Redevelopment works to start on Headington Campus

Monday, 14 December 2015

Sinclair view from central courtyard cgi

Detail on the redevelopment works that are set to start on the Oxford Brookes University Headington Campus.

As we start to move into the first phase of construction of Oxford Brookes’ ten year estates investment plan, buildings on the Headington Campus are set to be reclad and refurbished. Currently the projects are planned to go to an Oxford City Council planning committee at the beginning of January, so the outlined timescales are dependent on the outcome of this meeting.

Set to commence in January, the Sinclair building and its annex will have exterior wall finishings fully replaced in a style more in keeping with the look of the John Henry Brookes Building. Following the publication of the Government Green paper on Higher Education, we have been advised by HEFCE that their contribution to the project (£4.18m) must be fully spent by the 31st March 2016. This is sooner than we expected and it has therefore required a re-think of the project plan and the bringing forward of some elements of the project to allow for an earlier spend.

This will inevitably result in some disruptive work taking place earlier than expected and every effort will be made to keep disruption to a minimum. Consultation with users will take place early in the New Year to plan the work around current teaching and research schedules wherever practicable. Opportunities will also be made available for staff to attend briefing sessions and staff and students can sign up to weekly email updates for the latest information.

Phasing for the internal refurbishment of Sinclair and the annex is as follows. The Sinclair annex will be refurbished first to house the Bio-imaging Unit. Then work to refurbish level two will commence, followed by works on level one. Each of the three internal phases are set to take six months and will result in significantly improved spaces for students and staff. More details can be found below.

In March 2016 work is set to start on transforming the former Library into the new home to the Faculty of Business. This project will also see Clerici refurbished and the Main Hall demolished and rebuilt to provide new teaching and social learning spaces. These spaces will also be reclad in a style in keeping with the Joh Henry Brookes Building. The Clerici Main Lecture Theatre is set for demolition.

When the Clerici element to the project completes, planned for 2017, a series of new modern teaching environments will come into use. From the beginning of semester two 2016, modules in the Main Hall and the Clerici Main Lecture Theatre will be moved to alternative teaching spaces. The timetabling team have been working with Module Leaders on alternative accommodation for affected modules.

Proposed Sinclair works

The principal contractor has been chosen, EG Carter, and they are planned to come on site at the beginning of January. Work will commence shortly after, with the first noticeable work likely to be the erection of scaffolding. We will provide more detail on timescales and work to be carried out once the contractor and the estates projects team have developed a more in depth programme. In order to ensure we make full use of our HEFCE grant, once we are in a place to proceed, the programme of works will start quickly.

With staff and students continuing to work in Sinclair for the duration of these works, there will be some disruption. In the New Year, a project group with representation from the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences will meet weekly and we will be running drop-in sessions and providing a detailed programme of works. We will contact staff when works are likely to have a localised impact. For general updates - sign up to the Space to Think updates or follow @space_to_think on Twitter.

For the exterior of the building the following will need to take place in order for the cladding to be fitted.

  • erection of scaffolding around Sinclair – visual and noise impact
  • removal of building covers to expose concrete structure – limited noise impact
  • where necessary repairs to concrete structure – dependent on repairs could be some noise impacts
  • drilling into concrete to fit cladding brackets – noise impact
  • insulation and rail system to fit external cladding to be installed – limited noise impact
  • external panels and windows to be fitted – staff may have to vacate offices and there may be some localised noise impacts
  • removal of scaffolding – noise impact

Please note this is a potential sequence for the elements and not the exact itinerary – this will follow once the contractor is onsite and consultation has happened with the Faculty.

Sinclair Chimney

On the Gibbs side of Sinclair, the brick chimney needs to be demolished. The chimney is likely to be taken down in a controlled manner. The chimney structure will be rebuilt and used as the main riser for Sinclair. The chimney works will take place in tandem with the cladding and a detailed plan will be developed in collaboration with the contractor and the University.

Clerici, former Library and Main Hall

The contractor for the Clerici, former Library and Main Hall projects is still to be decided through an ongoing framework competition. We hope to have a contractor in place by the beginning of the year with work set to start in March.

The former Library building is largely already closed and ready for construction to start. Clerici, the Main Hall and the Main Lecture Theatre will all close prior to the work commencing. When these buildings close, routes and access to certain buildings on the campus will change; these changes will be advised and signs and maps highlighting the new routes will be distributed. Key route changes will include the access from Sinclair and Abercrombie into the Clerici building.