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Aston Webb Student Hub, University of Birmingham


Aston Webb Student Hub, University of Birmingham

Aston Webb Student Hub construction

We completed an extensive renovation and refurbishment of a Grade II* listed building located in the heart of the University’s busy Edgbaston Campus.

This project involved extensive internal alteration, modification and refurbishment works, including significant structural works to ensure the integrity of the existing structure and the successful retention of the existing facade.

The completed building offers:

  • 250 seat lecture theatre
  • 170m2 Student Services Hub
  • Employability centre and seminar rooms Gross internal floor area of 3500m2 including 1400m2 of new mezzanine floor space
  • Refurbishment of original 1900 metal window system and new secondary glazing system
  • New internal and external mechanical plant areas.

Preconstruction Services

Original Tender: We originally tendered this project in December 2012. Our submission included a number of ideas and suggestions on programme, methodology and how to improve the proposed design solutions. However, owing to the very limited survey information available we, like our competitors, excluded any responsibility for the existing structure or for the impact of construction noise on the neighbouring campus facilities.

Interim Preconstruction Advice and Surveys: After discussions the University adopted a number of our proposals and asked all tenderers to provide a schedule of surveys and information that were required for us to take responsibility for the structure and construction noise. At this point a number of contractors withdrew from the process. But we provided an extensive survey list including:

  • Exposing foundations and determining slab depths
  • Condition Surveys of the steelwork, padstones and brick piers
  • Localised removal of finishes to trusses and soffits
  • Acoustic tests when different types of machinery were in operation

The University subsequently set up these surveys directly to allow us and the other remaining contractors to witness them and gain satisfaction of the results and findings.

Re-tender: We re-tendered the project in December 2013 on the basis of these survey findings and the updated tender information, taking responsibility for the existing structure and construction noise as requested. After interviews and clarifications we were then awarded the Contract.

Pre-construction Programming and Methodology Advice: As part of both tenders we provided programme, methodology and management advice including a number of details relating to temporary works measures that were needed. This included how to access large pieces of steelwork through the live campus and into the existing building.

In addition to the usual planning and methodology processes that we go through on every project to ensure a high level of service delivery and customer satisfaction, we employed a number of specific working methods on this project. These were:

  • Building Information Modelling (BIM) – This project was the first BIM enabled scheme undertaken by the University. The federated model was invaluable for clash detection and allowing us to utilise off site fabrication. This allowed us to accurately fabricate steel connections to the existing structure off site eliminating hot works and allow the steel loading out to be sequenced to avoid unnecessary disruption in the heart of the live campus environment.
  • CDA –This was the first of our sites to implement our CDA (Construction Delivery Application) software. This allows our project team and supply chain foreman to capture and categorise a variety of issues while on site detailing their location and providing photographic evidence to allow these snags to be addressed quickly and effectively. The mobile app also captures data and trends for application on subsequent projects allowing us to refine our processes and deliver a right first time approach.
  • Monitoring noise throughout the structure – Due to the very strict noise restrictions placed on the works, we developed ‘silent, quiet and unseen’ work protocols to allow work to continue whilst not disturbing the neighbouring University activities. Maximum noise levels were then tested at various points throughout the buildings to make sure these predetermined levels were being met. Where the levels were not being met, work was stopped.
Original steel Crittal windows were removed, renovated off site and reinstated rather than replacing with new

Project vitals




University of Birmingham






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We work with high profile government and private sector clients, delivering everything from minor property services roll-outs to large complex construction projects.

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