Staff House, Refurbishment, University of Hull


Staff House is an integral part of the University of Hull campus and constantly used for internal and external events and functions.

The kitchen facilities were tired and dated, and needed replacing to be brought up to modern standards.

This included industrial catering equipment, roofing works, flooring, new drainage and staff welfare facilities.


We competitively tendered for the project, which began in July 2016 and was completed in October 2016.

A strong relationship is already in place with the university, as Sewell Construction also built the £30 million student residences on the higher education provider’s Cottingham Road campus in Hull.

Due to a tight 16-week deadline for the Staff House project, we planned to work 12-hour shifts from Monday to Saturday, as well as some Sundays.

We made plans for working in a live environment, as only one quarter of the building was occupied by us during the project and 4,000 students needed to be inducted while work continued.

We also made sure we segregated our work area and the existing finishes in the building were protected, ensuring carpets were covered as they needed to be retained.

A temporary bin storage area was created to minimise any disruption and staff worked from a temporary kitchen to ensure they could still cater for people using the building.

The lead fall pipes had a restoration order on them, which we had to keep in mind, and we made plans for power distribution, as power was not available out of hours for a week while the project progressed.

For this part of the project, we worked out of hours, from 7am to midnight, to minimise downtime.

If work had been carried out during the day, Staff House would have had to close for two weeks, so plans were made in advance and during the development stage to ensure everything ran smoothly.


Completing on time was absolutely crucial for this project and we managed to achieve that.

The old-style kitchen facilities were replaced, with existing walls re-plastered and hygienic wall cladding installed, new floor finishes added and modifications made to the existing drainage system.

New ceilings and drop ceilings were installed, alongside toilet and shower facilities, upgrades to the existing roof and roof lights.

Additional cold rooms and freezers were also installed, as well as structural strengthening and removal of racking.

We met with the client and end users every week to update them on progress, milestones and any other key information, such as brief water and electric shutoffs. Racking was also installed.

Up to two Sewell apprentices were based on site at any one time, alongside an external apprentice for two weeks.

There was a total of 95% recycling on site and small elements of asbestos were removed in a controlled manner.

A communal car park was created for Staff House while we closed the road for a day and we also worked around the opening times of Costa, which is housed in the same building, to minimise disruption.

A local supply chain was used throughout the project.


The project was completed on time, on budget and with zero accidents.

There was 100% local spend.

Although there were several variations on the job, we worked weekends to ensure everything was completed on time.

For more information on Hull University Staff House, click here.

Appointed to several EU compliant frameworks
17 major public facilities in the past 4 years
education and health facilities delivered within agreed cost envelopes
Construction excellence academic journal published worldwide as book
A great place to work, a great company to deal with
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accident frequency rate in 2016

We found Sewell to be extremely professional in their approach to the work and their work ethic. They surpassed our expectations in their approach to both the project and ourselves as the client.
Sewell worked with us on all aspects of the project, including accommodating our ever-changing and often challenging business needs to ensure the building continued to operate and be able to accommodate existing, as well as new, bookings.

- Mark Mullaney, Assistant Director, Campus and Accommodation Services, University of Hull