Balfour Beatty and the University of Birmingham have held a topping-out ceremony for the 21-storey Chamberlain student residence, which has reached its highest point of construction, ahead of opening its doors to students this autumn. Friends and neighbours of the university were among guests who travelled to the roof of the building in Edgbaston to see vice-chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood lay the final area of concrete at the top.
Balfour Beatty is delivering the project in 103 weeks, utilising BIM (building information modelling) for the planning and value-engineering of the project and Balfour Beatty Engineering Services and its modular systems+ facility in Wednesbury to provide bespoke pre-fabricated modular mechanical and electrical units housing ducting, cabling and pipe-work for the building.
The building will meet the government-approved EPC ‘A’ category for energy efficiency through the use of brick cladding for insulation, a CHP (combined heat and power) plant, LED lighting, a copper rainscreen and glazed curtain walling to reduce heat loss.
The building, which rises around 75m from ground level, will be home to more than 700 first year students at the university from September, replacing the previous Eden Tower which closed in 2006.
Lesley Stewart, director of residential and environmental services at the university, said: “We have an ongoing commitment to invest in our accommodation stock to ensure that students coming to Birmingham have outstanding homes to live in, to get their university lives off to a flying start.
“The redevelopment of Chamberlain is the latest project to come to fruition after many years of hard work to get it to this stage and I am delighted that we have reached this important point. The tower looks wonderful and I look forward to welcoming the first residents of the new Chamberlain this autumn.”
Colin Harper, Balfour Beatty project director, said: “Today marks an important milestone in the construction of the new Chamberlain student residences. We look forward to continuing to work with the University of Birmingham and local community to deliver this state-of-the-art residence for students.”
Also at the ceremony was third-year civil engineering student George Bence. George recently completed a placement on site for Balfour Beatty at Chamberlain Halls. He said: “On day one I realised I had no idea how a site worked. Now, thanks to the brilliant team I worked with on site, I am able to make a positive contribution. Having watched construction begin and the tower rise out of the ground, it’s great to see it reach this milestone.”