The research programmes of the Institute encompass the following:
- Development of alternative building materials from local sources.
- Strength and durability of building materials under Ghanaian climatic conditions.
- Development of innovative designs to ensure cost-effectiveness in shelter construction.
- Fast-track construction technologies.
- Evaluation of local clay deposits for possible use in construction.
- Technological properties of lesser-used timber species.
- Studies on termite and fungal attack on timber structures and other building materials and their control.
- Energy in the building industry and the built environment.
- Development and Road construction material specifications to suit the local environment.
- Road safety research comprising traffic surveys, accident black spot analysis, safety auditing of design buildings, and tests of road safety devices;
- Basic data for road planning and design.
- Modern pavement design and construction methods.
- Construction of effective drainage structures using alternative local materials such as timber bridges.
- Assessment and Management of Geological Hazards - Landslides and other Mass Movements, Slope Stability Analysis, Earthquake, etc.
The BRRI and the Institute of Mining and Mineral Engineering of the University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, jointly constitute the International Centre for Material Science and Technology (icmst) . The Centre is a member of the Commission on Sciences and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (comsats) , which has its headquarters in Islamabad Pakistan. The aim of the Centre is to promote improved quality and increased use of indigenous materials by industry, and to attain a standard of expertise in frontier materials science that will be beneficial nationally and internationally.
The Institute has scientists and technologists with a wealth of experience and skills to assist industry. The highly qualified work force includes foundation, civil, structural, geotechnical, ceramic, chemical, transportation and highway engineers as well as chemists, planners, architects, surveyors and information scientists.
The Institute has a Materials Development Laboratory with test kilns, laboratory ovens and equipment for chemical and physical tests of building materials. Other facilities include pilot plant facilities for burnt brick and lime production, concrete testing facilities, and a tile press. The Geotechnical Engineering Division has laboratory equipment for soil classification tests, soil compaction, soil strength tests and rock tests. The Structures Division has miscellaneous equipment, including an Avery Compression Test machine.