James Cond 14

Supporting University College Birmingham to create a hub for sustainable construction education

Our team provided quantity surveying and principal designer services for the transformation of the James Cond building at University College Birmingham into the Engineering and Sustainable Construction Centre.

Project overview

This significant redevelopment in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter combines modern techniques with historic preservation, creating The Centre for Sustainable Construction. It serves as a hub for innovative sustainable construction education, giving students vital skills for a greener industry future.

Detailing the scope

This major project involved the careful conversion of a landmark structure into a state-of-the-art educational facility. The renovation preserved the building’s historic Art Deco façade while also integrating advanced learning spaces and facilities. We provided quantity surveying services, ensuring that every aspect of this complex redevelopment was delivered on budget.

In our role as principal designer, we worked closely with the client and the principal contractor, and coordinated the work of the project team. We ensured that significant and foreseeable risks were managed throughout the design process.

One of the first challenges on the project was conducting a detailed survey of the building's roof with limited access. To overcome this, we used our advanced Drone surveying function. Operated by qualified RICS Building Surveyors, these drones have high-quality cameras and sensors, capturing detailed information and imagery essential for the project.

Using the drone allowed us to navigate the structural complexities of the building and quickly collect accurate data. This information was then processed and shared with the University through a sophisticated hosting and analytics portal.

Using this advanced technology, we quickly developed 2D and 3D models, helping to keep the project on track.

Highlighting unique features and challenges

Another challenge was striking the delicate balance between preserving the building’s heritage and implementing modern sustainability standards.

The Centre for Sustainable Construction now offers many courses focusing on sustainable construction methods, manufacturing technologies, renewable energy, as well as robotics and cyber and digital skills. These offerings are designed to upskill learners and directly address the skills gap in crucial sectors, aligning with the industry's evolving needs.

Outcome and impact

The successful completion of the James Cond Building project has significant implications for both the educational landscape and the construction industry. It has established a hub for pioneering sustainable construction education, equipping students with the skills necessary to drive the industry towards a more sustainable future.

This project has also contributed to the revitalisation of Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter, enhancing its role as a centre of innovation and learning.

Photos provided by Lucas Architects

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