Catherine House is a student accommodation building in Portsmouth operated by The Student Housing company. It provides 1000 bedrooms available to rent to the student sector. Bedrooms are arranged in clusters with a shared kitchen and lounge area / self-contained studios and 1 bedroom apartments.

The project consists of the refurbishment of an existing commercial building and a new build extension, providing a unique challenge combining a change of use/refurbishment adjoining a new build.

The Student Housing Company operates a business model focused on adding to the student experience by providing a safe fun place to stay within an all-inclusive rent. Rent includes: water, electricity and gas bills, high-speed broadband and Wi-FI, heating and hot water, contents insurance, 24-hour security, maintenance service, access to the on-site laundry room, a TV and a post and parcel service.

calfordseaden was appointed to carry out pre-planning engineering and sustainability services, preparing all relevant documents to accompany a planning application. Post planning the appointment continued to carry out a stage D+ design for tender purposes with on-site quality inspections and witness testing on behalf of the client.

The M&E design for Catherine House consists of:
• Electric heating with timer and boost control
• Site wide hot water network fed via CHP
• Management / student area with air conditioning
• Access control
• LED lighting
• Overheating mitigation measures

A key driver for the client was the commissioning and operation of the M&E services to enable occupation. All had to be working at 100% for when students all moved in over a single weekend.

Key items were the access control as all doors and student bedrooms have access fob control / fire alarm for life safety / hot water and heating service. During commissioning, these systems were extensively tested to ensure that they operated as per the design and were fit for the building’s occupation.