East Slope, University of Sussex
Demolition of 600 existing student rooms and construction of 2,117 new student beds, associated amenities, campus infrastructure and the shell and core of a student services facility.
The new accommodation will comprise 1,482 beds in 6-8 bed cluster flats and 635 in 10-11 bed townhouses. Student amenities include bookable study areas, three social hubs and two cashless laundries.
Design engagement to create an excellent student experience
Our design was developed through extensive engagement with the University. Key design issues included keeping within the planning parameters established by the University’s masterplan, blending the design with the existing Sir Basil Spence campus, elements of which have Grade 1 listing, and providing well designed landscaped areas with usable external spaces on a sloping site.
To enhance the students experience the design is highly social with kitchens and common rooms at the entrance, bookable study areas and social hubs, which students can enjoy for dinner parties and movie evenings, as well as integrated cashless laundries. The design also benefits from a central reception and post room with areas to relax and socialise.
From an environmental perspective the design is BREEAM excellent and includes a calcareous grassland as an environmental impact measure. Other sustainable design features include PV’s grey water harvesting, PIRs, LED lighting and smart meters linked to an energy usage programme.
The sloping chalk site required a 30,000m3 of bulk excavation. We developed a sustainable solution to minimise arisings sent to land fill.
We also helped facilitate a student energy project to incentivise energy conscious behaviour and reduce utility costs.
Impact of construction
To minimise the impact of construction on campus life a four-year programme was developed utilising light weight steel frame modular construction. This means that there will be no net loss of accommodation to the University during the construction phase, and occupation can be staggered to meet the University’s intake of students in September and January each year.
The sloping site has also required extensive civil engineering work to terrace the slope and we have worked closely to integrate the project with existing campus infrastructure such as the district heating system.
The project was funded through the capital markets following an assessment of funding options by Balfour Beatty. A bond pricing competition was also utilised to secure competitive pricing.
Responsibility for operations is shared between us and the University. Under the arrangement we will provide management expertise to the project vehicle, known as the Residential Development Partnership (RDP), which is co-owned with the University. Services we provide to the RDP will include the management of the project life cycle fund, utilities management and an energy usage programme to incentivise energy conscious behaviour. The RDP will also enter a services agreement with Balfour Beatty to provide hard FM, laundry and IT services. As the RDPs FM contractor we provide a customer focused personal service through a directly employed dedicated site team which minimises the need to subcontract services.
Figures are accurate as of our 2020 full-year results.