Thinking Fit Out for the future

Note from the editor:
The launch of the third edition
of Thinking Space
Fit Out for the
Making the sums add up
Different deal structures offer
universities new ways to fund
A home from home
Focus on what you want to
achieve from the process, says
Queen Mary’s Stephen Wells
How to choose
a procurement
Selecting the
contract strategy
Focused on
Ramphal Building, University
of Warwick
Berman Guedes Stretton
Chris Hale, Business Director
Currie and Brown
Marcus Lyon, Director
Imperial College London
Jane Neary, Director of Campus Services
Morgan Sindall Investments
James Williams-Ellis, Higher Education Development
Oliver Ridley, Environment Manager
Tim Smith, Commercial Director
Queen Mary, University of London
Stephen Wells, Director of Estates and Facilities
Stewart Ward, Head of Education Sector
University of Warwick
Dr Nicholas Monk, Institute for Advanced Teaching
and Learning
Production team:
Editors: Karen Bewick, Emma Keyse, Overbury
Copywriter: Matthew Blackbourn, Polon
Designer: Roc
Spring 2013 | Issue #3
Note from the editor
Note from the
The launch of the third
edition of Thinking Space
Overbury’s business magazine for the
Higher Education estates and property
community, gives me the opportunity to
introduce myself as the new Managing
Director of Overbury Education. In recent
weeks I’ve had the chance to meet with
a number of you in the sector and have
enjoyed hearing your thoughts and ideas
on the challenges and opportunities for
Higher Education in the UK. I look forward
to meeting with many more of you over
the coming months.
This issue of Thinking Space seeks to
address some of the key themes emerging
from those discussions, and looks at how
university estates can evolve to meet the
demands of an increasingly commercial
environment. We talk to Tim Robinson,
RICS Director of Information Products about
a new environmental fit out assessment
to help universities ensure development
projects meet the sustainability expectations
of current and future generations.
We look at alternative ways to fund
development, speaking with financial
services experts including the Head of RBS’
Education Sector, and we consider the
type of development required to meet the
accommodation needs of today’s financially
conscious student. Finally, we discuss the
different procurement and contract options
available to Higher Education institutions,
particularly the pros and cons of opting
out of OJEU for those able to do so.
Our contributors to this edition share
their expert views on just a few of the
influences impacting Higher Education
estates. I hope you enjoy reading this
edition and find the content valuable.
If you have any feedback or suggestions for
future themes we’d love to hear from you
at [email protected]
Bob Banister
Managing Director, Overbury Education
Fit Out for the future
Fit Out for the future
Overbury is working with RICS
on a new environmental fit out
assessment to help universities
ensure their buildings are fit
for future generations
Recently featured in the UK Government’s
Low Carbon Action Plan, Ska Rating is
an environmental assessment method,
benchmark and standard for non-domestic
fit outs. It’s led and owned by the Royal
Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
Ska helps landlords and tenants assess fit
out projects against a set of sustainability
good practice criteria. It helps organisations
make informed decisions about fit out
projects in the context of the growing
importance of sustainability and increasing
Assessment for office and retail fit outs
are already up and running. There are
500 projects currently registered for Ska
certification in the UK, with 418 of them for
offices and 82 for retail.
Having achieved the UK’s first Ska Gold
rated project for RWE npower, Overbury has
partnered with RICS to lend its expertise to
developing a Ska assessment specifically for
higher education.
In issue two of Thinking Space, the Royal
Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
Spring 2013 | Issue #3
launched a call to action asking the higher
education community to get involved in a
new Ska environmental assessment method
aimed specifically at universities. Since
then, Overbury has acted as a development
partner for the initiative – providing technical
advice and hosting AUDE Sustainability
Group round tables bringing together
universities from across the country.
At the seminars, delegates heard Tim
Robinson, RICS Director of Information
Products, talk about the first two universities
to pilot Ska in higher education. ‘University
College London is applying the method
on ten projects and has even developed a
custom laboratory module based on Ska,’
explains Robinson. ‘And City University
London is working with an existing version
of Ska developed for office fit outs.’
‘The feedback from the pilots is that Ska
offers a low-cost, simple and structured
approach. Neither City nor UCL feel that
Ska has added capital cost and both
believe that it has encouraged operating
savings. They also felt it can be an effective
‘The feedback from
the pilots is that Ska
offers a low-cost,
simple and structured
Fit Out for the future
means of educating suppliers on university
‘UCL found that not only that there was
no extra project cost, but also that Ska
should actually help the university save
money. For example, the pilot highlighted
the potential for reducing costs by using
thermostatic valves on radiators and these
are now standard for all refurbishments.’
With the University of Liverpool also using
the approach, Robinson believes the pilots
show there’s an appetite for Ska. ‘I think
there’s potential for it to become embedded
across all the major universities very quickly,’
he says. ‘A Ska scheme specific to higher
education will be based on that for offices
but could include extra criteria for labs,
lecture theatres, libraries and other facilities.’
To those who wonder whether the
industry needs another green accreditation
system, Robinson has a simple answer:
‘Anyone who’s tried to use BREEAM for
Education on a minor refurbishment or fit
out project will have found that for this type
of project it’s relatively expensive and not
really designed to do what they need it to
do. Ska will plug this gap in the market.’
‘It’s about what you can do now on the
project in front of you,’ Robinson continues.
‘The base building might be beyond your
control, but Ska gives you a fast and flexible
framework for taking decisions that can
make a real difference to the fit out. This
might be relatively low impact but there are
thousands of these projects going on at any
time around the world and at the moment
there’s no framework for capturing this and
making improvements.’
Robinson also believes that an assessment
focussed on fit outs reflects universities’
current priorities: ‘Ska is about aiding the
improvement of existing building stock and
that’s where most universities are putting
their effort at the moment, rather than
expensive brand-new building projects.’
Overbury’s Environment Manager, Oliver
Ridley, agrees that there is a demand for a
more flexible approach to assessing fit outs.
‘Because fit out projects often need to be
completed in the holidays, the deadlines are
very tight,’ he explains. ‘And budgets are
very constrained. So when I’ve spoken to
people in the higher education sector about
a more flexible approach to rating fit outs,
they’ve certainly been interested.’
‘Developing Ska for education could
play a fundamental part in shaping higher
education spaces of the future in a way that
meets budgetary and programme constraints
faced by universities in the present. Overbury
is fully supportive of the RICS in getting this
tool to market, as it provides the client with
so much flexibility, yet still delivers the same
output as other assessment methods, which
is improving the environmental performance
of floor space. As Tim Robinson says, it
Spring 2013 | Issue #3
‘It’s about what
you can do now
on the project in
front of you.’
bridges that gap between what already
exists and what is in demand.’
With other providers potentially keen to
meet this demand too, Robinson says RICS
would like to build on the global potential
for Ska. ‘RICS is a global organisation so we
don’t see the future for Ska as linking up
with one national building system provider,
but rather linking up with multiple systems,’
he says. ‘Ultimately, we’d like to build a
bridge between Ska, LEED, BREEAM, Green
Star, DGMB and all the other national
building rating systems.’
In the meantime, the institution is keen
to get push ahead with Ska for higher
education. ‘To capitalise on Ska’s potential
for higher education, RICS requires modest
funding to develop the assessment method,’
says Robinson. ‘So we’re actively seeking
further development partners including
funding bodies, education associations,
consultancies and contractors.’
Anyone interested in supporting Ska for
higher education should contact RICS at
[email protected] for more information on how
to get involved.
Environmental case study
case study:
Faraday Complex, Lancaster
Overbury’s work at Lancaster University
shows what’s possible when it comes to
making a fit out green – and includes the
kind of measures a Ska assessment for higher
education would look to cover.
At Lancaster, Overbury delivered a new
lecture theatre complex for the university.
The project, featured five lecture theatres,
common areas and toilet facilities.
As well as ensuring all timber used in the
build was FSC certified and choosing paints
with low levels of VOCs, the Overbury team
adapted the design and reused elements to
boost environmental credentials and save
For example, the existing ductwork was
cleaned and adapted for use as part of
the ventilation strategy, rather than simply
installing new ductwork throughout.
Similarly, instead of ripping out and replacing
the old toilets and washbasins, Overbury
stripped them all out, cleaned and reinstalled
Specialist contractors removed all waste
from site, after it was separated into
designated bins. Over 75% of all waste from
site was recycled.
With the project squeezed into a 12-week
contract with a two-week run-in, students at
the Faraday Complex were sitting down to
lectures just two hours after Overbury had
completed the project.
Making the sums add up
‘It’s about tailoring the solution to the
individual Institution enabling them to
achieve their strategic objectives.’
Making the sums add up
Different deal structures offer universities new ways to fund development
‘There’s a lot of upheaval and uncertainty
facing the higher education sector, and a lot
of work going on to align estate strategies
with academic and corporate visions. With
funding being squeezed there’s potential to
make use of mechanisms that don’t just rely
on cash.’
Williams-Ellis believes that the sort of deal
structures employed by other private and
public sector estate holders – such as using
land assets instead of cash to fund projects –
are readily applicable and transferable to the
higher education sector. Indeed, he points
out that some of these deals already involve
‘In one of our local asset backed vehicle
(LABV) joint ventures with a local authority, a
nearby university needed additional student
accommodation,’ Williams-Ellis explains. ‘So
we are negotiating to provide nearly 400
student beds on one of the sites included in
this LABV.’
‘Other universities are looking seriously
at this sort of option. I know one university
recently announced that it is acquiring a
Spring 2013 | Issue #3
‘With funding
being squeezed
there’s potential
to make use of
that don’t rely
just on cash.’
large new site and as part of that deal is
looking at its entire estates strategy. I’d
expect that to involve rationalising current
facilities, which creates an opportunity
to use surplus land assets to fund new
Crucially, says Williams-Ellis, these sorts
of deal structures offer the flexibility that
estates directors need: ‘What we tend to
find is that although the original starting
point might be one of our standard
approaches, each project quickly becomes
tailored to specific client requirements or
localised factors. So, for example, to ensure
projects move forward with sufficient
momentum we’ll often set up bespoke
governance and decision-making processes
that suit both joint venture partners.’
‘This is why it’s essential to involve
investment experts at the earliest
opportunity,’ he continues. ‘We like to talk
to clients early in the process to run through
their particular needs. If we have a better
understanding of the opportunities and
constraints we will be in a good position to
Case study
‘It’s a good time to look at the different
deal structures available to fund
developing higher education estates.’
Case study:
Providing 21st century
education facilities through
partnership working
The New North Community
School is the result of joint
working and partnership
between Morgan Sindall
Investments (MSIL) and the
landowner, the London Borough
of Islington. MSIL provided a
single point of contact for all
the contracts relating to the
The merger of two schools
provided the opportunity for
a new build school on the
first site. This was funded by
residential development on the
second site and developing part
of the first site for affordable
suggest the most appropriate deal structure
for them.’
Stewart Ward, Head of Education Sector
at RBS, agrees that the time is right for
Higher Education Institutions to look at
all the available funding options available
to them: ‘There are currently numerous
opportunities for Universities to raise finance
for general corporate purposes and to
support capital development and expansion.
These can be stand-alone or complimentary
to land schemes. It’s about tailoring the
solution to the individual Institution enabling
them to achieve their strategic objectives.
The banking sector has played a key
role in Higher Education funding for many
years, and as Ward explains: ‘Universities
continue to have the ability to work with
banks like RBS to raise senior debt at the
current prevailing market rates. Generally
these facilities will have a legal maturity of
5 - 7 years but we are able to offer longer
term amortisation profiles (up to 25 years) so
the overall debt service costs still have similar
cash flow impacts of a traditional transaction
seen up to 2008’.
Ward acknowledges however that
the structure of such facilities prevents a
university from taking advantage of the long
dated (20 years plus) fixed rate market.
‘There are a number of ways that
Universities can access long dated fixed rate
finance that can be matched to the overall
life of the assets that they are constructing or
financing’, Ward explains. ‘Many universities
have already either taken advantage of, or
are exploring the opportunities which exist in
the Debt Capital Markets. These alternatives
to standard bank financing allow Universities
to raise finance from £30m upwards, on
terms of up to 50 years on an all-in fixed
rate basis.’ In Ward’s view this is currently an
attractive option as rates are historically low
and deal structures can be tailored to each
institution with a reasonable amount of inbuilt flexibility.
His advice to Universities is to ‘engage
with the key banks in the sector, such as RBS,
to ensure that all options and alternatives are
considered in line with your strategic capital
plans over the coming months and years’.
MSIL was contracted to build
and finance the new school
development. When this was
complete it received a transfer
of the housing site, paid the
council for the housing site and
was paid by the council for the
new school development.
An overage mechanism was
in place to ensure the council
benefitted if the land value
increased or if the cost of the
development decreased.
As a result of this project, the
council benefitted from £8.3m of
new educational facilities fit for
the 21st century with no impact
on their capital budget.
This type of land swap structure
applies equally well to the
higher education sector.
A home from home
A home from
Providing the high-spec accommodation
students expect
According to the National Union of
Students (NUS), 55% of purpose-built
student accommodation now has en-suite
bathrooms. This, says Jane Neary, Director of
Campus Services at Imperial College London,
reflects students’ increasing expectations.
‘I think we’ll see a greater and greater
demand for a home from home,’ says
Neary. ‘Looking back at my own university
experience, I had a single bed at home
so it was normal to have a single bed at
university. Now that’s unusual – many
teenagers have a double bed at home
and they expect the same in halls. As
expectations increase at home, they increase
at university too.’
The increase in en-suite accommodation
is mirrored by an increase in average weekly
rent in London – up 26% to £157.48 since
2009-10, according to the NUS. With rising
tuition fees putting pressure on students’
finances, how can universities like Imperial
make sure accommodation remains
‘ We don’t just offer our students one
type of accommodation. We’re committed
to offering a range of room types, rents and
experiences to ensure fair access to good
quality housing for all students, regardless of
their income background. That’s one of the
driving principles behind the redevelopment
and expansion of our halls of residence at
Wilson House.’
Neary continues ‘from a development
perspective en-suite accommodation doesn’t
necessarily take up more space so if you’re
building from scratch there’s no advantage
or disadvantage in terms of footprint to
creating en-suite accommodation.’
En-suite rooms are also vital for taking
advantage of the summer vacation trade
during the university holidays, the profits
from which are channelled directly back
into supporting the university’s education
and research mission, she explains. ‘Our
students pay for 39 weeks’ accommodation,
because we don’t want to charge them for
something they don’t need. And if we’re
trying to let our empty rooms in the summer,
accommodation without en-suites is much
more difficult to sell.’
Spring 2013 | Issue #3
39% of purpose-built student
accommodation is now in the private
sector (up from just 4% in 2003)
If specification and price are key issues
for students, then so is sustainability – as
Chris Hale, Business Director at Berman
Guedes Stretton, explains. His practice
works with universities to design student
‘At Jesus College, Cambridge we engaged
with students about the refurbishment of
existing accommodation,’ says Hale. ‘They
were really concerned with sustainability.
They wanted to know what initiatives we
were going to bring in to make it a lower
carbon development. So I’d say sustainability
is starting to rise up the agenda, although
it’s being squeezed by the pressure on
This pressure may also see more
universities opt to bring in private developers
to provide student accommodation. 39%
of purpose-built student accommodation is
now in the private sector (up from just 4%
in 2003), indicating that many universities
have already gone down this route.
But Neary believes there could be
downsides if Imperial were to follow in
their footsteps. ‘As a university, providing
your own halls of residence means you
retain control and can ensure you’re
providing a good standard and range of
Case study
Case study:
Wilson House, Imperial
College London
Imperial College London is currently
refurbishing and expanding its Wilson House
student accommodation in Sussex Gardens
with help from architect Berman Guedes
Stretton and contractors Overbury and Morgan
Wilson House is a terrace of 22 listed
buildings located in a conservation area,that
have been converted into student halls of
residence by the university. By September
2013, Overbury will have refurbished the
terrace and Morgan Sindall will have built a
new 78-bedroom student accommodation
development on the site where the sports hall
and squash courts currently stand.
Student accommodation
There are 460,000 purposebuilt bed spaces currently
available in the UK, and
around a quarter of these are
privately owned.
55% of accommodation is
now en-suite, up from 48% in
Average weekly rent has
gone up 25% since 2009 to
£123.96 nationwide.
In 2003, 4% of stock was
private sector. In 2012,
it’s 39%.
The private sector is now
driving over 75% of all growth
in the purpose-built student
accommodation sector.
What do students
Feedback from students at
Imperial College London
suggests that undergraduates
are looking for:
accommodation within
30 minutes travel time of
the campus where they’re
en-suite facilities;
‘cluster’ bedrooms;
a location close to a main
travel hub; and
a hall that provides a
community feel.
Affordable accommodation
Jane Neary, Director of Campus Services at
Imperial College London, explains that the
refurbished building will provide non en-suite
accommodation while the new development
will house en-suite rooms. ‘Wherever possible
we want to ensure we provide affordable
accommodation close enough to teaching,’
she explains. ‘Wilson House is a great location,
in that it’s a cycle ride across Hyde Park to our
South Kensington campus, and it’s also good
for our medical campuses.’
Chris Hale, Business Director at Berman
Guedes Stretton, believes that refurbishing
existing buildings in this way to provide
affordable accommodation was a pragmatic
choice. ‘For the refurbishment, we worked
with the structure of the building rather than
trying to squeeze in more accommodation or
en-suite facilities,’ he explains. ‘As a result, it
should be a simpler build and easier to deliver
what the university needs on time. Sometimes,
it’s quite radical to do things simply and that’s
exactly what Wilson House needed.’
Modular construction to a tight deadline
Using a modular system and modern methods
of construction for the new-build element
of the project reduced the programme by
12 months, explains Neary. ‘Originally we
only had 273 bed spaces at Wilson House,
so demolishing the back area and using the
modular build meant we could create 400 bed
spaces in total. Reconfiguring the communal
spaces means we’ve also been able to improve
the ratio of kitchens and bathrooms to beds.
And because it could all be turned around
within one year it became a viable proposition
at cost per bed space – we couldn’t afford to
have it out of action for longer than a year.’
The new build portion of the development
is on track to attain a BRE Environmental
Assessment Method (BREEAM) rating of
How to choose a
procurement route
Focus on what you want to
achieve from the process,
says Queen Mary’s Stephen
Faced with a growing range of options for
procuring construction contractors, which
route should estates directors choose? ‘I
think it’s important to understand what
you, as a client, want to get out of the
procurement process and how you can best
get that,’ says Stephen Wells, the newly
appointed Director of Estates and Facilities at
Queen Mary, University of London.
‘Your choices need to be based on
your institution’s situation,’ he continues.
‘What is your capital programme going
to be? What is your plan of work for the
coming years? Do you have design expertise
available in-house or will you need to
appoint consultants? For us, the main drivers
of procurement are value for money and
the need to deliver the project in a timely
Wells, who previously held the same role
at London South Bank University, points
out that higher education institutions may
have particular situations they can turn
to their advantage: ‘Queen Mary is in the
University of London, and that enables us
to procure with the other universities in the
collegiate system. We’re also co-located with
NHS estates, so we’re looking at whether
there are opportunities to procure services
Should universities still follow OJEU?
The options available to estates directors
like Wells have increased because universities
with more than 50% private funding are
not bound by rules laid down by the Official
Journal of the European Union (OJEU). So
will institutions opt out of following the
OJEU process?
‘Queen Mary is one of the universities
considering opting out,’ says Wells.
‘However, even if we did pursue this option,
we wouldn’t deviate significantly from
the OJEU process because it contains best
practice elements that you’d want in any
procurement process.’
‘Another advantage of the OJEU process
is that it can bring in new contractors or
consultants that you would never have heard
of otherwise. For the new student centre
and enterprise centre at South Bank, we
went through the OJEU process specifically
because it brought new blood into the
system and we appointed a slightly smaller,
lesser known architect who did a fantastic
job for us.’
Spring 2013 | Issue #3
Frameworks, preferred supplier
lists or competitions?
While many institutions continue to follow
traditional procurement approaches, the
use of frameworks appears to be on the
increase. ‘From the contracting perspective,
we’ve definitely seen an increase in the
number of clients preferring to go down a
framework route as opposed to a traditional
contracting route,’ says Marcus Lyon,
Director of construction consultants Currie
and Brown.
So would Wells consider using a national
framework like Scape or a regional
framework like iESE? ‘I haven’t personally
used iESE or Scape frameworks, although
I have used the London Universities
Purchasing Consortium framework in the
past, he says. ‘The advantage of using a pretendered framework is that you can get the
contractor started very quickly. The difficulty
is determining whether that would also
provide the best value for money.’
‘I think the debate at the moment is
whether you could get better value for
money by going to the market for each
project and so get a more competitive
situation,’ he continues. ‘My concern is that
some of these frameworks are quite old and
may have been let when costs were higher.’
Lyon believes that preferred supplier lists
can offer universities more flexibility than
frameworks. ‘National frameworks tend
to be dominated by the bigger suppliers,’
he says. ‘With preferred supplier lists,
universities can go to smaller companies.
These companies may be part of the supply
chain under frameworks but the university
won’t have as much control over them.’
‘It’s important to understand
what you, as a client, want to
get out of the procurement
process and how you can best
get that.’
Wells also suggests that combining a smaller
framework with an element of competition
might be a good option. ‘If you have a list
of ten contractors on a framework, some
of them might never be used. When I was
at South Bank, we had four framework
contractors and when we had a project to
procure we held a mini competition between
Whichever route an institution chooses to
procure a project, delivering it successfully
still relies to a large extent on people
and relationships. ‘Having a long-term
arrangement with a contractor enables you
‘Having a long-term arrangement
with a contractor enables you
to establish a good working
relationship and learn lessons
from projects.’
to establish a good working relationship
and learn lessons from projects,’ says Lyon.
‘You still need to find the right contractor
but I believe that a long-term relationship
ultimately gives you better service, better
quality and better value.’
Wells echoes these comments: ‘Our business
is a lot about personalities and when you
let a construction contract, you should insist
on seeing the people who will actually be
doing the work: the site foreman, the site
manager. You want to see them during
the procurement process to judge whether
they’re capable of doing the job for you.’
Selecting the contract strategy
Traditional fit out
contractual links
the contract
Over recent years the Higher Education
sector has seen a proliferation of major
refurbishment projects as universities seek
to attract new students in an increasingly
competitive market. Such projects represent
a significant capital outlay for institutions
already operating under considerable
financial pressure, so it is more important
than ever to get the job right first time.
Yet with so many parties often involved in
a major project, from in-house teams to
consultants, architects and contractors it
Alliance guarantee
contractual links
can be difficult to make sure everyone is
pulling in the same direction. ‘Maintaining
consistent communication between all
parties is one of the biggest challenges of
a complex project’, comments Overbury
commercial director Tim Smith. Minor design
and schedule changes can quickly escalate
into much bigger issues if a project team
lacks a shared sense of responsibility, focus
and trust.’
In the worst cases the breakdown of
project relationships can lead to formal
disputes and costly litigation, resulting in a
negative outcome for everyone involved,
not to mention the project owner. So what
can universities do to ensure their fit out or
refurbishment project stays on track?
Project board - shared financial pain and gain
Spring 2013 | Issue #3
between all parties
is one of the
biggest challenges
of a complex
Case sudy
‘Partnering can be an incredibly effective
way of encouraging a project team to work
more closely’ says Smith. ‘Existing partnering
agreements go some way in building
goodwill and trust by getting a commitment
from all parties to work together to improve
communications and avoid disputes.
Nevertheless, most agreements aren’t legally
binding so there’s little to discourage project
partners from resorting to legal action if
things go wrong’.
To tackle this problem Overbury has
developed its own, innovative form
of partnering contract – the Alliance
Agreement, tailored to the specific needs
of fast track fit out projects and requiring
a much stronger, legal commitment from
all project parties. The Alliance Agreement
requires all parties to commit to a no-blame
culture where disputes and issues must be
resolved among participants and adjudicated
by an Alliance Board.
Contract author Tim Smith explains ‘Asking
all participants to share in risk and reward
equally means it’s in everyone’s interests to
resolve issues as quickly as possible. The
longer disagreements continue then the
smaller the rewards for all.’
Yet what does this mean in practice,
particularly when other partnering
agreements have failed to encourage true
According to Smith ‘The key difference with
between the Alliance Agreement and other
partnering contracts is the fact that the
partnership is legally binding. Abandoning
the agreement and resorting to the courts
is not an option so the advantages of
maintaining open, honest relationships with
the rest of the project team is obvious to all.’
Overbury completed its first project under
an Alliance contract for Macquarie Bank
in 2011. A real team effort was needed to
meet the challenges of the project in terms
of programme, cost and design. Under
the Alliance, Macquarie and Overbury had
joint ownership of delivery and shared any
savings or overspend. The Alliance team
was organised into groups based not on the
company they belonged to but on the role
they played in the project: design, quality,
financial or delivery. Every role on the project
was filled by the person best placed to
deliver and the groups were situated close
together to facilitate good communication.
The entry cost was agreed as a team and
every decision had to be unanimously
agreed by the Alliance Board to be in the
best interests of the project. Because of
the Alliance contract, the new Macquarie
workplace was a result that all parties felt
they’d worked together to achieve.
‘Asking all
participants to
share in risk
and reward
equally means
it’s in everyone’s
interests to resolve
issues as quickly
as possible.’
Alliance Principles
To adhere to the Alliance Charter;
To work together in an innovative manner
so as to produce outstanding results in
delivering the Works;
T o share risk and reward associated with
the delivery of the Works. Risks and
responsibilities shall be shared and managed
collectively by the Participants working in
Alliance, rather than allocated to individual
To have a peer relationship where each
Participant has an equal say in decisions
of the Alliance;
T o empower the Management Team to
make decisions and take actions under this
Alliance Agreement;
To ensure that important decisions are made,
and processes and systems are adopted, on
a Best for Project basis;
To provide ‘best-in-class’ resources to the
T o develop a culture that promotes and
drives collaboration, innovation and
outstanding performance;
To develop a ‘communication culture’ and
shall be transparent in all of their dealings
with each other. Communication shall be
open, straight and honest so as to enable
informed decision making by the Alliance;
To act reasonably and do all things properly
and reasonably within their power that are
necessary to give effect to the spirit and
intent of this Alliance Agreement;
To give due regard to the representations
of the Participants and to act reasonably
when reaching any decisions including
decisions as to the giving or withholding of
consent or approval, or when exercising any
other discretion pursuant to this Alliance
T o avoid disputes by adopting a no blame
culture. Each Participant shall notify the
other Participants in the event of any real or
perceived dispute, difference of opinion and/
or conflict of interest immediately that they
arise and strive to promptly resolve those
disputes, differences and conflicts;
If you’d like to know
more about the Alliance
Agreement contract please
do give us a call on
0207 307 9000
To ensure that any documentation
prepared by a Participant for the purposes
of the Project (and any information,
analysis or methodology contained in that
documentation) is understood by the other
T o demonstrate ethical and responsible
behaviour and to act in compliance with
Law at all times.
Focus on flexibility
Focused on
Ramphal Building,
University of Warwick
Overbury’s refurbishment of the Ramphal
Building saw teaching rooms re-designed
so they could be easily reconfigured for
different teaching styles and uses
The University of Warwick’s Ramphal
Building was refurbished in phases to
provide open, light, flexible and userfriendly spaces. Overbury worked closely
with building users to ensure that work was
carried out around pre-existing teaching and
conference commitments.
Dr Nicholas Monk of the university’s
Institute for Advanced Teaching and
Learning explains the thinking behind the
project: ‘The brief to create physically and
metaphorically ‘open’ spaces, in which
student-centred learning can flourish, has
been balanced by an acknowledgement
that much excellent teaching around the
university takes place in ‘standard’ room
To accommodate standard layouts with
rows of desks alongside completely open
configurations, Overbury and architect
Berman Guedes Stretton put flexibility at the
heart of the refurbishment. In the teaching
rooms, surplus tables can be stored out of
sight behind the timber doors, and chairs
stacked at the side of the room. Bespoke
furniture in the teaching rooms and on the
first floor balcony provides storage for study
benches and seating.
‘The re-designed spaces make it possible –
using the light, stackable furniture, advanced
technical specs and audiovisual equipment
storage – to transform the rooms very easily
into a multitude of configurations,’ says Dr
Monk. ‘The spaces will accommodate the
widest possible choice of potential teaching
and learning scenarios.’
To encourage an atmosphere that’s
conducive to learning, the teaching rooms
will be passively ventilated and new
windows on internal walls facing the atrium
will let in more natural light. Although all
the teaching rooms were provided with
upgraded AV facilities – with lighting,
speakers and projectors integrated into
acoustic ceiling rafts – one room was
also equipped with high-definition videoconferencing. This ‘international portal’ will
enable collaborative teaching with partner
universities overseas.
Spring 2013 | Issue #3
‘The spaces will
the widest
possible choice
of potential
and learning
As part of the project, Overbury also
refreshed the Ramphal Building’s public areas
to create friendly, attractive areas for students
and staff. The whole project took just 16
weeks and was completed in time for the
new academic year in September 2012.
Project highlights
The project demanded
that Overbury worked with
Cosmic Wallpaper by Simon
Patterson, the University’s
iconic work of art that sits
on the curved wall of the
building’s lecture theatre.
Project highlights
Upgraded acoustics, including
underlay and acoustic dampers
Upgraded lighting
Upgraded AV
Upgraded mechanical and
electrical systems
New high-definition video
New natural ventilation
New lightweight, manageable
New storage for study benches
and seating
New windows in internal walls
to increase natural light
Who’s Who at Overbury
Who’s Who
at Overbury
Our specialist education team work with
universities across country and would love
to share ideas and innovations that could help
you achieve Perfect Delivery in your estates.
Chris Mann
Education Sector Head
T: 020 7307 4451
M: 07980 883 571
E: [email protected]
Emma Keyse
Business Development Manager
T: 0207 307 4406
M: 07855 435 992
E: [email protected]
David Johnson
Account Manager
T: 0121 748 8622
M: 07891 672 861
E: [email protected]
Peter Knight
Divisional Director
T: 0161 829 3400
M: 07973 157 869
E: [email protected]
Spring 2013 | Issue #3
77 Newman Street, London W1T 3EW
T 020 7307 9000
1-2 Berners Street, London W1T 3LA
T 020 7307 4400
11 Bracknell Beeches, Old Bracknell Lane West, Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 7BW
T 01344 386 600
Unit 207, 2nd Floor, Fort Dunlop, Fort Parkway, Birmingham B24 9FD
T 0121 748 8600
The Zenith Building, 26 Spring Gardens, Manchester M2 1AB
T 0161 829 3400
Fifth Floor, Fountain House, 4 South Parade, Leeds LS1 5QX
T 0113 241 2000
Part of Morgan Sindall Group plc