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Brilliant minds finding solutions to complex problems, made easy to understand. Making complex easy.

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A day in the life of a Senior Building Physics Engineer

Meet Gianni Bawn, who recently joined our Building Performance team. His role focuses on improving the energy performance of buildings to enhance comfort and functionality while reducing the environmental impacts of their construction and operation.

12 January 2024 | 4 min read
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How has your previous experience set you up for this role?

I began my professional journey as a mechanical engineer, gaining a deeper understanding of Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, which I've incorporated into my work while bridging the gap between our disciplines. As a building physicist, I have experience working across various sectors, such as healthcare, education, commercial, and residential. Each of these has brought unique challenges and shaped me into a more experienced building physicist capable of working on diverse projects.

When did you become interested in Building Performance?

Although I had gained an initial interest in building physics at university, it wasn't until I was fully immersed in the industry that I recognised the real-world impact of building performance and became determined to specialise in this field. Not only did I see how building physics could make a real difference in the world, but also the potential for this discipline to grow and progress, and I wanted to be a part of that.

What has been the most exciting project you’ve worked on?

Working on the Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal (R&R) project was the highlight of my career. Being involved in one of the UK's most iconic and prestigious buildings was an honour, and conducting bespoke studies on this historic landmark was incredibly fulfilling.

Why is Building Performance important?

The built environment is one of the largest sources of carbon emissions on our planet. Engaging the building physics team in the projects at the earliest stages of design provides a significant opportunity to reduce energy consumption and minimise carbon emissions.

Building performance also considers the health and wellbeing of the building occupants. By using complex dynamic models of the building, we can identify and mitigate any risks of overheating or poor indoor air quality to ensure the building occupants are as safe and comfortable as possible.

How has Building Performance evolved over the years, and what do you anticipate for the future?


Over my six years in the building services industry, there has been a shift towards actual detailed building performance modelling as the industry becomes more aware of the dynamic modelling capabilities that we can provide. 

My hope for the future is for this progression to continue and eventually for us to collectively move away from a compliance modelling mentality to make way for more accurate dynamic energy modelling.

What do some of your day-to-day activities involve?

Since joining RPS, I've worked closely with the design team on multiple projects, with my primary responsibilities centred on working with dynamic models to analyse building energy and thermal performance while assisting our building physics team. It's been a great experience learning from a diverse range of experts and seeing how the multi-disciplinary team support each other throughout a project's lifecycle.

Why RPS?

RPS is a respected, world-renowned company, and it’s a privilege to represent them. However, what sets the company apart is the people. RPS has some of the most talented people in their respective fields, creating a reservoir of knowledge in all areas of this industry, and I saw the opportunity of working here as a real honour.

Gianni Bawn

What key advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in Building Physics?

If you're interested in pursuing a career in building physics, my advice is to think about how you can apply your knowledge, background, and skillset to bring a unique and valuable perspective to the work. To help bridge the communication and knowledge gap between building physics and other disciplines like engineering or architecture.