Refurbishing Unite Students Sidney Webb House

Refurbishing Unite Students Sidney Webb House

SPIE UK was awarded a £6.4m contract with Unite Students, the leading provider of student accommodation in the UK, for the refurbishment of Sidney Webb House, a 454-bedroom student accommodation building at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

With an incredibly short 11-week programme to deliver both the design and fit-out during the students’ summer break, traditional methods to meet the design criteria would simply take too long. Additionally, the site presented challenging space constraints which meant that installing a traditional plant room was not feasible. As a result, SPIE developed a complete single source sustainable solution for fast fit-out that included innovative energy saving and engineering solutions as well as design thinking methodology.

The plant rooms were constructed using shipping containers, which were worked on in the site’s car park adjacent to the Sidney Webb House property before being craned into place once finished. By using off-site assembly, SPIE could carry out work on Sidney Webb House and the shipping containers concurrently, with the containers providing a ready-made external envelope at a low cost.

With the lighting upgrade, the design element was a fundamental first step to delivery and subsequently choosing and acquiring the appropriate light fittings through a number of global suppliers, reducing the cost of procuring the LEDs by 70 percent.

Sydney Webb House shipping container plantroom

SPIE’s focus on delivering a sustainable solution was also demonstrated by their lean approach to improving the safety and performance and extending the lifecycle of the building’s existing ventilation systems to the students’ rooms and not replacing it – resulting in a 70 percent cost reduction.

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