We are delighted to have recently secured another major student living development in the business, this time through our Manchester office…
The project will provide over 1200-bedrooms, on-campus for the University of Liverpool. We were invited to partner with long-term client Ocon Construction to bid via the OJEU (Office Journal of the European Union) process for the scheme. We started the bid in December last year and went through a comprehensive two-stage bid process, taking our designs for the project to RIBA Stage C/D. Since winning the bid, we have already submitted the proposals for Planning Permission.
The University of Liverpool is a teaching and research university in the city of Liverpool, England. It is a member of the Russell Group of large research-intensive universities and the N8 Group for research collaboration. Founded in 1881 (as a university college), it is also one of the six original “red brick” civic universities. The university has produced nine Nobel Prize winners and offers more than 230 first degree courses across 103 subjects. It has an annual turnover of £340 million, including £123 million for research. (source: Wikipedia).
We were selected by Ocon, who are recognised sector leaders in constructing student accommodation, because of our diversity of experience in the sector – they know that we can ‘add value’ based on our ability to not only design, but also deliver successful schemes. The key to our success is in balancing good, informed design with commercial understanding. Making these transactions work is about meeting (and exceeding!) the clients aspirations and requirements, whilst also ensuring it can be built on time/ budget and achieve a good lifecycle.
While the economic downturn/ funding availability has reduced the level of off-campus private development, we have seen the Universities increase their concentration in this area. Why? Well if students are paying up to £9000 a year in fees, they will expect not only outstanding academic standards in their courses and facilities, but also accommodation which is modern, well situated and includes all the latest facilities. I think its fair to say that accommodation does make up an important part of a students decision when choosing where to study – and because of that; the bar is being continually raised in this hugely competitive market.
Universities remain a strong focus for us as a business – they are hugely interesting clients to work with and offer some excellent design opportunities.