Mar 13, 2015
Offsite construction’s role in meeting demand for student accommodation
Student accommodation is currently being viewed as a ‘hot topic’ with the recent announcement of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board's (CPPIB) purchase of Liberty Living, a large student accommodation provider, just one of many indicators highlighting a thriving sector.
Student accommodation offers contractors and student accommodation providers with myriad opportunities provided they can balance cost and speed with quality and performance – getting it right has never been more important.
Last year universities saw record admissions with around half a million students accepted for first year places. Meanwhile Universities UK estimates that at least £8 billion is being spent by higher education institutions on facilities to help drive up standards. With this in mind, offsite construction presents a cost-effective and efficient means to meet the need for high-quality, low-maintenance accommodation – whatever the building schedule or architectural specification.
With components manufactured offsite in quality-controlled, factory conditions, this method of construction offers cost-savings including shorter build programmes, less waste and associated hazards on site, and reduced requirement for follow-on trades.
By using timber systems contractors can make the most of a sustainable material produced in an industry which is geared up to increase capacity during periods of high demand, with materials precision engineered to meet performance standards. The built-in aspect of using offsite construction also means that costs are set which helps with budgets and profit margins.
In addition, timber is inherently low-carbon and reduces the embodied carbon dioxide of a building by up to six times when used instead of more energy intensive materials. It is sustainable and readily available.
Timber systems are designed to maximise thermal performance and minimise air leakage, meaning well-insulated, higher performance accommodation that won't need expensive add-on technologies to enhance its environmental performance.
All of this should combine to make timber systems an attractive choice for those looking at student accommodation – projects which are often carried out outside of term time and need to be delivered on time ahead of the start of the next academic year.
Our track record for delivering student accommodation is tried and tested. We’ve helped build a range of different types of accommodation across the UK, with the common denominator of streamlined build programmes, delivered on-time and within budget:
- Plymouth University's first on-campus combined student and medical staff accommodation at the Knowledge Spa, Royal Cornwall Hospital. This 232 bed development comprises seven blocks of four-storey units, arranged as a series of self-contained four and five bedroom flats.
- Essex University's BREEAM Excellent standard student accommodation site comprising of 228 bedrooms across 19 four-storey townhouses as part of the University’s Knowledge Gateway.
- The Green at Bradford University, a new eco-friendly student village which was the first multi-residential building in the UK - and one of only 15 buildings worldwide - to attain BREEAM ‘Outstanding' performance. The 1,026-bed development comprises six blocks of four-storey townhouses, one block of six storey flats and two blocks of seven storey flats.
If you have a student accommodation project in planning or underway, and would like to discuss how timber systems might help you reduce costs, increase performance and deliver on time and within budget, please get in touch or Tweet @TimberSystems for more information.