West Hill Green
New build student accommodation comprising 500 bedrooms across 5 buildings over 6 and 8 storeys with central café, gym facilities, energy centre, centralised water and sewerage distribution, car park and extensive engineering features as part of the external landscaping across a highly sloping site.
Waterman provided structural engineering for this £15m development.
We added value by conceiving the buildings with flat slab concrete frames to minimise overall storey heights. The concrete flat slab frame solution was conceived to offer the best overall long term sustainability strategy for the building, where future layouts or even changes of floor usage could be reconfigured without needing to rebuild the frame.
Each building was conceived with SIPS wall panel façades and plasterboard/stud internal partitions. We added value by guiding the client towards this method of construction to minimise structural weight, cost and carbon impact of the structural frame. Ground floor elevations were rendered to safeguard against damage. We suggested the use of Structherm insulated wall panels as a more sustainable measure than conventional blockwork. Structurally, we introduced cement replacement materials to improve the sustainability credentials. GGBS mixes were integrated into the design. We also recommended using power-floated floors and exposed soffits to optimise BREEAM Green Guide ratings for the structural elements. The exposed slabs also provided thermal mass to optimise the natural ventilation strategy.
Large cantilevers were required at first floor level overhanging the external walkway linking the five blocks. To avoid any additional floor depth, we developed a solution with cantilevering walls in corridor lines to enable the first floor to hang from the first and second floor walls.
Solar water heating and pod bathroom construction was also provided, along with mechanical ventilation to central areas.