Construction News

Wed October 28 2020

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Bell & Webster delivers over 500 precast student rooms in Southend

28 May 10 Bell & Webster has supplied its structural precast concrete rooms system to Hollybrook for new student accommodation at the University of Essex.

Bell & Webster has supplied its structural precast concrete rooms system to Hollybrook for new student accommodation at the University of Essex.

Comprising 561 student bedrooms, the completed project required a total of 2,251 Bell & Webster factory engineered concrete units.

With 1,296 wall units and a build height of 10 storeys, the new building has been constructed to create a strong, robust structure that can be installed and fixed far quicker than most alternative building systems for this scale of building.

The offsite engineered wall units were manufactured by Bell & Webster Concrete and installed by their specialist installation teams, helping to speed up the overall construction and finishing processes.

Site costs were kept to a minimum by ensuring that the initial construction phase including the installation of bathroom pods would be completed on time, making way for following trades to install the crucial services needed to run the building itself.

Good project planning between Bell & Webster and Hollybrook kept project costs down by using just one installation team rather than two as originally planned at the design stage. All the building works were completed on time, in spite of the harsh winter weather conditions that were experienced on site with no adverse effect to the overall project timeline.

The construction consists of load bearing crosswalls supporting single span floor slabs in reinforced concrete with prestressed concrete used for the longer span common rooms and kitchens. The walls are laterally restrained by the floor slabs.

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External walls laterally restrain the building in the orthogonal direction to the crosswalls. The floor slabs act as a diaphragm and their plate action carries all lateral loads, from wind and notional loads, down through each floor level to foundation level in shear and moment actions. Progressive collapse and floorplate action is provided through cast in vertical and horizontal ties.

“Hollybrook’s selection of the Bell & Webster system was based on extensive research, visiting similar contracts and visiting the factory to see their design and manufacturing processes,” explained Andy Suttle, Construction Director for Hollybrook.

“The Bell & Webster system is suited to the University scheme because it offers offsite modular benefits combined with speed of erection onsite.”

Close liaison with Bell and Webster at design stage and through the construction process, assisted in producing a fast track build to meet the needs of this University Development.

James Taylor, site manager from Bell & Webster, said: “Due to the town centre location of the site, there have been no facilities to hold delivery vehicles and no opportunity to use fork lift trucks making the offloading procedure difficult.

“By providing weekly updated delivery schedules to Hollybrook, we have been able to overcome this issue, helping to ensure that the pre-cast elements could be delivered to site in a timely manner. By working in this way, Hollybrook’s have been able to plan deliveries and crane hook time around our needs ensuring we always had the correct loading bay and tower crane available when required.”

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