Friday 17 February 2017

Waterside construction

The University of Northampton’s Waterside Campus development has been hailed as a flagship scheme for all construction sites to aspire to.

The ongoing construction of the £330m campus, which will open in time for the 2018-19 academic year, has just been rated exceptional by the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) – a national programme established by the construction industry to improve its image.

Projects registered with the scheme must demonstrate an appreciation of the impact of its work on the community, the environment and its workforce.

CCS inspectors were so impressed by the University and its contractors Bowmer & Kirkland, Kier and VolkerFitzpatrick, they awarded Waterside nine-out-of-10 points in each of the scheme’s five categories, giving it an overall rating of ‘exceptional’.

Exceptional sites are, according to the CCS, at the forefront of industry best practice, demonstrating the very highest level of achievement far above the minimum standards required by the scheme’s code and has addressed all questions on its checklist to the highest standards.

The inspection report concludes: “This is an exceptional site throughout which should be used as a flagship for all construction sites. The commitment and enthusiasm shown throughout management and its team is outstanding.”

University Vice Chancellor, Professor Nick Petford, said: “The University has a huge positive impact on Northampton, employing more than 2,000 people and attracting 15,000 students to the area. But we were mindful that a huge construction project in the town would inevitably cause some disruption in the town – and wanted to make sure this could be minimised as much as possible.

“Because of this, when we were tendering for organisations to take on the Waterside project, we not only wanted the very best construction companies, we wanted to make sure we appointed those that could demonstrate top notch ‘considerate credentials’.

“The endorsement from the Considerate Construction Scheme reaffirms we made the right choice by forming a partnership with Bowmer & Kirkland, Kier and VolkerFitzpatrick to deliver the UK’s newest university campus.”

The CCS praised a number of measures taken by the Waterside team to address the impact of the site on the community, including the appointment of a dedicated social responsibility liaison officer; regular residents’ newsletters; time restrictions on noisy work; restrictions on weekend working; complaints procedures in place; the use of local labour and suppliers; a public information board and information website, plus the implementation of a skills and apprenticeships scheme.

Measures taken to help protect the environment which were praised by inspectors included piling methods which reduce waste, vibration and noise; relocating lichen on site to the roofs of the new buildings; dust reduction methods; wildlife protection and reintroduction; workforce car and van share schemes;  rain water harvesting for boot washing and suppressing dust, and the protection of watercourses.

Currently, Bowmer & Kirland and Kier, which is building Waterside’s student village, are employing 283 people from the local area, plus three trainees. The Waterside team is also working with Northampton College to offer apprenticeships and work placement opportunities.

A total of 34 local suppliers serve the Waterside project, while Bowmer and Kirkland’s waste management plan achieves a 97 per cent reuse and recycling rate.

The Waterside Campus development will transform a 58-acre brownfield site on the banks of the River Nene in Northampton’s Waterside Enterprise Zone and just a short walk from the town’s Cultural Quarter.

The campus, which opens in September 2018, will include a student accommodation village, learning and teaching buildings, sports facilities and will generate its own heating and hot water.

Keep up to date with developments at Waterside, including drone footage of the site, by visiting the website.

Categories

Get social with @uninorthants