St Clements, Oxford

CLEINT: Watkin Jones & Sons

SERVICE: Structural Engineering

Alice House, at St Clements in Oxford (previously a car park), is a managed student accommodation providing 140 studio bedrooms, management offices, common and plant rooms as well as car parking spaces in two five storey blocks. A glazed footbridge at 1st Floor level links the two residential blocks. Westlakes were appointed by Watkin Jones as their civil and structural engineers for the project.

In order to complete the project by the strict start of term deadline a fast-track form of construction had to be selected.  A reinforced concrete podium frame, with piled foundations, was built to 1st floor level and the rest of the superstructure above was built in prefabricated, load-bearing cold rolled steel panels for speed.

As the existing car park site lay partly in the flood plain of the river, surface water management was also critical and based on the use of SUDS.  The car park was re-surfaced in permeable paving laid on a deep granular sub-base.  The rate of discharge into the river is controlled by a hydrobrake and a flap valve on the outfall prevents any discharge at all when the river is in flood.  The drainage system is designed to prevent flooding of the site in a 1 in 100 year storm event including allowance for climate change.

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