University of Sussex, East Slopes' Residences - Fusion Building Systems

OVERVIEW
With more than 2,000 student beds and a total project value for Balfour Beatty of around £150million, the University of Sussex East Slopes’ Residences project is one of the single largest, successful offsite construction projects of its kind ever built in the UK.

FUSION'S BRIEF 
Our steel frame was to be used as the superstructure for 29 blocks housing 2,100 bedrooms across three, four and five storey units. Comprising apartments and terraced townhouses, our delivery required flexibility in terms of design, programme, storage and logistics, with up to five cranes operating at any one time.

CHALLENGES FACED
• Working on a slope which at its steepest had a gradient of 1:6, we faced significant design, engineering and logistcial challenges 
• Immense supply chain integration, communication, education and understanding was needed and we pioneered working methods with Balfour Beatty
• With thousands of personnel in the site vicinity every day, Sussex also demanded the utmost respect for site restrictions and health and safety requirements.

DELIVERY
We started talks in 2014, were awarded ‘Preferred Bidder’ in 2015, then spent two years on design and planning approval, before starting on site in January 2017. Sequenced over five phases to deliver 29 blocks in 86 weeks and on a steeply sloping site, we worked to optimise build speed and reduce site-based risks. We also invested in additional storage facilities and worked with Balfour on their onsite prototype unit. Our design team held bi-weekly meetings with architects and Balfour’s design team to ensure every last detail was discussed. And finally, with up to five blocks running concurrently, our fast rate of build, immense preconstruction planning and supply chain integration, meant we delivered on time and on budget.

CLIENT COMMENT

“Fusion’s system was the right choice for Sussex and their team had the right personnel for its delivery. I’m extraordinarily proud of what we’ve achieved and as Balfour Beatty continues to place investment in offsite methods of construction, I’m confident Fusion will be one our partners for many years to come.” Geoff Grant, Project Director, Balfour Beatty UK Construction Services

East Slopes' Residences has been shortlisted in the Best Use of Steel Technology category at the 2020 Offsite Awards taking place on 22 September 2020. For more information click here.

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