In June 2019 R G Carter Cambridge delivered a new state-of-the-art STEM building for The University of Bedfordshire at their Luton campus. Prior to the new block being constructed, enabling works were carried out as part of a separate contract. These works comprised demolition of Blocks F1 and D (including the undercroft below Block D, which was removed and the area backfilled), ground decontamination and diversion of existing services.
The main project comprised of the design and construction of a new four-storey, reinforced concrete frame science block with specialist glazed facades, encompassing interstitial solar shading and sunscreen blades.
The STEM building accommodates a number of different studies, including Engineering, Computer Science, Pharmacy and Life Science Departments on the ground, first, second and third floors respectively. Teaching areas, computer laboratories, administration areas, outreach spaces and a clean room are also housed within the state-of-the-art facility, and the roof accommodates a plant area.
This site presented the team with a number of logistical challenges which had to be safely overcome in order to successfully deliver the scheme. All works were carried out on a ‘live’ University campus, located in the heart of Luton town centre. The close proximity of the general public, staff and students to the construction site and building footprint made each working day a challenge, as the footprint gradually worked its way outwards towards completion, reducing the space in which to work. The site was also surrounded on all four sides by existing buildings, campus Blocks C and E, as well as public highways.
In order to mitigate the risks posed by these site constraints, regular communications and coordination meetings took place that were focused on the management of construction traffic, noisy works, dust management and general health and safety. We also worked closely with utilities providers to ensure that services to the surrounding buildings were not interrupted and that we could successfully connect the new STEM Building into Blocks C and E of the existing campus, without disrupting regular routine.
As a project of significant public interest, site tours were also arranged so that current construction students from the University could get an inside look into how the construction process works. These tours also involved Q&A sessions which coincided with their coursework, this enabled them to directly interact with our site based team.