The Challenge:

The iconic design marked a new stage in the tuition at the university and required early collaboration with the client’s design team. This ensured design aspirations were carried through and achieved faster mobilisation and procurement.

To achieve the architectural design, we maximised soffit space and installed a 500ml raised access floor. This created a sealed plenum for conditioned air and resulted in no visible ductwork. The striking external elevational treatments included a bespoke rain screen cladding solution.  The ground floor engineering laboratory required specialist technical bays which included a wind tunnel which was used for transportation aerodynamics.

To accommodate 60-90 pupils at one time, the rooms were designed for multiple functionality. We installed an innovative flexible Audio-Visual system meaning each space could be occupied singly or split into three with all technology maintained.

The Solution:

The fast track project was delivered within 18 months of inception, with a 12 month construction period. Modern methods of construction including composite longspan cladding panels as a carrier system resulted in reduced steel cost and saved seven weeks in the programme whilst achieving the quality aspirations.

We worked collaboratively with the design team to develop the scheme from RIBA Stage 2 and BIM Level 2. To provide programme certainty, we utilised the 3D BIM model to develop a week by week programme from steel frame to watertight, utilising the tool as a benchmark at weekly progress meetings. 

To make sure the building remained watertight whilst the extensive glazing was installed to the atrium, Kier designed a bespoke full height tensioned weatherproofing screen. Spanning 50m x 30m, the screen provided a seal protection to the entire entrance glazed elevation. We also worked collaboratively to design a bespoke temporary floor. This enabled construction works to proceed during the 18-week procurement for the bespoke roof lights.

The Impact:

Funded by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, the new strikingly designed three-storey 2,400m² innovative Degree Apprenticeship Centre provides a bridge from education to industry through the WMG Model, bringing together the best of higher education and work-based learning.  

The centre features a number of technology-enabled seminar rooms and multi-functional teaching rooms, breakout space for students, employee offices, a laboratory and a wind tunnel to be used for transportation aerodynamics.

Throughout construction, we undertook a number of social value activities giving 8% of the contract value back through social value. This includes:

  • Creating three part-time jobs
  • Providing three apprenticeship opportunities (40 weeks in total)
  • Hosting three work experience opportunities
  • 10 people days of technical training
  • 50 WMG Academy pupil site visits
  • 82% of spend with companies in a 50-mile radius

Best value for the University was achieved through a comprehensive Innovation & Value Engineering exercise that resulted in over £466k of added value being built into the scheme. Items of innovation include bespoke internal acoustic treatments to the two atriums, bespoke rainscreen cladding system, underfloor and ceiling plenums to transfer conditioned air throughout the building.

We constructed the WMG Academy in 2014 and we brought the students to Digital Construction Centre for site tours. We now host a monthly class, with our sister site, Cryfield University, and will offer one student a six week placement.

" I am really pleased to say that the project was not only delivered on programme and in budget, but with no compromises in design quality. "
Tony Davies Project Manager University of Warwick

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