Stepnell paddles downstream with tricky canalside project

A site that is smaller than the length of a double decker bus and comes with its own kayak is the latest challenging project to be taken on by construction firm Stepnell.

The construction of Boulevard Wharf in Nottingham – comprised of 76 student accommodation studios – is one of the most complex jobs taken on by the contractor to date due to the unusual dimensions of the 11-metre-wide site and its proximity to the city’s canal.

Because of this, a kayak forms part of the team’s emergency rescue procedure, meaning that any items that inadvertently fall into the canal can be retrieved.

Shaun Moses, site manager for Stepnell, said: “It is certainly one of the more unusual sites we’ve worked on. Along with the obvious issues that come with building so close to the canal edge brings, the overall site is just 11 metres wide, meaning that day-to-day operations must be very carefully managed.

“With incredibly tight boundaries and the buildings themselves designed to fill the entirety of its footprint, the site is a real challenge, but the team has worked closely with the developers from an early stage to create a solution that is workable and allows the whole operation to run smoothly.”

The project sees the studios spread across three buildings providing views over the canal and towards the city of Nottingham. Designed by MAS Architecture, the scheme will also feature high-spec communal areas, including an on-site gym and movie room.

Tom Sewell, East Midlands’ regional director at Stepnell, said: “The story of this site is really one of collaboration. Our team worked extensively with the client through the design development process in order to design and manage a project that met a high standard in terms of appearance and finishes – all while working to the budget and the challenges the site provides.”

Muthar Al-Salloum, managing director of MAS Architecture, said: “This is a prestigious development that we are really pleased to deliver. Boulevard Wharf will provide much-needed contemporary student accommodation within Nottingham city centre and the scheme is one of only a few self-contained student accommodation developments in the city – providing all the necessary facilities onsite – thus creating a homely and luxurious environment for students to thrive in.”

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