Bishop Grosseteste University Phase 1

The building had been the refectory and kitchen area for the accommodation block of the university, but the university changed to a self-catered service leaving the space redundant. The new teaching spaces are separated by sliding folding partitions which can be opened up to create larger function areas.

Project details:

Client:  Bishop Grosseteste University

Team:  Total Regen

Type: Refurbishment

Location: Nottingham

Project value: £817,000

Procurement: empa ii Minor Works Framework

Project Overview

A significant element of the project was the installation of new structural steel to open up the building by removing structural walls. An additional office was also completed, enabling the university to gain the maximum use of the existing space.

This project provided the structural steel and concrete roof to enable the future development of the Constance Stewart Hall Building. When stripping back the building the team expected to see an institute concrete slab roof, upon removal of the screed they were faced with concrete and steel beams, a crane was required to remove this which was logistically challenging. This did not impact on the final completion date.


The project site was on a live university campus, directly below student accommodation, which comprised of 91 study bedrooms split over 4 floors so it was important for site specific measures to be implemented to minimise disruption to students during the works. Noise control was vital throughout the project, and it was agreed with the client that demolition and breaking out concrete and other materials would not commence prior to 8am on weekday mornings to reduce noise levels to as low as reasonably practicable.

A co-ordinated teamwork approach allowed Robert Woodhead Limited and the client design team to develop the programme.  This project was the university’s first project through the empa ii Minor Works Framework.  Taking the project from concept to completion in the most effective timeframe was possible by commencing the pre-construction design co-ordination activity early.  This would not have been possible without the empa ii Framework.    We were able to mitigate risk collaboratively, for example the re-modelling of the ground floor was going to create a challenge to install the lift pit.  The design team managed to design out this risk.

Delivering desired results

  • Time: Time Predictability 100%
  • Cost: Forecast Cost: £820,000 | Actual Cost: £817,704
  • Client Satisfaction (Service) 8/10 Client Satisfaction (Product) 9.5/10
  • Provision of cost reporting 8.5/10
  • Local Labour Under 40 miles – 95%
  • Waste recycled – 97%
  • Health and Safety – 100%
  • Riddor Accidents – 0
  • SME Engagement 100%

This project also resulted in a work experience opportunity for a Bishop Grosseteste University student.  Our Skills and Engagement Co-ordinator attended a careers fair on site and was approached by Heather.  We created a part time administrative role on the project for her.  She has since completed her degree and is now a permanent member of the Lincolnshire Team working on phase 2

Client feedback

“The finished article exceeds my expectation, I didn’t think it would look as good as this, everyone who has visited including the Vice Chancellor was amazed at what a fantastic transformation has taken place.  Woodheads have been great on this project; they’ve had a really good team. The Site Manager has been excellent and has been a joy to work with. There has been a really good work ethic on the project, they’ve had a can-do attitude, anything we’ve brought to them has never been a problem, and they’ve just got on with it and got it done”. Former Head of Estates – Fred Robson

Exceptional delivery leads to phase 2 and 3

Due to our performance on phase 1, we were awarded phase 2 (£2.4m) through the empa ii Minor Works Framework. This phase comprised the construction of a two storey steel frame extension above the Western end of the ground floor of the existing Constance Stewart Hall building to form additional teaching space area.   The construction includes forming openings in the roof of the existing building, inserting padstones in the structure whilst working over and around a live building. Refurbishments to the Centre for Enhancement in Learning and Teaching Block to provide open study space. External works include tree removal, drainage, hard and soft landscaping and existing rooms are to be stripped of redundant equipment, services, storage cupboards, and mezzanine. New room openings will be formed, and a fit out carried out including all electrical and mechanical installations and decorative works.

Phase 3: The conservation and refurbishment to the Grade II Listed, St Hughes building to create a £1,500,000 ESIF funded Innovation Centre procured through the empa ii Minor Works Framework.

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