Using a federated BIM Environment to BIM Level 2, our civil and structural engineering team designed a new, three-storey building for Oldham College, on a brownfield site. We designed the foundations using insitu continuous flight augered piles to support a grid of reinforced concrete ground beams and a suspended slab. The presence of relic piles meant that we could not place all piles directly beneath columns. To address this, we designed several ground beams as transfer beams to distribute loads to adjacent pile groups.

We selected a braced steel frame with diagonal bracing at roof level to transfer horizontal wind forces to the vertical bracing bays. The concrete floor slabs act compositely with the supporting beams for maximum efficiency. We placed a large array of photovoltaic panels on the roof as a renewable energy source and to achieve a 25% reduction in CO2 emissions. We also placed the plantroom on the roof. We designed the thermally broken enclosure to be demountable.

The new 2,400m² building achieved BREEAM “Excellent”. It houses teaching space for 400 students in the Faculty of Retail and Commercial. There are 17 new classrooms on three storeys around the perimeter to maximise natural light, plus specialist teaching facilities for Hair and Beauty, including a salon open to the public. The salon is in a large ground floor atrium, lit by two-storey high, glazed curtain walling.

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