At the University of Bath, we are working on number of projects as part of a framework agreement. For the replacement of the campus' 4 West building, we have engineered a three and five storey new concrete structure and the refurbishment of the 1970s Nucleus building. The new 4 West complex will house digital research facilities.
The new structure is built in the footprint of its predecessor, which was steel frame and had been found to contain asbestos. We were lead consultants for the demolition of this building and worked closely with asbestos removal experts.
Investigations into the Nucleus building found that it too contained asbestos. However, refurbishment was more cost effective than rebuilding in this case. Strategies have been established to manage the asbestos. These include its removal from the building's steel frame and minimising disruption to the asbestos-containing bema-block floors.
The Nucleus building also has high-aluminous cement which reduces in strength over time. Load testing determined that the residual strength was generally acceptable as it had decreased then stabilised. Steel elements have been added to the structure where necessary.
For the new parts of the complex, an innovative concrete cooling system, involving internally-finned aluminium pipes cast into the slabs, has been used. They use the warmth of the exposed concrete to pre-heat ventilation air in winter, and night-time purging to cool the air in summer, improving building's projected energy costs.