voestalpine Metsec has supported the renovation of Portland House as part of £17m luxury student accommodation scheme for developer Select Property Group under its Vita Student brand.
Originally four-storeys high, the 1960’s concrete framed building has been converted into a seven-story building featuring 161 high-end flats, with the use of Metsec’s load bearing steel frame structure (SFS) system.
Metsec’s SFS system was installed by approved sub-contractor Mansell Finishes to enable the additional three storeys to be added to the building, which is located within the heart of Exeter’s city centre.
These structures are stick built on site to ensure maximum flexibility and minimal impact on the original structure. In addition, plant costs are reduced, as cranes are not required to build the SFS.
As land is both expensive and scarce in city centres, building upwards was the most cost and resource-effective way to extend the property.
SFS was specified for its high performance load bearing solution, in addition to providing the quickest installation process possible – a key factor on the project due to the timescales involved.
The SFS makes use of the axial capacity of specially designed SFS studs to bear the weight of the extra storeys. The studs are designed as a series of columns which provide complete load bearing wall panels.
These are typically stick built on site to ensure maximum flexibility to suit any site requirements.
Ian Nuttall, Senior Quantity Surveyor at Create Construction, commented: “Portland House has been a fantastic project to work on. It was so important to keep the load to a minimum to ensure that the original concrete structure of the building was not impaired, which is why we chose to use Metsec’s SFS Load Bearing product.
Cost of labour on site has also been efficient, due to the system being constructed without the use of cranes.”
The new residential units were all let out to students in advance of the 2014/15 intake – an indicator that demand for self-contained, high-end student accommodation is still high.
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