Fulcro has a proven history of working successfully with educational institutions on their large-scale construction and infrastructure projects; University of Brighton, University of East Anglia, and Dudley College are well known examples.
Behind many new projects is the dual need to face the fierce competition for UK and lucrative foreign fee paying students whilst attempting to increase overall student numbers. Centres of higher education have responded by using low cost long-term finance (underwritten by existing and future fee income streams) to fund improvements in campus learning facilities and student accommodation. The numbers are impressive, construction analysts Barbour ABI predict spending in excess of £2bn either planned or underway by 2020.
However, there is a reality check. Attracting new students looks set to remain a challenging and costly issue. This construction spending spree predates the decision to leave the EU and Brexit looks likely to impact foreign student applications and fees received. Add to this any drop in public funding plus ever increasing staff costs and it becomes vital that these campus (re)developments demonstrate a positive ongoing return on investment. Integral to this, is the need for accuracy and control in the cost of procurement and lifetime ownership. This is especially true in the case of projects employing award winning architects creating innovative designs using leading construction edge technology.
Recently awarded University of the Year, University of Birmingham hosts one of the largest of the upcoming campus redevelopment projects, part of its long term expansion strategy, ‘BIRMINGHAM 2026’ The development project, worth an estimated £606 million, will see the University create outstanding new facilities for students, staff and the local community.
Vice Chancellor and Principle Sir David Eastwood sets out a dynamic and far reaching vision for the University. Supporting the drive to position Birmingham as a global ‘Rising Star’, the ‘BIRMINGHAM 2026’ strategy points to a growth in student numbers by 11,000 along with an additional 1,400 academic and research staff all underpinned by financial stability.
‘FULmax’ supporting the BIRMINGHAM 2026 Strategy
University of Birmingham is not alone in recognising the need for robust cost control as the keystone of their exciting strategy. 2018 has seen the popularity of Fulcro’s revolutionary FULmax technology continue to rise, with Universities and their construction partners understanding the need for complete project oversight to avoid costly over runs.
With its innovative Virtual Reality (VR) technology capabilities, FULmax delivers a holistic solution that embraces all project disciplines. This enables the client and construction partners to share project and cost data in a 360 degrees, VR environment. Therefore all are able to interrogate any aspect of the project in unprecedented detail, working off the same base data.
As a result, project costs are continually monitored and minimised with a pro-active cross-discipline mindset encouraging all parties to identify and cost effectively solve problems as they occur, rather than being left to intensify into more complex, time consuming costly delays.
Willmott Dixon, main contractor, has deployed two individual, fully integrated FULmax units onto the University of Birmingham campus re-development project, to support the BIRMINGHAM 2026 strategy with their commitment to deliver the project on time and within budget.
Dr Alan Arthur, Applied Technologies Director, FULmax, said: “We’re very proud that our FULmax technology is being used on the University of Birmingham campus re-development project and applaud the foresight of both Wilmott Dixon and University team in doing so.
“Having worked with a number of different higher education institutions, we believe we now set the standard for applying VR technology to project delivery. Our goal for the BIRMINGHAM 2026 project is to support Willmott Dixon in delivering the campus redevelopment on time and to budget and in doing so minimise the ongoing cost of ownership of these exciting new facilities.
“Beyond this, we hope that the construction industry as a whole continues to take this pro-active approach to project management, and removes the needless risks that continue to exist in these medium and large-scale projects.”
Nick Gibb, deputy managing director at Willmott Dixon in the Midlands, said: “It’s great to be working alongside Fulcro to utilise their FULmax technology on our projects at the University of Birmingham. The benefits we receive from using the technology are substantial.
“Before projects even go to site, it has enabled us to give complete transparency to people working in the buildings as they are able to see specific design elements that wouldn’t be visible in 2D drawings. It enables greater sharing of data with our supply chain and design partners, with all parties having a clear view of projects and making decisions using a single-source collaborative model. Customer and student engagement and interaction has also improved through use of this technology, with people being able to fully immerse themselves into the environment through virtual reality.
“We’re excited to see the future of this technology and how it will progress throughout the University’s development programme, and are delighted to be part of it.”
The revolutionary FULmax technology that you’ve read about in this article is coming to the Universities & Healthcare Estates and Innovation 2018 conference in Birmingham on 27 & 28 November 2018. Stay tuned to our social media accounts and website to find out more information over the coming weeks.