded in social media and networking tools and linked to smart meter data can help reduce energy consumption in social housing and increase the social tenants understanding and engagement in energy efficiency. It is a €2M project being undertaken by seven European partners from the UK, France, Spain and Portugal.  

Value: €2M

Project website: http://energaware.eu/

Expert advice on the design of a hypothetical randomised control trial on smarter heating controls (Department of Energy and Climate Change)
   -   September 2013 - April 2014

Consultant: The consultancy project for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is providing advice on the design of a hypothetical randomised control trial (RCT) on smarter heating controls. It aims to design a potential trial to evaluate whether smarter heating controls could reduce domestic energy consumption. The project will inform a decision around whether to proceed to the second stage of DECC's Smarter Heating Controls Research Programme, a field trial to evaluate domestic energy savings from smarter heating controls. The project is being undertaken in collaboration with NATCEN, Energy Saving Trust and BSRIA.

Value: £10,000

Sustainable Energy Management for Underground Stations (SEAM4US)  -  October 2011 - October 2014

Co-investigator (until June 2011): The SEAM4US project funded under the EC Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) call EEB-ICT-2011.6.4: ICT for energy-efficient buildings and spaces of public use aims at reducing the energy consumption of underground transportation systems via the development of advanced technologies for optimal and scalable control. The objective is to produce a 5% saving in non-traction electricity consumption in one year.

Value: 2,877,293 €.

2011: (co-investigator) Embedded Intelligent Controls for buildings with Renewable generation and Storage (ENCOURAGE). European Commission (JTI-CP-ARTEMIS). Total value: 1,063,579 €.

2007 - 2010: (co-investigator) Development of an Homogenous Lifecycle Analysis (LCA) model for the evaluation of the energy consumption and emissions of buildings. Ministry for Infrastructure and Buildings, Spanish Government. Total value: 79,325 €.

2007 - 2009: (co-investigator) The multidimensional city. Active knowledge management: training and learning. Ministry for Science and Education, Spanish Government. Total value: 1,426,761 €.

2006 - 2009: (co-investigator) Metadata for Architectural Contents in Europe (MACE). European Commission (eContentPlus). Total value: 3,150,000 €.

2005 - 2008: (co-investigator) Development and implementation of a Web Based Project Management System for the integrated health and safety and environmental management of the construction processes of the SMEs in the construction sector. Ministry for Infrastructure and Buildings, Spanish Government.

Refereed Journal Publications

Jones, R.V., Fuertes, A., Gregori, E., Giretti, A. (2017). Stochastic behavioural models of occupants' main bedroom window operation for UK residential buildings. Building and Environment, 118, 144-158.

Boomsma, C., Pahl, S., Jones, R.V., Fuertes, A. (2017). "Damp in bathroom. Damp in back room. It's very depressing!" exploring the relationship between perceived housing problems, energy affordability concerns, and health and well-being in UK social housing. Energy Policy, 106, 382-393. 

Jones, R.V., Fuertes, A., Goodhew, S., de Wilde, P. (2017). The actual performance of aspiring low energy social houses in the United Kingdom. Energy Procedia, 105, 2181-2186.

Jones, R.V., Fuertes, A., Boomsma, C., Pahl, S. (2016). Space heating preferences in UK social housing: A socio-technical household survey combined with building audits. Energy and Buildings, 127, 382-398.

Jones, R. V., Fuertes, A., Lomas, K. J. (2015). The socio-economic, dwelling and appliance related factors affecting electricity consumption in domestic buildings. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 43, 901-917.

Morillas, R.M.; Rubio-Romero, J.C.; Fuertes, A. (2013). A comparative analysis of occupational health and safety risk prevention practices in Sweden and Spain. Journal of Safety Research, 47, 57-65

Fuertes, A.; Casals, M.; Gangolells, M.; Forcada, N.; Macarulla, M.; Roca, X. (2013) An environmental impact causal model for improving the environmental performance of construction processes. Journal of Cleaner Production, 52, 425-437

Macarulla, M.; Forcada, N.; Casals, M.; Gangolells, M.; Fuertes, A.; Roca, X. (2013) Standardizing housing defects: classification, validation and benefits. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 139 (8), 968-976

Forcada, N.; Macarulla, M.; Gangolells, M.; Casals, M.; Fuertes, A.; Roca, X. (2013) Post handover housing defects: Causes and origins. Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities, 27(6), 756–762.

Gangolells, M.; Casals, M.; Forcada, N.; Fuertes, A.; Roca, X. (2013). Model for Enhancing Integrated Identification, Assessment, and Operational Control of On-Site Environmental Impacts and Health and Safety Risks in Construction Firms. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 139 (2), 138-147

Forcada, N.; Fuertes, A.; Gangolells, M.; Casals, M.; Macarulla, M. (2013). Knowledge management perceptions in construction and design companies, Automation in Construction, 29, 83-91.

Forcada, N.; Macarulla, M.; Fuertes, A.; Casals, M.; Gangolells, M.; Roca, X. (2011). Influence of building type on post-handover defects in housing. Journal of performance of constructed facilities, 26 (4): 433-440.

Gangolells, M.; Casals, M.; Gassó, S.; Forcada, N.; Roca, X.; Fuertes, A. (2011). Assessing concerns of interested parties when predicting the significance of environmental impacts related to the construction process of residential buildings. Building and environment, 46 (5): 1023 - 1037. 

Forcada, N.; Casals, M.; Roca, X.; Gangolells, M.; Fuertes, A. (2011). Improving design competences: experiences in group-based learning based on ICTs in a blended learning environment. International Journal of engineering education, 27 (2): 292 - 302.

Forcada, N.; Casals, M.; Fuertes, A.; Gangolells, M.; Roca, X. (2010). A web-based system for sharing and disseminating research results: The underground construction case study. Automation in construction, 19 (4): 458 - 474.

Gangolells, M.; Casals, M.; Forcada, N.; Roca, X.; Fuertes, A. (2010). Mitigating construction safety risks using prevention through design. Journal of safety research, 41 (2): 107 - 122.

Gangolells, M.; Casals, M.; Gassó, S.; Forcada, N.; Roca, X.; Fuertes, A. (2009). A methodology for predicting the severity of environmental impacts related to the construction process of residential buildings. Building and environment, 44 (3): 558 - 571.

Forcada, N.; Casals, M.; Gangolells, M.; Roca, X.; Fuertes, A. (2008). Experiences of success in industrial plants projects. Revista ingeniería de construcción, 23: 82 – 93.

Refereed Conferences Publications (Most recent) 

Boomsma, C., Jones, R.V., Pahl, S., Fuertes, A. (2016). Exploring relationships between housing conditions, energy consumption, health and well-being among social housing tenants: Findings from the EnerGAware project. IAPS 24th International Association of People-Environment Studies Conference, Abstracts of Presentations, 26 June – 1 July. Lund, Sweden.

Boomsma, C., Jones, R.V., Pahl, S., Fuertes, A. (2016). Energy saving behaviours among social housing tenants: Exploring the relationship with dwelling characteristics, monetary concerns, and psychological motivations. BEHAVE 2016: 4th European Conference on Behaviour and Energy Efficiency, September 8-9. Coimbra, Portugal.

Alencastro, J., Fuertes, A., de Wilde, P. (2016). Improving the quality management systems for energy-efficient social housing projects. ARCOM 2016: 32nd Annual Conference of the Association of Researchers in Construction Management, September 5-7. Manchester, UK.

Alencastro, J., Fuertes, A., de Wilde, P. (2016). Delivering energy-efficient social housing: implications of the procurement process. EPPM 2017: 7th International Conference on Engineering, Project, and Production Management, September 21-23. Bialystok, Poland.

Casals, M., Gangolells, M., Macarulla, M., Fuertes, A., Jones, R., Pahl, S., Ruiz, M. (2016). Promoting energy users’ behavioural change in social housing through a serious game. ECPPM 2016: 11th European Conference on Product and Process Modelling, September 7-9. Limassol, Cyprus.

Jones, R. V., Fuertes, A. & de Wilde, P. (2015). The gap between simulated and measured energy performance: A case study across six identical new-build flats in the UK. Proceedings of BS2015: 14th International Conference of the International Building Performance Simulation Association, December 7-9. Hyderabad, India.

Zainab, S.; Pan, W.; Goodhew, S.; Fuertes, A. (2014) Contractors’ Perspective on the Selection of Innovative Sustainable Technologies for Low Carbon Retail Buildings. Proceedings of 2014 Construction Research Congress, May 2014, Atlanta, USA.

Zainab, S.; Pan, W.; Goodhew, S.; Fuertes, A. (2013) Stakeholders perspective on sustainable technology selection to achieve zero carbon retail buildings. Proceedings of 29th Annual ARCOM Conference, September 2013, Reading, UK, Association of Researchers in Construction Management, 1219-1229.

Gangolells, M.; Casals, M.; Fuertes, A. (2012). Exploring the possibility of promoting energy conservation behaviors in public buildings within the ENCOURAGE project. 9th European Conference of Product and Process Modelling (ECPPM), July 2012, Reykjavik, Iceland.

Fuertes, A.; Casals, M.; Gangolells, M.; Puigdollers, O. (2012). Overcoming challenges for Energy Management in Underground Railway Stations. The SEAM4US project. 9th European Conference of Product and Process Modelling (ECPPM), July 2012, Reykjavik, Iceland.

Forcada, N.; Fuertes, A.; Casals, M.; Gangolells, M.; Roca, X. (2010). Developing a knowledge map for underground construction research projects. eWork and eBusiness in Architecture, Engineering and Construction, September 2010, Cork, Ireland.

Fuertes, A.; Forcada, N.; Casals, M.; Gangolells, M.; Roca, X.; Ballester, F.; Diego, R.; De la Horra, J. (2010). Knowledge management and e-learning for underground construction projects. New World Situation: New Directions in Concurrent Engineering. 17th ISPE International Conference on Concurrent Engineering, September 2010, Krakow, Poland.

Books, chapter, editorships

De Jong, T.; Fuertes, A.; Schmeits, T.; Specht, M.; Koper, R. (2009). A contextualised multi-platform framework to support blended learning scenarios in learning networks. Multiplatform e-learning systems and technologies: mobile devices for ubiquitous ICT-based education. pp. 1 – 19.