HAVING been awarded funding from Innovate UK for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Strathclyde to develop its sustainable surfacing offering, Smart Surface, Mackenzie Construction has appointed Smart Surface research associate, Bruna Lopes in support of the project.
Mackenzie launched Smart Surface in 2018. It is described as an ‘innovative’ binding solution that delivers an ‘efficient and sustainable’ option for surfacing by stabilising existing ground conditions to create or repair paths, roads, and hard standings.
Working with Conor Boyle, Mackenzie Construction’s Smart Surface manager, and the Strathclyde University team of Dr Matteo Pedrotti and Professor Alessandro Tarantino, Bruna will investigate the interaction between the binder and the soil.
Bruna said, “My current role is to understand and improve the existing processes and practices which have been developed by Mackenzie Construction over the last six years. Once I have a clear understanding of the step-by-step procedures that are in place, I’ll be doing laboratory testing to establish a comprehensive set of guidelines for a range of soils and situations. This will facilitate of comprehensive and adaptative procedures which will allow the Smart Surface service to be delivered consistently, no matter the environment.”
Mackenzie Construction has trialled its Smart Surface service with clients across a range of sectors. However, to further test and grow the offering, the business identified a need to enhance its capabilities in geomechanics and characterise and validate the performance of its binder product across a range of environmental profiles, to support development of a versatile, sustainable, road surfacing solution.
Bruna added, “One of the things that got me interested in applying for the position was a chance for me, as a researcher, to get some applied research in a real-world application which would be used immediately. The other big attraction was the focus on sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint of projects across the industry.
“Given the recent context of COP26 in Glasgow and the growing global focus on sustainable practice, I believe we will see more and more of this kind of project over the next few years. It is abundantly clear that Smart Surface is a solution for the future – and I wanted to be involved from the very beginning. I’m thrilled to be applying my knowledge and expertise as part of the Mackenzie Construction team on this ground-breaking project.”
Andy Dalrymple, MD at Mackenzie Construction, commented, “We’re delighted to have Bruna on board with this project and are extremely proud to be moving this project forward so that we can support our clients to reach their ambitious net zero targets. Ultimately, the KTP project will enable us to offer our clients a more sustainable and circular surfacing solution and a progressive service resulting in greater reduction in costs, project timings, carbon outputs and environmental impact. We’re very proud of the work done on Smart Surface so far, and welcoming Bruna to the team allows us to take another step towards our goal.”