Building a learning centre for future constructors – Geoffrey Osborne Ltd’s City College Brighton and Hove project

Geoffrey Osborne Ltd’s exciting project was a £7 million new build at the heart of the Wilson Avenue Campus for City College Brighton and Hove, now known as The MET.

This project was to construct a new four-storey facility including a Construction Trades Centre – consisting of classrooms and assessment rooms.

Trades being covered will include carpentry, maintenance, electrical, plumbing, as well as painting and decorating, and all are housed in a modern, four-storey RC framed building with a steel-framed roof and terrace areas. Positioned on a sloping site, the third floor sits level with the ground floor of the main college campus.

Describing the project, trainee site manager and team spokeswoman, Janet Osei-Berchie said:

“Previous college buildings were demolished to make way for this new complex, with the demolition beginning in November 2015. The new construction began in February 2016 and was completed two weeks early in April 2017.

“It is an environmentally sustainable building which mainly uses natural ventilation in the classrooms and workshops. Fan assistance is provided in some areas to promote necessary airflow. Within the workshops, the ventilation is provided by a combination of manual and actuated openable windows/louvres, along with heat recovery units and supply and extract fans.”

Other sustainable features to protect the environment included the use of solar PV panels to supplement the highly efficient lighting and equipment used throughout, and rainwater harvesting to provide grey water for flushing toilets. Radiant heating panels were also used in workshops, with further water saving initiatives including the use of dual flush toilets and low flow taps.

The main challenge the team faced was in relation to working around an occupied site; this meant extra caution in case any students strayed onto the site. Restricted road access was implemented near the site to avoid any likelihood of collisions.

Commenting on meeting these unique challenges, Janet said:

“Ensuring all the stakeholders involved within the project were kept happy was a challenge. We needed to make sure that all of their issues were addressed in a timely manner and constantly provide them with information regarding the project.

You can find out how the team addressed these challenges, as well as reading about just a few of the many  examples of best practice implemented by Geoffrey Osborne Ltd on this project by clicking on the sliders below:

  • Very well presented corporate painted hoardings enclosing site with heras fencing around facilities.
  • No graffiti issues and good signage, including a public information board.
  • No mud issues as a result of the road sweeper regularly cleaning up, while a gateman carried out daily litter picks, using a checklist.
  • Formal weekly checks of boundaries and facilities were carried out and all was smart in appearance. Toilet facilities were also screened from view.
  • Workforce appearance is strongly considered, with branded and own-logo PPE worn, plus spares readily available.
  • Skips were kept tidy and covered and there was a good cleaning regime with daily checks of all areas, which were kept to high standards and included deep cleans.
  • The workforce is advised at induction to keep smart and clean, while company values and corporate identity are relayed at induction and promoted via signs, website and social media.
  • Site visits were arranged with the local universities and colleges and detailed information packs on the project were provided to students. The site also participated in local university open days to advertise the construction industry as a career path.
  • Quarterly newsletters were produced for local residents, the local caravan club, the college and leisure centre. These outlined information about ongoing works on site, new works beginning and site team contact information, and featured the Scheme logo.
  • A coffee morning charity event was held for the local Macmillan charity which raised over £90.
  • All spare materials were donated to the college.
  • A total of 65% local labour and suppliers were utilised and there was adequate parking on campus, plus the encouragement of van sharing.
  • There was an excellent and comprehensive CSR plan, as well as an employment and skills plan and skills tracker.
  • Contact was made with the local school and City College, with several ongoing visits arranged.
  • There was involvement and support for a careers evening and apprentices were encouraged with a programme of engagement. The team also participated at the university open day, when a trainee Site Manager was taken on.
  • Twenty tonnes of timber were recycled during the whole duration of the project through a local timber recycling charity.
  • Rainwater harvesting was carried out and some off-site construction, plus prefabrication.
  • The carbon footprint was assessed and the project was found to be Breeam excellent.
  • Environmental issues were promoted through information packs for students.
  • The safety plan included three weekly head office audits and set timescales to resolve any issues.
  • Defibrillators were located in the college and designated first aid personnel were trained to use them.
  • There was a safety equipment voucher reward scheme in operation.
  • An apprenticeship scheme was in place to encourage subcontractors to hire more apprentices.
  • A local amenities poster was produced and displayed showing the locations of the local post office, hotels and hospital.
  • Operatives’ facilities were given a deep clean each evening.
  • There was a step leading to the site toilets and offices but this could be changed to a mobile ramp for wheelchair users, if required.
  • There was a standard policy on checks for illegal workers, in collaboration with the Head Office.
  • One-to-one support was provided for any workers with literacy issues.
  • Support was provided for workers obtaining qualifications and counselling services were made available for the workforce.

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