Somerset firm lands £1.7m contract for new university campus

Frenchay campus

A Somerset firm has landed a £1.7m contract to provide 757 bathroom pods for a new student campus.

Offsite Solutions has already delivered 16 pod projects for VINCI Building which includes major student accommodation schemes for universities in Swansea, Cardiff, Coventry, and Liverpool.

This latest project is for the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) – and it is the Bridgwater firm’s third for the university.

The highly sustainable development is one of the largest Passivhaus projects in the UK. It is designed to provide a high level of comfort for students whilst using very little energy for heating and cooling.

The buildings aim to yield a reduction of around 50 per cent in running costs and carbon emissions.

To help achieve this, the cold water pipework in the bathroom pods will be insulated and the thermostatic shower and mixer taps for the hand basins are designed to run at lower temperatures.

Steve O’Leary, regional business services manager at VINCI Building, said: “I have managed the procurement and delivery of around 3,500 pods manufactured by Offsite Solutions in the past nine years.

“Their approach suits VINCI Building’s model of student accommodation very well. They have robust factory testing processes in place which mean the quality is better and more consistent. In my view, Offsite Solutions’ pods are the best in their sector and I would not hesitate to recommend.

“This solution reduces the numerous trades for bathroom construction to a single supplier, which results in a considerable time saving. Each bathroom typically takes around three weeks to construct traditionally, whereas with offsite manufacturing, we just have to position the pods, make connections, and hang the doors. This is incredibly fast.”

James Stephens, the managing director of Offsite Solutions, said, “We have a history of working with VINCI Building which spans many years. We are delighted to be collaborating with their team once again and on this highly sustainable student living project in Bristol – a campus we have already worked on.

“This is an exciting development which will help to meet the rising demand for modern, high quality student living whilst demonstrating a clear commitment to addressing climate change issues.  It is a ground-breaking project which will set new standards for the development of sustainable student accommodation.”

Hot water distribution losses can be a major source of energy consumption and can lead to overheating risk. With a Passivhaus specification, the hot and cold water pipework, brackets and fittings are all insulated.

Due for completion for the 2023/24 student intake, this phase of the Frenchay Campus development will provide 900 bedspaces in three buildings spanning over 26,000sqm and in clusters of four, six and eight bedrooms and with ensuite or shared bathrooms.

The architects are Stride Treglown with Amber as MEP designers.


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