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Live! - News

Southside Twin Rooms "Too Small"

Nov 14 2006 21:56
Ashley Brown
Plans for the East Side halls of residence are being changed because twin rooms in Southside will be too small.
Artists Impression of the East Side building

The perfect record of new Southside has fallen at the last hurdle, with residences and the union deeming the twin rooms to be too small. Southside has so far been a mostly perfect project, being delivered on time and on budget thanks to the off-site fabrication and just-in-time delivery process being used.

Concerns were first raised to Live! about the size of the rooms during the "Open House London" which saw the Southside site open to the public. Students expressed the opinion that the twins looked a bit small, which has now been confirmed with the core structure of the building completed. One of the widely-hailed benefits of the new buildings was greater capacity in smaller buildings, however the possibility of Southside twins becoming large singles would reduce this benefit.

The East Side building has now been redesigned to avoid the problem, with new planningg permission being sought. The new design is to have a smaller footprint than the old, so problems in the planning process are not expected.

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Discussion about “Southside Twin Rooms "Too Small"”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Nov 15 2006 12:30

If I remember correctly, this was brought up in the initial planning stages and we were assured that it wouldn't be the case...

2. Ben   
Nov 15 2006 14:17

I've been involved in the Southside project since I started my term and yes, the twin rooms are small. However this was agreed, and lobbied for, by previous Sabbatical Officers. Obviously it's too late to change the design now (though as the article points out Eastside design has been altered - I currently have the stage D plans to approve...) but College have given assurances that they will monitor the situation surrounding twin rooms and act accordingly.

If you have any questions please get in touch as soon as possible.

3. Nick   
Nov 15 2006 18:03

What concerns me is the fact that it will reduce the number of double rooms offered across all the residences. It is bad news if students are forced to pay a premium for a single room if they cant get a double AND have to pay top up fees. Harsh.

Nov 15 2006 18:11

The article says: "Southside has so far been a mostly perfect project, being delivered on time and on budget thanks to the off-site fabrication and just-in-time delivery process being used."

That hasn't stopped other pre-fab College projects going tits up. The only real difference with Southside, and the reason for it's success, is that the College Secretary is directly in charge of it.

Nov 15 2006 18:16

Oh and I do remember a discussion about room sizes. I can't recall exactly because I've not seen the plans since August 2005. But basically the rooms were designed to be as "space efficient" as possible. The sizes for the double rooms was fine but was designed around a peculiar furniture layout (beds placed almost end-to-end with a semi-partition-ish wall thingy in the middle). This layout was later changed around (because people found it too strange) but by that stage the plans for the building structure were too far down... (I think!)

6. Ben   
Nov 15 2006 18:38


Almost half the rooms in Southside are twin - far more than many other college halls (with the exception of Garden I believe...).


Tony isn't incharge of Southside, it's being led by DBW (though I guess that may be a change). The reason it's running so smoothly is very good project management by ARUP, and the fact that the entire building is prefabricated - walls, floors, cladding, brickwork and toilets.

Nov 15 2006 22:56

I wonder what the snag clause in the contract is like on this one. With respect to the Pluswall contracting job on the Chemistry building entrance facade, there is a lot left to be desired (window sealings that were hardly stuck on, fittings that didn't fit, mullions that some special person or another were likely to sit on were only secured with two screws... the list was almost endless) and one wonders how college will deal with the snags on a project like this, which will probably involve the first set of people moving in days after "completion".

8. Nick   
Nov 15 2006 22:59

I would say Laing O'Rourke are the people to thank for it being on time and in budget, they are currently doing an amazing job at T5 and are very progressive!

Half the rooms in Southside are twin, but what if they are deemed too small and made single as the article suggests?

Nov 16 2006 08:34

Surely it being on time is due to both consultant and contractor? (Arup and Laing O'Rourke) if either messed up then it would be behind.

Credit to both I would say, just like credit to T5 is deserved to many more than just Laing O'Rourke, even though they are doing a good job.

Nov 16 2006 08:58

I was referring to the College Secretary in terms of leading the Steering Ctte. I agree, however, that DBW did genuinely put his heart and sole into driving the Princes Gardens project. The commitment of both of these often under-appreciated senior College officers were critical to ensuring the initial planning stages went very well. And yes the PM from Arup was very efficient (though it was often fun to see Tony and/or DBW make him squeal over meeting difficult deadlines).

As for the reputation of the contractors... good track records haven't stopped other contractors failing to deliver when working for the College. Too often this has been the result of bad project management and steering. We should recognise and appreciate it when management (broadly) gets it right.

Nov 16 2006 10:30

I forgot to add, the Southside / Princes Gardens restoration project was one of the key things I had in mind when I conferred a President's Award upon DBW (2004) and Tony (2005).

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