As one of the early wave of University Technical Colleges (UTCs) being developed across the UK and the first in the Humber region, it was imperative the Humber UTC, in Scunthorpe, stood out from a design standpoint to reflect its role as a new and innovative approach to teaching and learning. Paul Gouland has all the details.
Concentrating on inspiring the next generation of engineers for the Humber’s existing engineering and emerging renewable energy industries, especially offshore wind, it was essential that the building showcased the latest in sustainable building solutions.
Standing prominently in Scunthorpe’s Church Square, Humber UTC certainly achieved the presence it desired. The structural steel building showcases an iconic design incorporating white and contrasting grey bricks, with large windows to allow natural light to flood into the facility. Steel beams remain visible throughout the structure, including inside the workshop areas of the contemporary building. Open elevations showcase the learning as it takes place.
To turn the vision into reality, design and build contractor Clugston Construction and Stem Architects were appointed by client, and project managers, North Lincolnshire Council, to deliver the £9.5m 6,000m2 purpose built college, which when fully occupied will support 600 students.
With the necessary approvals secured in spring 2014 and with an opening date set for September 2015, the timescales for design and delivery were a major challenge. However, through collaboration between all those involved, the project, which began on site in August 2014, was completed ahead of the new term.
Ongoing pressures on finances across the education sector mean that new building projects, such as Humber UTC, must place an emphasis on durability that will deliver value as well as sustainability throughout the lifecycle of the facility. However, a college campus must also attract potential students, meaning a modern and visually appealing design was a key requirement to enhance the campus environment.
The new three-storey facility has, at ground level, engineering workshops, which overlook the main square so the UTC’s technical specialism could be readily viewed by passers-by, along with a refectory, main hall with sports provisions and the main reception. The science laboratories, library and ICT suits are situated on the first floor and the general teaching and staff facilities located on the second.
The large workshop includes double height curtain walling and specialist equipment that allows students to carry out larger engineering projects, and offers the opportunity for industry to provide larger equipment for students to work with.
Fast track delivery
To meet the challenges of the rapid programme, early engagement between the client and the design build team took place whilst funding was secured from the Education Funding Agency and the Baker Dearing Trust, who drive the National UTC programme for the Government.
During this time Clugston and Stem Architecture worked with the Council and the Humber UTC’s education partners, Outwood Grange Trust, North Lindsey College and Hull University, to develop a schedule of rooms and functional design relationships to capture the proposed methods of teaching. This process was made possible by an intense highly-collaborative series of user workshops. All parties brought to the table their respective experiences.
“We recognised that the delivery programme was a key factor in helping the sponsors secure funding and so alongside the wider team we developed a series of approaches to minimise the build programme,” said Clugston project manager Steve Hornby. “This included using a Metsec frame which enabled parts of the programme to be brought forward quicker than if traditional brick and block work methods were used.”
In recognition of the UTC’s association with renewable technology, naturally high on the agenda was the use of sustainable technologies to service the building. Consequently at least 20% of energy used would ultimately come from on-site renewable sources. This target was achieved through the use of natural ventilation systems including wind cowls, which were utilised as a feature on the east and west elevations of the building, a large array of 140 solar PV panels and air source heat pumps were also included.
Further underpinning the College’s sustainable credentials, the building is also fully fitted with an integrated Building Management System, which controls and monitors energy performance. The sustainability of the building was very important as the College itself has a focus on engineering and renewables. The project team all worked hard to ensure that the renewables target was comfortably met.
Summing up, Clugston’s Steve Hornby commented: “Not only is the Humber UTC the first College of its type to open in the area, but it is also a noteworthy example of how teamwork and developments in fast track construction can deliver an eye-catching building containing high levels of sustainability rapidly.”
‘Whole life’ management
As a purpose built, state of the art facility, it was imperative that the Humber UTC building remained in the best possible condition throughout its lifecycle, especially if it was to attract the large number of the next generation of engineers it was intended for. With this in mind, an additional challenge facing Clugston was to ensure a seamless transition from project completion into lifecycle management.
In an educational environment constant maintenance is a necessity, not only must the building operate at maximum efficiency, with minimal disruption to college classes, it has to also meet increasingly stringent regulations.
A full range of management and maintenance services are in-place at Humber UTC. Building fabric maintenance, M&E systems and Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC), statutory inspections and PAT systems, estates and ground maintenance and security and cleaning, all fall within the remit of Clugston FM’s services. Advice is also offered on the most efficient use of energy and utilities with detailed records maintained on a Building Maintenance System.
Whilst sustainability remained a prominent goal throughout the construction of the Humber UTC facility, it became even more crucial upon completion of the project. By integrating the construction and FM elements of the development, Clugston was able to offer a complete solution for the Humber UTC college from the early consulting and planning stages, through design, build and after final client handover.
Paul Gouland is marketing director at Clugston Construction