The University of Cambridge’s North West Cambridge Development creates a new district for Cambridge and involves developing 150 hectares of former farmland to provide accommodation for university and college staff, postgraduate students and homes for private sale.
Supporting facilities for the new community included a three-form entry primary school, community centre, doctor’s surgery, supermarket, sports pitches and pavilions, in addition to the Storey’s Field Centre and Eddington Nursery which have been shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize. The entire development is set in an idyllic landscape inclusive of parkland and lakes.
The whole development has been designed to achieve Code for Sustainable Homes Level Five for the residential elements and BREEAM ‘Excellent’ for non-residential buildings. The energy centre incorporates a gas-fired CHP and will provide heat and hot water to all the buildings via a district heating network. Combined with the extensive use of photovoltaics, the scheme will utilise 20% renewable energy. The designs also incorporate a non-potable water recycling network and have a potable water consumption of less than 80 litres per person per day.
Careful consideration to connectivity through and beyond the site has informed the transport plan, which consists of an extensive walking and cycling network and Green Travel Plan. All of these initiatives aim to encourage people to lead more sustainable lives.
The project fully utilises calfordseaden’s multi-disciplinary arrangement. Our initial appointment to the project came in the form of NEC Supervisor appointed to inspect and monitor the quality and compliance of works on site. Duties included: full inspection of all buildings, roads, drainage, utilities, earthworks and landscape construction; witnessing tests on materials; witnessing commissioning; and off-site factory inspections.
Further to our role as NEC Supervisor on Phase 1, we led in an advisory capacity on the University of Cambridge’s Building Information Modelling (BIM) initiative on Lot 5; our BIM Department provided advice to the project team on managing and documenting their BIM protocols and ensuring the university’s own set of Employer’s Information Requirements met and exceeded industry standards. Our M&E Inspection team were also appointed to ensure the contractor’s designs and technical submissions were in accordance with the client’s specifications, and that the installations were delivered to the highest industry and technical standards.
“With such a complicated build process, we needed an NEC Supervisor with the specific skill-set and capacity to oversee works in an effective and collaborative manner. In choosing calfordseaden, I believe we have achieved this. The calfordseaden team have demonstrated the required attributes both during the tender process and in practice on the ground. They take their work seriously and work very well as part of a large team, being our ‘eyes and ears’ on site, providing assurance that we are getting what we asked for, and working with project managers, designers and contractors to solve problems early”.
Gavin Heaphy (Construction Director at the University of Cambridge)
Main image courtesy of Mecanoo