Building for builders

Paul Gouland, Marketing Director at Clugston Construction, explores the design and build of Leeds College of Building’s new state-of-the-art campus development, and explains how it was delivered successfully through the YORbuild2 regional framework.

Leeds College of Building has built an exceptional reputation for first-class further education on construction, educating future construction professionals since 1960, and offering over 200 courses across a huge range of disciplines. So, when the college set about ambitious plans for a brand-new £13m campus development in Leeds’s South Bank, they knew only an exemplary build would do.

Using the YORbuild2 Contractors Framework to quickly procure its delivery team, Clugston Construction and architectural practice Fuse Studios were appointed, and immediately set about planning the complex logistics and timetable to deliver the whole project.

With such a challenging build programme, and in order to achieve the high standards that Leeds College of Building required, Clugston knew that a collaborative approach with the College was fundamental to seamlessly deliver a comprehensive scheme within tight timescales. By engaging with the client and design team from the early stages of the scheme, Clugston Construction have built a close relationship with the College and design team to ensure effective communication is maintained throughout the building phase.

Supported by an £11.9m grant through the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) growth deal, the state-of-the-art building, which is located alongside the College’s existing South Bank campus, will consist of a 5,200m2 four-storey building with a range of classrooms, workshops and technical support areas.

At the heart of the new facility sits an imposing full height atrium which splits the facility in two clear areas, with the workshops located on one side of the building and the classroom areas situated on the other. Topped with a pair of polyester powder coated (PPC) aluminium framed glazed roof lights, which flood the facilities with natural light, this creates a stunning central space which houses a café and student meeting areas.

A glazed balcony running around the perimeter overlooking the central area maintains an open airy feel, allowing access to the classrooms, meeting rooms and technical workshops on the upper level. In keeping with the desire to create an open and bright atmosphere throughout the College, the design also incorporates full height windows, highlighted by bright green aluminium surrounds, throughout the building.

Externally, the building combines striking grey anodized profile aluminium curtain walling to give the facility a modern look, and complementary grey and red brickwork to maintain the historic architectural elements of the surrounding city.

High-quality materials have been utilised throughout the build, with the roof over the classroom area made up of a single ply membrane over ridged insulated VCC metal decking and purlins, whilst the workshop roof is constructed using a Kingspan KS1000RW composite system featuring aluminium framed north lights.

Constructed with a lightweight steel frame, the result of team wide collaboration, floors are formed using a composite metal deck with an in-situ cast concrete slab. Meanwhile the two lift towers are formed using precast concrete units, which sit within the steel frame.

A number of innovative features are also included internally to enhance the teaching experience for pupils. Specially constructed building pods are situated within the workshop areas. Used to teach plumbing and mechanical and electrical (M&E), the pods are designed to replicate the construction of a typical timber frame building. A number of bespoke pods, with specially installed extract systems, have also been mounted to teach welding skills in a safe environment for pupils.

As well as tight delivery timescales, to meet the start of the 2019 academic year, practical considerations in terms of the build also had to be taken into account.

Situated on a tight parcel of land just off the centre of Leeds, and surrounded by a network of busy roads, considerable thought had to be given to the delivery of the major components and materials.

The College is situated on made up ground which was formerly occupied by industrial process facilities including part of the famous Tetley Brewery. Consequently, developing stable ground conditions for the foundations was an essential requirement. To achieve this, Clugston introduced a number of innovative techniques, including both Rapid Impact Compaction and Dynamic Ground Stabilisation which quickly prepared the terrain. This mitigated the need for piling – delivering cost and programme value engineering savings during the pre-construction stage.

The construction and refurbishment of educational facilities can pose significant challenges for the schools, colleges, universities, and construction companies alike. However, at Leeds College of Building, Clugston Construction has demonstrated how a collaborative approach can help deliver projects to meet key term dates and budgets.

Following the project delivery, Clugston now offers added value by supporting the College’s students by providing technical presentations on construction subjects from health and safety planning to building services, as well as organising visits to other construction sites.

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