Mackenzie Construction has appointed Bruna Lopes, Smart Surfaces Research Associate, to support the development of its sustainable Smart Surface coatings offering.
The appointment comes after the company successfully secured funding from Innovate UK for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Strathclyde.
The KTP is the leading European program helping companies improve their competitiveness by enabling companies to work with higher education or research and technology organizations to acquire knowledge, technologies or skills of strategic competitive importance. The UK-wide program is overseen by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, and supported by 16 other public sector funding bodies.
Mackenzie Construction launched Smart Surface in 2018, as the conversation around net zero and reducing carbon emissions in the civil engineering industry gained momentum. Smart Surface is a proven, fast and innovative binding solution that provides an efficient and durable option for coating by stabilizing existing soil conditions to create or repair paths, roads and hard terrains. When there are enough materials on site, it is possible to have zero aggregate imports and zero off-site waste disposal, which significantly reduces the environmental footprint of projects and contributes to the circular economy, while supporting the path to net zero.
Working closely with Conor Boyle, Manager of Smart Surfaces at Mackenzie Construction, and the Strathclyde University team of Dr Matteo Pedrotti and Professor Alessandro Tarantino, Bruna will study the interaction between binder and soil, in order to provide clear technical specifications for smart surfaces that guarantee soil stability. in multiple environments and applications.
Bruna explained her role on the project: “My current role is to understand and improve the existing processes and practices that have been developed by Mackenzie Construction over the past six years. Once I have a clear understanding of the step-by-step procedures that are in place, I will do some lab testing to establish a full set of guidelines for a range of soils and situations. This will facilitate comprehensive and adaptive procedures that will allow the Smart Surface service to be delivered consistently, regardless of the environment.
Mackenzie Construction has extensively tested its Smart Surface service with clients from a variety of industries including Paths for All, Perth and Kinross Council, Scottish Water, and Scottish Canals. However, to test and further develop the offer, the company has identified a need to improve its geomechanical capabilities and to characterize and validate the performance of its binder product in a range of environmental profiles, in order to support the development of a versatile and durable road surfacing solution. .
Sharing the reasons she applied for the position, Bruna added: “One of the things that interested me in applying for the position was a chance for me as a researcher to get applied research in a real application that would be used immediately. The other big draw was the emphasis on sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint of projects across the industry.
“Given the recent context of COP26 in Glasgow and the growing global interest in sustainable practices, I think we will see more and more of this type of project over the next few years. It’s quite clear that Smart Surface is a solution for the future – and I wanted to be involved from the start. I am delighted to apply my knowledge and expertise within the Mackenzie Construction team to this revolutionary project.
Andy Dalrymple, Managing Director of Mackenzie Construction, said: “We are delighted to have Bruna on board this project and are extremely proud to move this project forward so that we can help our clients achieve their ambitious net zero goals. Ultimately, the KTP project will allow us to offer our customers a more sustainable and circular coating solution and progressive service resulting in greater reduction in costs, project times, carbon emissions and impact. environmental. We are very proud of the work done on Smart Surface so far, and welcoming Bruna to the team takes us one step closer to our goal.