Willmott Dixon Interiors is in the fit-out stages of a refurbishment project for the University of Brighton that has involved completely remodelling the interior of a building without evacuating the occupants.
The University of Brighton’s iconic Cockcroft building is one of the largest in the university’s estate. This 10-storey, 15,400m2 building accommodates teaching rooms, laboratories, workshops, offices, students’ union and restaurant facilities.
The building was built in the 1960s and is no longer ideal as a modern teaching and learning environment. In August 2012 the university awarded a £19m contract to Willmott Dixon to carry out the refurbishment, since then the scope of work has increased and this figure has gone up to £23m.
The contract involves completely demolishing all the existing internal walls on floors two to eight, and creating new, state-of-the-art teaching, learning and administration spaces in their place. These include a new lecture theatre, laboratories for a range of different sciences and completely new offices. It also includes replacing all the mechanical, electrical and public health services; installing new plant rooms at roof level; putting in three new lifts; and replacing all the windows and insulating the walls as part of a range of improvements to make the building more energy efficient and to reduce CO2 emissions and running costs.
One of the major challenges for Willmott Dixon was that the Cockcroft building remained occupied throughout the refurbishment and fit-out. The key to this are very strict rules about the hours in which Willmott Dixon can undertake noisy activities. In addition, Willmott Dixon has also had to work around the university’s exam timetable as many of the rooms in the building are used for exams.
Recently, Willmott Dixon Interiors achieved Considerate Constructors Gold Award for delivering an exceptional all round performance for this project.
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