Award winning wireless sensors for built environment monitoring

In February 2015 the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) announced the winners of its annual International Innovation and Research (I&R) Awards. The awards were founded over 10 years ago, and highlight the importance of innovation and research within the CIOB’s remit. There are six categories of awards, one of which, the Digital Innovation Award, was won by UtterBerry Wireless Sensors for Built Environment Monitoring. The other categories are discussed in our other article: CIOB Innovation and Research Awards: 2014 winners.

Heva Bevan holding an Utterberry Sensor



The CIOB Digital Innovation Award aims to recognise the most innovative and forward-thinking use of digital technologies in the design, construction or operation of the built environment. Submissions for the Award cover any advanced implementation of digital technologies (e.g. building information modelling, advanced visualisation or simulation, mobile technology, e-commerce) that has improved upon, or extended beyond, current expectations of best practice.
The 2014 Digital Innovation Award went to UtterBerry Wireless Sensors for Built Environment Monitoring. UtterBerry Wireless Sensors are a system developed and patented by Heba Bevan, a PhD Student at the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction, University of Cambridge. Utterberry Sensors fit in the palm of a hand, weighing less than 15 grams each, and are the smallest and lightest wireless sensors of their kind in the world.  

Cast iron lined tunnel in London where sensors have been installed

Hundreds of sensors can be carried by an individual to enable installation in one go. Despite their size, the sensors work to sub-millimetre precision, measuring multiple variables, collecting, processing and interpreting data at source and transmitting information in real time. The sensors use almost no power, are highly accurate and cheaper than both the traditional alternatives and newer technologies such as fibre-optic.

The sensors are a significant breakthrough for the construction and civil engineering industries, able to gather information about the entire infrastructure being monitored.


29 sensors have been installed by Crossrail at the Eleanor Street construction site

They sense their environment and orientation, and measure multiple parameters at once, ensuring a rich dataset is generated so all significant events are recorded and communicated in real time. This allows engineers to quickly make better-informed and cost-effective decisions and reach accurate conclusions regarding structural movements.

UtterBerry sensors are suitable for a wide range of industries and applications. They have already been successfully deployed on tunnelling projects.


Sensors have been used to collect data on the Forth Road Bridge, Scotland

For example 29 sensors have been installed by Crossrail at the Eleanor Street construction site in London. The sensors have enabled Crossrail and Costain to remotely monitor the condition and structural health of the tunnel in a safe and effective manner. They have been able to monitor movements in real time while new tunnel and shaft excavations are conducted.

For further information please contact Dr Chung-Chin Kao, Head of Innovation and Research, the Chartered Institute of Building (E-mail:


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