The Green, Bradford University

Type and size of project

In September 2011, a new eco-friendly student village ‘The Green’ opened to students at the University of Bradford. The £30.4million development was the first multi-residential building in the UK - and one of only 15 buildings worldwide - to attain an ‘Outstanding’ environmental performance from the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM).

Key Facts

Designed by GWP Architecture and delivered on behalf of Mi7 Developments and Welbeck Land, The Green is the first phase of a larger £100m Listerhills Triangle development in Bradford’s Learning Quarter, which will also include academic and healthcare facilities in a bid to revitalise the campus and surrounding region. The Green provides quality living space and is equipped to educate generations of young people about the benefits of sustainable living.

The 1,026-bed development comprises six blocks of four storey townhouses, one block of six storey flats and two blocks of seven storey flats. Working with main contractor, GB Building Solutions, Stewart Milne Timber Systems provided a pre-fabricated open panel build system for the project, which allowed the building to take shape quickly, cut the amount of waste produced on-site, and contributed to the BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating.

By using a fabric first approach, the energy performance of the building was achieved primarily through the external envelope. The units were designed to be energy efficient with minimal need to switch on heating and lights. The well-insulated building envelope reduced the need for space heating; passive technologies cut energy waste in heating and cooling and included heat ventilation recovery systems; oversized windows were incorporated to give more natural light and reduce the need to switch lights on, while brise-soleil window panels were specified to deflect the sun’s rays and cut overheating in the summer.

With speed of build and performance levels being key aspects of the project, Stewart Milne Timber Systems utilised offsite construction in order to meet the necessary requirements, allowing the entire project to be completed in just 84 weeks, ready for the start of the 2011-12 academic year.

As part of the contract, Stewart Milne Timber Systems was responsible for loading pre-fabricated bathroom pods and plasterboard for each unit, to maximise productivity and minimise waste. Stewart Milne Timber Systems also manufactured and fitted timber stairs for the townhouses and integrated steel steps within the timber frame erection of the apartments. Demonstrating its health and safety credentials, the company provided pre-clad roof void firebreaks and fully sheeted the party walls to assist compartmentation of the units during construction.

The student village in Bradford was a great opportunity to work on a landmark development and the project is a significant addition to Stewart Milne Timber Systems extensive student accommodation portfolio. It was fantastic to contribute to the BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating of this project. GB was contracted to achieve ‘Excellent’ with aspirations of ‘Outstanding’, but we were all aiming for that top rating. This had not been done before and, with that on top of a tight programme, it was a great achievement for us all.

For developers, it is imperative student accommodation projects are delivered on schedule because missing term deadlines could have major implications. Therefore, speed of build is essential and due to offsite construction, timber frame is one of the best materials for delivering large scale projects fast and effectively.

The layout links the University with the local community, promoting interaction between the campus and town, and a south-facing public space has been provided

Homes For Scotland Home Builders Federation National House-Building Council Royal Institute of British Architects Structural Timber Association Timber Research and Development Association Constructionline British Board of Agrement Wood Campus Build Off Site Building Research Establishment WOOD FOR GOOD

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