Dr Derek Thomson

BSc (Hons) PgCert PhD FHEA MRICS

  • Programme Director BSc (Hons) Commercial Management and Quantity Surveying
  • Senior Lecturer in Quantity Surveying

Research and expertise

  • Value management and value engineering.
  • Design management; design decision making; concept design development; design reuse.
  • Role of visual information on construction sites, particlularly at the site operative level.
  • Quantification of intangibes (e.g. social value; design quality).
  • The PRS housing sector.
  • Building platforms; systematised construction; offsite fabrication.
  • Property development and the property market.

Recent publications

McCarthy, C, Thomson, D, Barnard, S, Dainty, A (2019) Pushing the limits: The need for a behavioural approach to equality in Civil EngineeringInternational Journal of Gender, Science and Technology, 11(1), pp.146-174, ISSN: 2040-0748.

Forster, AM, Thomson, D, Richards, K, Pilcher, N, Vettese, S (2018) Western and Eastern building conservation philosophies: perspectives on permanence and impermanenceInternational Journal of Architectural Heritage, 13(6), pp.870-885, ISSN: 1558-3058. DOI: 10.1080/15583058.2018.1490827

Grove, E, Dainty, A, Thomson, D, Thorpe, T (2018) Becoming collaborative: a study of intra-organisational rational dynamicsJournal of Financial Management of Property and Construction, 23(1), pp.6-23, ISSN: 1366-4387. DOI: 10.1108/JFMPC-06-2017-0018.



I specialis in issues of value and how it relates to, and is perceived in, the built environment. Originally a Quantity Surveyor, I rapidly realised that value has little to do with price or any other numerical representation. After finding this in client-side QS practice, I returned to academia to investigate value analysis and value management. While I remain impassioned about the insights these techniques can bring to investment effectiveness (and, others than I would argue, improving value for money), I concluded that they have little to do with value in its truest sense.

This insight caused me to further study the nature of design itself and the affective consequences of the artefacts we create: not just in construction. This clarified my thoughts in the intractable relationship of value and the values of those perceiving it. On studying these philosophical principles of value further and, becoming dismayed by the shortcomings of the DQI and advocates of design patterns, I sought my own funding to delve further into these issues.