Arts University Bournemouth Student Accommodation

Note: This project was procured and completed under SCF Construct prior to SCF Residential launch.

Arts University Bournemouth Student Accomodation

Bournemouth

Project Details

Client

Arts University Bournemouth

Project Manager

AECOM

Architect

Design Engine Architects

Contractor

Morgan Sindall

Value

£24.5m

Project Summary

Morgan Sindall Construction was appointed by Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) to deliver a new £24.5m, 299-bed student accommodation scheme as part of continued investment into the university’s main campus.

The project was part of the next phase of the university’s redevelopment, which was 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 that there was a major focus on sustainability and design throughout.

It was a truly innovative and collaborative process with AUB and our project partners to deliver a unique building which reflected the university’s core ethos. It demanded an incredible effort from the whole team, from AUB to the design team and across our supply chain – it extracted the best of our collective abilities.

The project is on track to achieve a BREEAM Very Good rating and demonstrates the university’s ongoing commitment to creating forward-thinking, sustainable buildings. Rather than one high-rise standardised block, the accommodation is formed of three buildings spread across 11 blocks. This consists of one main L shaped building made up of 7 blocks and two smaller buildings made up of pairs of blocks. Each building ranges from three to four storeys, with standard bedroom accommodation in each block, and each floorplate cluster features eight bedrooms with a communal kitchen and dining area. One of the blocks features solely self-contained studios, in line with DDA requirements where a small number of accessible studios are also included. All blocks are set out around a landscaped courtyard, allowing direct access to adjacent blocks. Many of the kitchens/communal space also face into this courtyard and towards each other to further improve the feel of student community and belonging.

The buildings are clad in specialist basket-weave brickwork, with features like projecting ‘halo’ style corner windows carefully designed to help integrate the buildings into both the campus and surrounding residential environment.

Community Engagement

It was important we maintained regular communications with the university and their project team, to mitigate any potential disruption and keep them updated of ongoing works as well as daily communications with the university’s estates team. We also had a dedicated contact on site for the university, which ensured we maintained an open and honest working relationship with the university throughout the works.

As we were working in such close proximity to the students, we built excellent working relationships with them as well. The university allowed us to use their catering facilities, enabling our workforce to integrate with the students; as well as demonstrating the university’s faith in our team. 

We conducted student visits for the art department and architecture department.  The art department had a site visit one morning in the site welfare offices, where we provided a brief overview of the project and they had the opportunity to draw the works in progress and activities happening on site. For the architecture students, we provided two site tours with 20 students, with a presentation and Q&A session. We took them on a site walk-through of the key stages of the building so they could see the complete sequence of the works at different build stages. We also showed them the different methods of construction.  This provided university students with a practical insight into construction to assist with their course studies, as well as further developing strong working relationships with the university.

Health and wellbeing days were offered to 50 attendees from our supply chain across 2 days giving them practical information to help improve productivity and their health and wellness.  Each attendee received a lifestyle review and health check including weight, BMI, body fat %, muscle mass%, visceral fat rating, cholesterol and blood glucose levels.

Key Challenges

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.

To manage the programme slippage, 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.

Despite, these issues, we managed to successfully complete this project on the 6 November 2020.

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, therefore we undertook a detailed Value Engineering (VE) process to collaboratively develop a solution which met both their 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.

As a result of the above, all VE targeted across all design disciplines was realised without compromising the agreed design intent or quality.

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.

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.

Everyone worked tirelessly to help the team on the ground to deliver this fantastic project successfully.

Project Takeaways

Our Success

Meeting client’s budget through VE

  • We collaboratively undertook a thorough VE exercise to bring the project to an acceptable budget, while also meeting their design intent, which was a key driver for the client. We produced a thorough and priced VE schedule which was a ‘pick list’ for the client so they could select the items they wished to change. We discussed these options with the client and their design team through several workshops. Wanting to keep to the original design, the client took on-board the VE options which aligned with the aspects of the design which were important to them.

Not stopping during Covid-19

  • Construction work continued, with successful completion in November 2020, despite the limitations of the Covid-19 pandemic. Following the lockdown announcement in mid-March, it became apparent we needed to change our set-up and reduce the number of operatives on site to meet social distance and Covid-19 SOPS requirements.
  • To overcome this, and be able to 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 lead 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 needed intense daily management and coordination, right through to completion and the team rose to the occasion.
  • Our relationship and strong support from AUB massively helped 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.

Our Learnings

Intumescent paint

  • From this project, we have learnt that application of the intumescent paint would be better undertaken in a more controlled environment and sprayed off-site. We are now applying this off-site on our projects at Calthorpe School and Hillbourne School.

Lessons learnt through VE

  • Contractor involvement during stage 3 to assist alignment of design and budget
  • Endeavour to use a project team with previous multi-room experience

Value Added

  • Through early engagement of specialist experience and skills, the framework really helped to streamline the procurement process at the front end of the project and improve the efficiency and value for money that our team delivered.

KPI’s & Statistics

  • Average CCS Score: 44
  • Waste diverted from landfill: 94%
  • £9,183 charitable donations
  • 114 volunteer hours