Design2e provides breakthrough for student flats plan by Design2e

Design2e has provided an innovative solution to a design headache to help bring much-needed student accommodation to Birmingham.

Design2e, which recently moved its head office from Cannock to Birmingham, has designed the 290-bedroom development over 14 storeys on the former Birmingham Nautical Club site in Bishopsgate Street.

The process was complicated by a nearby railway line, which required a 10 metres exclusion zone without any structural support, but Design2e’s plans have kept the proposal on track and work on the site has now begun.

The proposal has saved the developer around £500,000 in monitoring costs.

Dave Tyson, managing director of Design2e, said: “The very close proximity of the main Worcester railway line in the adjacent tunnel to the site makes it a very complex piece of engineering.

“To avoid Network Rail’s involvement in the construction phase of the project, we had to keep the foundations 10 metres back or the developer would have incurred a sizeable cost on monitoring, so this left a proportion of the building footprint without direct support off the ground.

“We have got around that by installing a large pre-stress cantilever concrete beam which, at a full storey height, was stiff enough to support the 14 storeys of the building footprint above.

“The cantilever was anchored back to the ground through a push-pull substructure which returned the forces to the piles below via the main core and a feature ‘L’ shaped column. The pre-stressing was used in order to control the long-term deflection that cantilevers suffer from.

“It’s a complicated process but one which has saved the developer around £500,000 in monitoring costs in the tunnel.”

The Nautical Club closed in the summer of 2015 but the site has since been earmarked to support the growing demand for student accommodation across Birmingham.