Support for higher education construction

Support for higher education construction

With support from the government based Research Partnership Fund, the construction of higher education facilities in 2013 should be relatively solid.

Some £300 million worth of funding has been offered to universities for the construction of new research facilities. Of this funding, £80 million still remains, suggesting that in addition to ongoing and proposed construction schemes, more construction can be carried out throughout 2013.

Research facilities are just one aspect of construction that could take place at higher education establishments this year. In recent years, the demand for purpose-built student accommodation has increased, due to the desirable nature of all-inclusive rents, mod-cons, and better transport links to both town centres and universities.

Robert Kingham, assistant director of property consultant Drivers Jonas Deloitte, said that he has noticed a recent trend of private investment companies looking to put their money into student accommodation, seeing it as a safe option.

Despite the drop in university applications following the rise in course fees this year, this demand is expected to continue for students in first-year and beyond. 

However, as the initial shock of rising course fees passes, Mr Kingham predicts that many institutions will begin to turn their attention to improvements on university estates. He also suggested that construction will be supported by universities that don’t access the government fund, as they did into their own budgets to develop new facilities.

The University of Hertfordshire is one institution investing in student accommodation, as plans have been approved to demolish five buildings on the Hatfield-based College Lane site.

A total of 2,511 new bedrooms will be constructed in place of the former locations of Coales Hill, Broad Hall, Chapman Hall, Fern Hall and Butler Hall. The 21 new blocks of bedrooms will offer twice the amount of rooms for students than the previous buildings did.

With plans to renovate 72 houses in Roberts Way also in the works, it is hoped the project will be completed by 2016, with construction set to begin later on in 2013.