A registered civil engineer, researcher, project manager and senior leader in a career spanning 40 years, Professor Keith Hampson’s inclusive and inspiring leadership has delivered ‘real-world’ solutions to the built environment industry with award-winning research collaborations that sit at the interface between research and industry.
He has led the transformation of the sector – one traditionally not known for a focus on research – into an industry that is more collaborative, coherent and technology-driven, and welcomes the value that researchers and academic leaders can deliver to boardrooms nationally.
The influential relationships with business, government, policymakers, researchers and educators that Professor Hampson has cultivated form the basis for the continued investment in and research engagement with the Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre (SBEnrc) by industry and research organisations alike for the last 13 years. This support followed the completion of CRC funding for the Centre’s predecessor, the Cooperative Research Centre for Construction Innovation (CRCci). Indeed, the SBEnrc is one of only a few examples of a CRC transitioning into a successful, industry-supported business. It’s an outstanding achievement that can guide the Australian Government’s and CRC Committee’s approach to research funding.
Professor Hampson has overseen research that has delivered major benefits nationally to the built environment, where Australians spend 90 per cent of their time.
So how does research in the built environment translate into our everyday lives?
“The new knowledge and innovative processes applied to the built environment have increased industry skills, improved sustainability and productivity, reduced costs, increased safety and influenced industry policy and research processes,” Professor Hampson said.
“This has been achieved through our collaborative national and global research projects, and the delivery of best-practice models, policy contributions, published research, conference presentations and case studies.”
One particular highlight of Professor Hampson’s leadership in research collaboration is the project he masterminded for Australia’s most famous icon: the Sydney Opera House.
“The Sydney Opera House Facilities Management (FM) Exemplar Project in 2004 evolved into an integral component of the Australian Government’s FM Action Agenda in 2005,” Professor Hampson said.
“The research showed that data on the physical structure of a building (obtained through a retrospectively generated 3D digital model of the building and its relationship to objects such as lifts, ventilation and fire systems) can be integrated with FM functions like condition reporting, energy consumption, room bookings and occupancy to provide more effective ways to manage the building’s operations, maintenance and strategic functions.”
The internationally seminal project remains a leading example of Australian industry and research working collaboratively to enable benefits of Building Information Modelling (BIM) in practice. Among other awards, it won the 2007 Association of Consulting Engineers Australia (now Consult Australia) Awards for Excellence – Special Merit Project of the Year, the first ever for a non-physical project, for adopting BIM for FM as a solution for the Sydney Opera House.
More broadly, Professor Hampson led a campaign to bring about change through the uptake of digitisation across the infrastructure and building supply chain. This has seen an increase in BIM and Digital Engineering adoption. His team developed online industry decision-support tools BIM Value and BIM Value Benchmarking.
Professor Hampson and his teams have now progressed to cross-sector Digital Asset Information Model Framework for Asset Management, completing a set of digital standards and valuable industry case studies across the supply chain of planning, design, construction and asset management for buildings and infrastructure.
The enduring benefit to community is improved quality of the built environment, delivered and managed more effectively and sustainably through a more productive whole-of-life supply chain.
Through the development of construction safety effectiveness indicators and partnering with industry training providers including Engineers Australia, 16,000 Australian construction workers, and their families, have benefited from Certificate 3 and Certificate 4 training programs to improve site safety, based on CRCci/SBEnrc best practice for safer construction research.
With considerable experience operating in complex multidisciplinary environments in planning, design, construction and maintenance, Professor Hampson has also managed university teaching, industry and government teams, and initiated, led and built national and international collaborations in research, technology diffusion and commercialisation.
His leadership of industry-focused research teams has secured A$70 million in competitive and industry R&D funding.
Under Professor Hampson’s leadership, the CRCci and SBEnrc have nurtured individuals to succeed in the built environment sector through their involvement in the Centre’s collaborative research projects, policy, practice, published research and conference presentations across the globe.
He is an advocate for gender equity in engineering and developing the career trajectory of young researchers.
As Immediate Past President of the CIB (International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction), Professor Hampson has stimulated global leadership of Early Career Researchers by establishing and funding the CIB Early Career Researcher–Industry Award, in perpetuity.
“The purpose of the annual award is to promote new and innovative connections between young researchers and the built environment industry globally,” he said.
“The challenge in securing a capable and committed workforce for the future is fundamental – and encouraging our young researchers to work side by side with industrial partners is a vital part of that. I trust this will assist in delivering practical solutions for some of the world’s most challenging issues.”
Professor Keith Hampson FTSE
Chief Executive Officer, Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre (SBEnrc)
Chief Executive Officer and founder of the Sustainable Built Environment National Research Centre (SBEnrc), Australia, Professor Keith Hampson was elevated to an Honorary Fellow of Engineers Australia in October 2022, in recognition of his outstanding achievement.
The SBEnrc, established in 2010, is the successor to the Commonwealth-supported Cooperative Research Centre for Construction Innovation (CRCci). The Centre is a unique collaboration in construction supply chain research. It has A$2.3 million annual investment from 40 business, state government and research partners across Australia, leveraging an additional A$4 million from Commonwealth competitive grant funding.
Professor Hampson was elected a Fellow of the Academy in 2018, for his award-winning collaborations translating research into practice in the construction industry.