• 29 November 2017

Transforming Higher Education in Scotland

Abertay University is undertaking major improvement and refurbishment works to their Kydd Building, situated within the main campus on Bell Street in Dundee.

The essential refurbishment works included the remodelling and upgrade of key science laboratories occupied by Abertay’s School of Science, Engineering and Technology, alongside a new science suite built for teaching, research and knowledge exchange.

Abertay-LabOur Structures team in Glasgow were appointed to design the new façade and internal refurbishment works of the building’s Southern Elevation and Level 4 Laboratories; replacing the existing building envelope, creating state-of-the-art teaching facilities and a series of alterations to Levels 3 and 5.

The new façade was designed to cantilever off the existing 1970’s concrete frame with careful consideration to the campus’ aesthetics, appearing visually unobtrusive and continuing the ‘Abertay Style’ of the recently refurbished buildings adjacent to the site.

Working alongside the client and the project architect, Oberlanders, our team developed the design methodology to ensure disruption was kept to a minimum during the construction phase. The strict six-month schedule was required for completion before students returned from their mid-term break, meaning cost and time sensitive elements were given the highest priority.

Creating state-of-the-art teaching facilities

One of the main objectives of the project was to improve the environment within the building by introducing natural daylight to the laboratory facilities. This needed to be carefully controlled due to the South facing aspect of the building and was achieved by slightly reconfiguring the elevation of the building envelope to reduce the possibility of solar gain within the laboratories, proving less visually obstructive than a brise soleil.

We conducted an analysis of existing structures and historical Codes of Practice and created a new light-weight steel structure as well as carrying out a load balancing exercise to reduce any additional load on the foundations. This allowed the frame to be built without time consuming structural strengthening and to minimal cost.

Abertay-Lab-2One of the most sustainable aspects of the project is the adaptive reuse of the existing building. Rainwater harvested from the roof has been redirected to a single collection point for a future Sustainable Drainage System (SuDS) which the University is planning to use as a teaching platform for their students. By redirecting the rainwater in this way, pressure has been relieved off the existing drainage system which had been surcharging during peak flows and causing problems to the building.

The project has been delivered within a collaborative BIM environment, with all disciplines delivering a Level 2 compliant design package. This enabled our project team, working alongside Morrison Construction, to achieve the strict six-month construction programme and ultimately a successful handover.

Ian Simpson, Director of Operations at Abertay University, commented; “This work has transformed one of the least attractive parts of our estate into the most impactful and attractive, both externally and from within the new labs. The value created is enormous, in that the vastly improved aesthetics is contributing to attracting new students to the University.”

Strengthening our Higher Education portfolio

This continued appointment with Abertay University strengthens our Higher Education sector portfolio alongside our existing framework with the University of Glasgow and our new framework with Strathclyde University.

Alun Rae, Regional Director in Glasgow, said; “This latest appointment extends our close relationship with the University and I was delighted that our commitment to offering placement training to their Civil Engineering department saw one of their students working on the project. We will continue to support Abertay University next year and I am particularly looking forward to participating in their Industry Liaison Panel.”

The phase of works on the Southern Elevation was completed in January 2017. Following on from this successful delivery, the team have been appointed alongside Oberlanders to deliver the next phase of works which comprises the refurbishment and extension to the North and West Elevations of the Kydd Building.

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