University of Southampton

Fast track refurbishment of 100 bed student accommodation block for the University of Southampton.

Old Terrace at the University of Southampton was a former block of 10 residential houses, converted into a 100 bed student accommodation block. Situated on the largest of the university’s student communities, Glen Eyre halls of residence, it had been decommissioned by the university in previous years and was scheduled to be demolished.

In 2023 the university experienced an unexpected surge in student numbers, meaning they urgently required further accommodation for the September intake. In order to meet this demand they decided to refurbish the Old Terrace block, bringing it up to current standards and regulations.


The project was procured under a 2-stage tender process. This procurement route was central to ensuring we could meet the tight and critical completion date of September.

During the second stage we completed surveys and investigations of the works, to ensure full understanding of the project parameters, and aligned the programme to robust details. We identified long lead in materials and provided alternative options where possible, and placed orders early for any materials that could not be substituted such as fire doors. Early engagement through the PSCA meant we could also complete the asbestos removal works during pre-construction, ensuring they did not impact on the main programme. 

We engaged our expert local supply chain, ensuring the availability of labour and materials within the short programme. 


The project involved the complete refurbishment of all communal spaces, reconfiguration and replacement of communal kitchens and the reconfiguration of all communal washrooms to self-contained pods containing shower, WC and toilet. Roof repairs and window repair and replacement. External works including landscaping, paving, footpaths, signage and lighting. M&E services including the replacement of boilers and recommissioning of heating systems.

Throughout the works we kept everyone on site updated with the day’s activities with daily meetings, email and phone conversations. We regularly liaised with local residents, university stakeholders and students and published a monthly newsletter.

Key Challenges 

The key challenge was ensuring we met the tight timeframe for the works to be completed and critical end date in time for the September intake. We successfully met this challenge through fully understanding the project during the PSCA period, using this time to develop the design and programme, ensuring the early reservation of both trades and materials and deploying our direct labour where required.

Eight weeks before completion of the programme it was identified that the water main supply was not fit for purpose. This created additional works that required urgent resourcing. We deployed our direct labourforce to these activities, meaning we could successfully complete the project by the critical end date for the customer.   


We remained on site following the completion of the works to ensure the students and university employees were familiarised with their new buildings.