Arts University Bournemouth Student Accommodation

  • Client

    Arts University Bournemouth

  • Contractor

  • Value


  • Completion Date

    November 2020

New build 299-bed student accommodation delivered as part of continued investment into the university’s main campus which is central to AUB’s future aspirations to grow its reputation as a leading arts university.  This project was unusual for a student accommodation project given the major focus on sustainability and design throughout to reflect the university’s core ethos.  The accommodation is formed of 3 buildings spread across 11 blocks set around a landscaped courtyard.

The Challenge

Intumescent paint
To successfully apply the full system of intumescent paint, we required three days of good continuous weather at a good regular temperature. During construction, wet weather conditions meant we could not apply the paint as required, which resulted in programme delay.

Meeting client’s budget and design intent
One of the client’s key drivers was the visual impact of the new building. However, the original design intent did not meet the client’s budget.

Covid-19 pandemic
When the lockdown occurred in mid-March 2020, the project was ramping up at just under 200 operatives working on the scheme. It was peaking at our planned full production flow, both internally, on the fit-out, and on the external envelope in parallel.

Within a week, it became very apparent, as the Government made essential announcements, that the site set-up and logistics needed to change drastically to meet social distance and Covid-19 SOPs requirements. This was alongside daily concerns of whether there would be enough materials and PPE continuity, all having to be constantly micro-managed from one day to the next by the site team, supply chain and MS procurement structure.

Initially, there was no choice but to force a scaling down of the workforce to about a third, then look to progressively increase back to similar numbers with more managed productivity, as well as:

  • Re-assessing everything from turning our logistics plans on their heads
  • Implementing daily changes to site flow and plant segregation to prioritise pedestrian social distancing, in and around the building, to all active workfaces
  • Major changes at all workfaces themselves to ensure works could proceed in a safe, socially distanced manner, whatever the trade.

The Solution

Intumescent paint
We re-mapped the programme so we would get back on track with the start of enclosing the building and having trigger points for the internal trades which had slipped due to the issues with the paint. During this time, we also had the impact of Covid-19, which meant we had to comply with socially distanced requirements where only one trade was allowed per floor as opposed to having several trades working together on the same floor to catch-up with the programme.

Meeting client’s budget and design intent
We undertook a detailed Value Engineering (VE) process to collaboratively develop a solution which met both client’s budget and design aspirations. As part of the exercise, we looked at changing blockwork partitions to lightweight construction. In addition, we produced a ‘pick list’ of costed VE options for the Client to consider and held workshops with the Client’s team to present and review all options available; ranging from specification changes, to a full redesign of the scheme. The client took on-board the VE options which aligned with the aspects of the design which were important to them.

Covid-19 pandemic
To overcome this and be able to progressively return to strong productivity, we implemented a systematic one trade per floor social distancing requirement. This was particularly important with the sheer intensity of internal fit-out works inside the floorplates. On the envelope, the need to socially distance on the scaffold led to lowered numbers of operatives on any one elevation, however it meant an increase in numbers of active elevations at any one time.

From this scaled down position, we then progressively ramped trades back up as space, progress within zones, and materials supply continuity all gradually improved.

All of this still needed intense daily management and coordination, right through to completion and the team rose to the occasion.

Our relationship and strong support from AUB helped massively with provision of temporary space for welfare within the university, as well as increased ground space allocation during these difficult times to spread out our welfare arrangements. Each of our supply chain partners, alongside the entire Morgan Sindall team, encouraged manufacturers and suppliers to keep production high and supply channels open.


The Results

Despite the above issues, we managed to successfully complete this project in November 2020. All VE targeted across all design disciplines was realised without compromising the agreed design intent or quality. Everyone worked tirelessly to help the team on the ground to deliver this fantastic project successfully and to a delighted client who gave us a recommended score of 9/10. The project also received a Considerate Constructor’s Scheme Certificate of Excellence.




SME Spend


Added Value


Client Satisfaction

Client Testimonials

“It was a fantastic journey with a great team and I really enjoyed it. I actually miss having them on campus. What I liked is that they cared about the project, they cared about the programme, but they also cared about the University and how much the project would impact our staff and students. They weren’t just focused on the operations, they really cared about making sure the project delivered for the University when it was finished.” 

“The students are so impressed. I think that’s why they had such a good summer here as well, because they were so excited as the accommodation is so good. Not only does it meet high quality expectations, it meets the well-being objectives we had as well. Students need somewhere they can go back and study, or switch off and relax. It can become intense at University so they do need that comfort. Achieving that here has been vital.”

“It has that immediate wow factor. We wanted to deliver accommodation that matched the high level quality of the campus, and practice what we preach here as a creative and innovative university, and I think we definitely have that here. The standard of the rooms is top notch, and the little touches like the heating system you can switch on from your bed, the room lighting, the landscaping and external lighting are all excellent. It is so well designed, but most importantly the students are happy. I keep saying about quality but for many students, accommodation is top of their list, and their parents list, in University choice. It’s so crucial.”

Contractor Performance | Commitments


100% payment within 30 days terms


BREEAM Very Good

94% waste diverted from landfill

100% timber responsibly sourced



CCS Score 44/45


45 beneficiaries

32 SMEs

22 jobs created

724 trainee weeks

Schools engagement: 224 students

£9183.00 donations to charity

114 volunteer hours

74% social value created


Handover & Aftercare Contractor Promise

Soft landings for handover

Dedicated Morgan Sindall point of contact

On-line portal for notifying any defects with 3 priority categories for response times

SCF Framework Manager

Kingsley Clarke


Phone: 07805760622

Contractor Framework Manager

Alan Smedley


Phone: 07967 686066