Fusion on site for new student accommodation project at University of Sussex

Fusion Building Systems, the offsite engineer, designer, manufacturer and installer of light gauge steel panelised superstructures, has started on site at the new 2,117-bed student accommodation project at the University of Sussex for Balfour Beatty.

Aerial view artist's imression of University of Sussex from the south - credit TP Bennett:Balfour BeattyFusion was awarded the contract in 2015 following a competitive tendering process to design, manufacture and build superstructures for 29 blocks of accommodation at the new student campus. Since then, its designers, estimators and engineers have worked in close collaboration with Balfour Beatty to produce the pre-manufactured frames for this multi-million-pound development.

The two companies previously worked together building 1,000 new student bedrooms at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth in 2014. But, at more than twice that size, Sussex represents the largest student accommodation project Fusion has undertaken to date.

Fusion Building Systems Director, Mike Fairey, said: “Our contract with Balfour Beatty for the University of Sussex is significant.  Over the past 15 years we’ve proven our ability in the higher education sector having built approximately 6,000 student bedrooms. From this, we know planning and integration is key, so since 2015 we have spent time and resource fully integrating our teams, to make this project a success.”

To ensure certainty of supply throughout the build programme and enable enough structure to be pre-manufactured for the erection of up to six accommodation blocks at any one time, Fusion has invested in a new offsite storage location, close to its manufacturing facility in Northamptonshire.

Mike continued: “Successful partnerships in offsite manufacturing have to be based around the collaboration and commitment of both parties. For the challenges of this particular project to be met, we needed to acquire a storage facility. Thanks to the relationship we have with Balfour Beatty, they were able to secure investment in us, enabling product to be manufactured ahead of schedule, making it available for delivery and installation on site as needed.”

Fusion will have dedicated teams based at Sussex and Northampton for the duration of the project. The first phase accommodation is expected to be ready for the start of the 2018/19 academic year.