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Building Services & Maintenance


and repair to be top-notch with the most up-to-date facilities and social spaces. Even at the economy end of the scale where students are in non-en suite accommodation and paying a lot less the expectations are high and include site-wide WIFI, secure access and a comparison of what are they are getting for their money compared to other PBSA. The devil is in the detail in relation to the design and most things cost little more, for example (and based on experience!): n Design the bedrooms so that students don’t walk into the end of the wardrobe when they enter. Also ensure the wardrobe isn’t tight to the bottom of the bed as students need leg room.


n The use of protective boards around beds is fundamental to reducing full re-decoration cycles.


n Avoid radiators and pipework under desks.


n Provide a two-way light switch and phone charger sockets next to the bedhead.


Lessons from experience We have been involved extensively in design, construction and operation of student accommodation schemes for many clients and therefore can provide feedback on what has worked and what hasn’t. We also facilitate direct student involvement and feedback on the design proposals to ensure they are practicable and workable. This information provides a continuous feedback


loop using problems that have been experienced to develop solutions that be replicated for future developments: n We originally designed ‘built in’ 3/4 beds with lifting boards under the mattresses for storage. As the mattresses are heavy some students call the helpdesk to organise the maintenance team to lift the boards to store cases. This happens primarily at the start and end of term, which are very busy check in and out periods: there were a lot of requests for assistance. With many thousands of units this is a drain on resource and cost. The simple solution is to use a traditional open but stylish bed where the carpet runs under and students can then slide their case under with ease.


n We originally used the pod manufacturer’s drainage pipes from the showers to connect to the drain, however these were often too small and quickly became blocked and again on a large site multiple call-out means wasted effort in engineers unblocking drains for students. The simple solution was for us to specify the trap and drain pipe size to the pod supplier.


n The development of plastic piping and crimped joints on large commercial buildings has caused some issues and great care is needed to check out the track record of new products and to avoid domestic lightweight products which too often fail in the student environment.





We also facilitate direct student involvement and feedback on the design proposals to ensure they are practicable and workable





FACILITIES 107


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