Faithorn Farrell Timms LLP

Refurbishment of Devonport House, University of Greenwich

The project

Faithorn Farrell Timms were appointed by the University of Greenwich as Project Managers to specify and manage refurbishment works to their student accommodation at Devonport House within their Greenwich Campus.

Devonport House student accommodation sits within a converted Grade II Heritage Listed building. This phase of the refurbishment programme comprised 13 cluster flats, with a total of 70 bedrooms within them. The work included refurbishment to student bedrooms, en-suites, shower facilities, kitchens and the redecoration of communal stairwells.

A number of rooms have challenging layouts, with the bed on a mezzanine platform accessed by steps or a ladder and two of the ground floor rooms were adapted for those with special needs with level access and DDA compliant wet rooms.

our role

Our involvement started with initial visual surveys of the site to determine the current state of the flats and the required extent of refurbishment. Based on this information and client objectives and budget, we produced tender documentation and managed the bid process through the University’s tender portal.

As this project sits within a rolling programme of refurbishment of student accommodation for the University, we managed consistency of specifications and finishes with past phases where possible to ease ongoing maintenance requirements and purchase of spare parts.

We oversaw project delivery on site through a combination of fortnightly site inspections, monthly formal valuation meetings and regular communication with the contractor, client, and project stakeholders.

The challenges

The lead-in and procurement period was very constricted and we were concerned with maintaining programme as the works needed to be completed before the start of the new academic year meaning there was no scope for slippage.

the solution

Because of the short lead-in period and the need to commence works immediately upon the start of the University summer holidays, we brought elements of the supply-chain such as the furniture and kitchens into the project pre-contract. Before the project went to tender, we coordinated full surveys with suppliers and manufacturers, and subsequently agreed specifications, quantities and quotes rather than leave these with the contractor once he commenced his works. The manufacturer was then able to fabricate and supply these in advance of the main construction.

added value

We have worked closely with the University of Greenwich on a number of previous schemes for refurbishment of their student accommodation. Through efficient record-keeping and documentation, we were able to offer a number of ‘lessons-learned’ from past schemes. These ranged from the specification of robust products which have withstood the wear-and-tear of similar student accommodation schemes to an in-depth understanding of site logistics on the campus.