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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
100% payment within 30 days terms
BREEAM Very Good
94% waste diverted from landfill
100% timber responsibly sourced
CCS Score 44/45
22 jobs created
724 trainee weeks
Schools engagement: 224 students
£9183.00 donations to charity
114 volunteer hours
74% social value created
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