Client: Bradford College | Sector: Education | Work: Refurbishment

The Brief

Award-winning Sewell Construction have gone beyond building in a refurbishment project with Bradford College. The project adds to our range of high-profile education projects across Yorkshire, including the construction of Broadacre Primary School in Hull, building a complex extension at Harrogate Grammar School, and multiple projects for the University of Leeds.

The College wanted to upgrade its facilities for students, creating immersive learning environments, alongside extra science and ICT facilities. Sewell Construction ensured that the project wasn’t just about bricks and mortar, but also brings in decarbonisation, sustainability, and creating value in the local community.

As this was our first project with Bradford College, we wanted to make sure they understood the way we worked, and our values. We want to do more than just construct – we also want to build meaningful relationships with partners, be environmentally conscious and leave a positive socio-economic impact.

The Solution

Work at Bradford College is split over two buildings and on multiple floors. In one building, the Sewell Construction team stripped out and refurbished classrooms to provide science and ICT rooms, including laboratory spaces and IT suites. In another building, we created a mock nursery and simulated hospital environment for childcare and healthcare students. Chiller units will also be replaced on the roof.

Work included:

  • The refurbishment of digital suites and science laboratories and teaching spaces, including new floor finishes, redecoration, new bespoke fixtures, furnishings and equipment, new bespoke feature teaching wall, upgrade of lighting to energy efficient LEDs, feature lighting and mechanical and electrical alterations.
  • The creation of an education and childcare teaching space, including a new simulated nursery area. As well as a new simulated outdoor teaching area with bespoke playground fittings, the refurbishment included acoustic upgrades to the walls, feature acoustic panels, new floor finishes, redecoration, new bespoke fixtures, furniture and equipment, the upgrade of lighting to energy efficient LEDs, feature lighting and mechanical and electrical alterations to the rooms.
  • The healthcare refurbishment included the creation of a new integrated plumbing system to create a simulated hospital ward, new floor finishes, redecoration and mechanical and electrical alterations to the area.
  • The installation of four acoustic meeting pods in open plan areas.

The Challenges

Work was carried out in a live college setting, and with numerous rooms across two buildings and several floors to refurbish, it’s important that the team kept the project on schedule. Regular catch-ups with the Bradford College Projects Team meant that we could ensure everything progressed on time and to the client’s requirements.

The journey towards net zero is important for both us and our clients. We’ve set a target to be net zero in our own operations by 2030, so it’s vital we take every opportunity to be greener.

We’ve begun using solar-powered site cabins, and we produced a site waste management plan, identifying how we can minimise waste.

We’ve put in a brand-new type of energy efficient light fitting at the college, adapting the existing lights from fluorescent lamps to LED. As well as helping save energy and contributing to decarbonisation targets, this approach also allows re-use of existing assets and reduces waste. Through doing this, Bradford College are part of a decarbonisation scheme from the light fitting manufacturer, helping blaze a trail for sustainability and prove the worth of the project before it’s rolled out nationwide.

Social Value

It’s important that we don’t work for a client on a project, but with them. We wanted to deliver the best educational facilities for the College, so that they can deliver the best learning experience for their students. This is why we worked with the college on an extensive social value programme.

We began with a social value workshop with the Bradford College Project Team, so we could identify what those at the college needed, and how we could best provide experiences and initiatives to give them the best skills for the future.

Bradford College provides Certificate, T-Level, apprenticeship, diploma and degree level in construction and the built environment, so it was important we supported their lecturers to deliver. We brought four lecturers from their Construction team to one of our West Yorkshire sites for an ‘industry insight’ day, with masterclasses in some of the hot topics in construction: social value, sustainability, site management, quantity surveying and document control.

At Sewell Construction, we’re always looking to give back to the community, so when we started the project with Bradford College, we made sure we planned in plenty of opportunities to engage with the students.

Before we even got on site, we saw the chance to help transform lives, by strategically planning social value initiatives that would benefit those who needed it most. The construction industry has a growing skills gap, so it’s important that young people are offered opportunities to experience working on construction sites, given insight into what different roles are available, and provided with appropriate training and guidance to enable them to gain meaningful employment once they’ve finished their training. This led to us providing 160 hours of work experience placements for students at the college.

Assistant Design Manager Aime Mangham delivered a Digital Construction Masterclass, giving students an insight into real-world applications of the digital design systems they are studying. Not only were the students able to see real-life projects, but they could look into the latest tools that we use to position ourselves at the forefront of digital technology, such as virtual and augmented reality. Amie was also able to share her career journey and routes into the industry with the eager students, giving them valuable advice on getting their first jobs.

The Results

The result is the college have modern new learning environments that give the best experience for students. As well as revitalised IT facilities – essential for modern learning, which relies so heavily on access to digital resources – students studying health and childcare subjects now have immersive learning environments which will give them valuable experience ahead of entering the workforce.

We also make sure we keep the local pound local, with 94% of our spend on the Bradford College project being kept with the local supply chain, and making sure we used local labour and contractors where possible.

Since the start of the project, we’ve started work with the College on more projects, and look forward to being able to see the impressive facilities at the college improve still further, and the development of our work with the students.

“We were delighted to create such a fruitful partnership with Sewell Construction.
Not only have we had expert help in bringing some very ambitious design concepts to life, but they have also gone above and beyond to support the social responsibility target, while simultaneously offering technical industry placements to construction students.
We truly hope our paths cross in the near future so that we can continue on working together to transform lives.”

Pamela Sheldon, Head of Department: Projects, Bradford College

“It’s been the first time we’ve worked with the team at Bradford College, and I feel like we share a lot of values with them. They have been enthusiastic about making the project as sustainable as possible, and we’ve been happy to lend our technical expertise to help advise on the best approach to decarbonisation."

Mark Boothby, Joint Managing Director, Sewell Construction