With the end of the recruitment cap on undergraduate numbers in England taking effect, the requirement for upgrading and expanding learning facilities continues to rise to meet the increased demand for higher education. Extra student places have been made available in England and capital spend by the leading universities is rising to meet the need for new high quality learning facilities that enhance the student experience.
University College London (UCL) – one of the Russell Group of world-class universities – had a requirement for teaching facilities to be in use for two years while its major capital programme is underway. The redevelopment is providing new and refurbished teaching buildings but resulted in a need for additional learning space for short-term use.Solution :
Portakabin constructed an innovative ‘pop up’ learning hub for UCL in central London in just nine weeks from receipt of order to handover, to help address the surge in student numbers and with no disruption to teaching.
The two-storey building was installed in just two days ready for the start of the new academic year. It would have taken many weeks had the scheme been constructed using site-based building methods.
The learning hub accommodates a lecture theatre for up to 100 students and three seminar rooms.
Commenting on the project, Sam Williams, Capital Projects Manager at University College London, said, “We are really impressed with the performance of the Portakabin team. We needed facilities of the highest standard delivered in the shortest possible timescale. This was achieved and it is an excellent, robust building which has been positively received and is being well used. The vinyl wrap has really enhanced the facility and internally we have varied room sizes to suit the type of learning – from large lectures to smaller seminar working groups.”
Portakabin supplied decking around the building, an access ramp, stairs up to the entrance, air conditioning, emergency lighting, and data communications. The new building has a striking finish, created using a vinyl wrap with strong graphics that reflect and communicate UCL’s programme to transform its estate.
A Constrained and Challenging site
The scheme is sited in a complex location within a courtyard. This required detailed logistical planning from the Portakabin Hire team and great precision for the installation phase with only centimetres to spare. One of the walls also had to be fire rated to 60 minutes due to the proximity to an adjacent brick building.
“The project team was fast and responsive, which was key to the success of the project. We are also very happy with the quality of finish and the additional elements which give the building a permanent feel and further improve the student experience.”
Sam Williams, Capital Projects Manager at University College London