Three months after the completion of Phase 1 of its student accommodation regeneration project, Aston University in Birmingham is to forge ahead with the second phase of the £215 million development by appointing leading contractor BAM. Providing high standard accommodation on campus for a total of more than 3,000 students, the scheme is one of the biggest regeneration projects in the Midlands, being scheduled for completion in 2014. Building work is to be carried out by BAM Construction Midlands, which secured the contract for “preferred contractor” after a competitive procurement process. The firm has a well-established track record in the construction of university facilities, is to create several thousands of jobs as a result of the contract win.  Working alongside ASV and its professional team, BAM Construction Midland will develop an appropriate‘design and build’ construction contract to create and commission the new high quality student accommodation and carry out associated site development.  It is intended thatconstruction operations will commence in April this year.

Richard Dakin, Director of BAM in the Midlands, said: “We will bring to this project BAM’s high standard of construction, collaborative working and community engagement. It is very exciting for us to be building something to enhance the life of this City’s students and doing this for such an important client as Aston University.”

Mr Dakin confirmed that Ian French, who recently completed the highly regarded Severn Trent Centre in Coventry, would lead BAM’s on-site construction team.  It will be working with Nottingham architects, Lewis & Hickey. 

Alan Charters, Director of Capital Development for Aston University, said: “The Aston Student Villages (ASV) scheme is of major importance to the University. It is the largest regeneration project in its history and when completed will provide improved student facilities which we believe will match the finest of anywhere else in the world.” Advised by Emprima, the Solihull-based construction consultants and project managers, the University, together with ASV, a charitable trust formed to procure and then manage the facilities for 37 years, has been developing its student village plans for the 40-acre campus for a number of years. Emprima’s Managing Director, Neil Pountney, said: “The decision to proceed with Phase 2 is heartening news for the Midlands’ construction sector – especially as the industry generally is facing its most challenging period ever.” A £5 million contract has been placed with DSM Demolition Ltd, of Birmingham, for the demolition of existing buildings, including two existing 1970s high-rise accommodation towers in the centre of the campus, site clearance, ground remediation and enabling work. This has already started. Replacing the high-rise blocks will be two blocks of accommodation of between four and 18 storeys, providing 1,053 en-suite student bedrooms and shared facilities. Two residential blocks, providing 1,300 high-specification en-suite rooms, were constructed by Carillion as part of Phase 1. The residential blocks for both phases of the development have been designed with the environment in mind. They incorporate the latest energy-efficient materials and systems, and also benefit from cutting-edge, environmentally friendly features such as green roofs, wind turbines, a Combined Heat and Power Plant and rainwater recycling. For ASV on this phase, building engineering services and BREEAM advisers are Couch Perry Wilkes of Birmingham and structural engineering advisers, BJB Consulting of Wakefield.Financial management is by the Birmingham office of Faithful + Gould.