Metframe structure in situ
Portswood Halls exterior

Image Credits: Morgan Sindall, Select Property Group

Project Description

Client: Select Property Group/Vita Student
Location: Southampton, Hampshire
Year Completed: 2019
Value: £30m
Contractor: Morgan Sindall
Architects: Architecture PLB

The Portswood student complex is an extensive student residence development located on the site of a former bus depot in Portswood Road, Southampton.  In addition to the 435 studio bedrooms, the Portswood scheme, which consists of Belmont House and Grosvenor House, also includes extensive communal areas, including a tiered cinema room, private dining room, a 24/7 accessible gym and a games area.

Constructed in the heart of Southampton’s student district, the high quality Portswood complex is split into three tiered buildings which have two distinct and different structural characteristics – firstly, a regular arrangement of student bedrooms repeating on each storey, and secondly, open plan areas at the lower levels providing communal areas.

This led to the use of two differing construction techniques of Metframe load-bearing, pre-panelised steel superstructures for the regular grid of student bedrooms stacking one above the other and also reinforced concrete flat slabs and transfer slabs that were designed to keep the communal areas as column-free as possible whilst maintaining acceptable transfer slab depths, all of which were detailed using the latest software to provide effective and economic designs.

Gyoury Self provided full structural and civil engineering design and detailing for all of the reinforced concrete substructures and superstructures as well as the civil engineering designs across the entire development.


The Challenges

Due to the close proximity of an adjacent superstore and the need to construct foundations, retaining walls and basement structures close to this boundary, a ‘silent piled’ steel sheet pile wall was installed. This required back propping onto thrust blocks, all of which had to be carefully designed to fit in amongst the piles and pile caps and coordinate with the required construction sequencing.

A careful daily monitoring routine was established to record any movements of the sheet piles, but by the end of the project the resultant movements had been negligible.

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