Offsite designer, engineer and manufacturer of light gauge steel (LGS) panelised superstructures Fusion Building Systems, has been awarded a 300-bed student accommodation project by SCI Contracts for the redevelopment of the former Irish Club site in Stoke on Trent.
The split level, 0.97-acre site on North Street is being redeveloped by Alpha Developments, in a project worth £10.5m to provide luxury studio and penthouse accommodation to the city’s growing student population.
Fusion’s offsite LGS system was specified for the project by SCI Contracts and David Cox Architects, to ensure its build programme would stay on track and be ready for occupation by students in early 2019. By using Fusion’s patented system, cost and programme certainty could be achieved for the developer and a weatherproof shell constructed for the entire project within a matter of weeks.
Designed as a single block which will be staggered into the hillside across three, four and five-storeys, the ground floor will house a communal lounge, library and other operational facilities, while the residential accommodation will be manufactured from LGS and built over a transfer platform.
Stewart Hackney, Fusion Building System’s Business Development Manager, said: “Offsite is increasingly becoming the only viable construction method for student accommodation projects such as this – and a portfolio of 8,000 student beds completed makes us one of the most experienced operators in the industry.
“We haven’t worked with SCI Contracts before, but following a visit to our manufacturing facility and a demonstration of our design processes, they could see how every aspect of the architect’s vision could be engineered into our superstructure.”
Fusion is using its tested panelised light gauge steel for Stoke which sees individual floor and wall panels transported to and erected on site. Compared to other offsite solutions, this panelised system allows for bespoke architectural design flexibility, with building taking place on site and total cost control for the developer.
Stuart Andrews of SCI Contracts, added: “We’ve used offsite timber systems before but found them unsuitable for use in multi-storey buildings. It’s the first time we’ve worked with Fusion though and we awarded the contract to them after seeing how their panelised system could cater for the unique design challenges of this split-level site.
“We look forward to moving the build programme on at pace and reaching completion by early 2019.”
Fusion’s build programme is estimated at 21 weeks with a start on site scheduled for the new year. For further information visit www.davidcoxarchitects.co.uk
Caption for images: CGIs of the student accommodation planned for North Street, Stoke on Trent – to be built using Fusion Building Systems’ light gauge steel panelised superstructures. Image courtesy of KDP Architects and David Cox Architects.