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Student accommodation redevelopment to help ease pressure on local housing in Oxford


A tier one contractor has been awarded a £76.5m contract to improve and expand one of Oxford’s student accommodation sites.

Morgan Sindall Construction has now completed enabling works at Oxford Brookes University’s Clive Booth Student Village where it is delivering 515 en-suite rooms and various social spaces across four buildings.

The contractor was appointed via the Southern Construction Framework to provide an increased number of high-quality rooms within the University’s estate. With the village located next to the University’s Headington campus and a 20-minute walk from the city centre, it will help to reduce the number of students living in private rented accommodation and support efforts to manage local housing demand.

By agreeing contract principles within the pre-construction agreement, and releasing early enabling packages on site, the project has overcome challenges with long lead items and stayed on track for the University’s target completion date.

The development is now in various points of construction, with building E currently at roof level, whilst D is a couple of floors behind and F and C are at ground floor slab level.

As part of its Intelligent Solutions approach Morgan Sindall Construction has deployed a number of methods to save time, cost and carbon.

This includes a rigid inclusions foundations system which negates the need for pile caps, provides greater flexibility to overcome ground conditions and saves cost and carbon by using less concrete than traditional piling systems. In addition, the team also re-used the demolition waste from the existing buildings on the site to form the hardcore piling mat.

For the first time, the contractor employed Giatec, a wireless concrete sensor for temperature and strength monitoring which is cast directly into the concrete. It enables the team to use a mobile app to track when the concrete has cured in real time, whilst giving them the ability to adapt the concrete mix design and meet the programme curing targets. This has meant being able to use less cement and reduce the carbon impact of the frame.

AI is also being rolled out through the use of Oculu, a 360-degree camera used to capture surroundings and accurately locate them in their drawings and collaborate remotely with multiple stakeholders.

Once complete, the village will create a sustainable and social home-from-home and whilst featuring a focus on drop-off and pick-up areas for students, which will be essential during the beginning and end of semester. There will also be plenty of outdoor social areas with lighting and external landscaping, tying the area neatly into its surroundings.

Clive Booth Photo

Mark Tugwell, Deputy Director of Estates at Oxford Brookes University, said:

With the hyperinflation in the construction industry last year, entering into contract at a level affordable for the University was challenging. Morgan Sindall’s team worked with us collaboratively to successfully find solutions.
Under the Pre-Construction Services Agreement, Morgan Sindall undertook far more of the construction than might have been expected of them, keeping the project on track. They are working in a constrained site, surrounded by live student accommodation, having to enter the site through a residential area and past a school. They manage all aspects with total, thorough professionalism which has ensured continued positive engagement with local stakeholders. We are delighted with the choice of Morgan Sindall for this project.”

James York, area director at Morgan Sindall Construction, said:

The new accommodation will have far-reaching benefits for both the city and University through offering enhanced living areas and freeing up residential space in the city.
This particular development presents an opportunity for us to utilise the latest innovations as part of our commitment to delivering high-quality schemes responsibly whilst also saving on costs and time. We take great pride in training our employees on modern methods of construction which in turn helps us to achieve our crucial net zero goals as a business.
We look forward to leaving a lasting legacy through our social value activity, which includes employing a high proportion of local supply chain on site and encouraging young people into the sector to build on rewarding careers.”

MICA architects were appointed by Oxford Brookes University to design the redevelopment of Clive Booth Student Village. Jessie Turnbull, senior associate at MICA, said:

We have been consistently impressed by Morgan Sindall’s collaborative, friendly and flexible approach since we started working with them in spring 2021 on realising the PCSA, enabling and main works.
Their embrace of technology gives us the confidence that they are executing the project with rigour and attention to detail and allows our team to monitor work through the Oculo image capture in addition to our usual in person site inspections. The collective team’s thorough coordination through BIM 360 means we know all parties all fully conversant with the 3D intricacies of the deceptively simple architecture, and will deliver an excellent result for Oxford Brookes students."


For more information about this news release please contact Alice Lee at Influential on 07450 562 743 or email [email protected]