Campus Developments: October 2009

Here is the fourth news bulletin from the Estates & Facilities team to accompany the monthly newsletter featured on their website. The following information will kepp you bang up to date with the latest campus developments.   

Estates Management

  • The University received excellent publicity at the first Decentralised Energy Conference held at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham on Thursday 15 October 2009.  Public bodies from across the UK and abroad came to learn more about the Birmingham-wide Combined Heat and Power District Heating Scheme, of which Aston was noted as being a key partner in its lead of the Eastside Scheme.  Speakers included cross party MP’s and senior Council Officers as well as heads of associated Government Departments, including: Cllr Paul Tilsley - Deputy Leader, BCC; Greg Barker MP, Conservative Shadow Cabinet for Energy and Climate Change; David Kidney MP, Under Secretary of State; Doug Parr, Chief Policy Advisor, Greenpeace; Hergan Haye, Director of Heat Policy, Department of Energy and Climate Change

  • The Resident Scheme on site is reaching its most intense on-site activity with some 430 operatives on site and a spend rate of circa £1m/week.  Block A is now at full height and one Tower Crane has now been removed from site.  A formal ‘Topping Out’ ceremony will be organised in early 2010

  • On Sunday 25 October, works will begin on the Birmingham City Council Woodcock Office Project.  These works will restrict on-street parking on Woodcock Street (from opposite the Sacks of Potatoes to the junction with Heneage Street West, opposite the end of Aston Street).  These restrictions will be in place until the construction is completed in summer 2011 

Electrical Engineering

  • The outside lighting final phase is to be completed by the end of next week

  • The refurbishment of the two “H” lifts will be complete by the end of October.  “A” lift will then commence and be complete by end of February. The refurbishment project costs are in excess of £300k. The lifts will be completely DDA compliant. They will have state of the art variable voltage, frequency drives for a smoother ride along with LED lighting to drastically reduce the energy consumption of the lifts.  


  • Aquatronic have been on site and carried out surveys of the residential buildings in respect of water consumption. They will be making recommendations for any water saving opportunities based on their findings. In addition they have fitted approximately 40 data loggers to most of the water sub meters around the site. Again the intention is to analyze the water consumption profile and identifies any opportunities for saving water

  • Sabien Technlogy have been on site fitting energy saving controls to the boilers in lakeside a, Woodcock, Vision Science and Shustoke. This is being funded from our Green Fund (Salyx) other boilers will have similar controls fitted when the next tranche of funds is made available.

Environment & Sustainability

  • The first lot of recycling bins for plastic bottles, cans, glass and paper/cardboard, has been introduced to the Main Building and the Library (approximately 70 locations).  More bins will be in place of the next few weeks

  • The two final cycle shelters have been installed and are being well used.  There are now a total of 70 bicycle spaces and 15 motorbike spaces on campus

  • The Sustainable Aston Working Group Annual Report has been approved and is now available online, through the Environment and sustainability web pages

  • The Student Switch Off Campaign launched its second year during Welcome Week and around 150 students signed up to participate.  The environmental film “The Age of Stupid” was screened last week to help promote this

  • Aston will be hosting the Environment Association of Universities and Colleges Sustainable Procurement Event on 5 November

  • Victoria Johnsen has been appointed as Environment & Sustainability Officer in a permanent role.   

Finance & Resourcing

Estates & Facilities have been working on a new help desk system over the past few months. The system is due to be launched early December and is currently on target to do so.

The big advantage from the rest of the University will be a web based help desk reporting system to allow staff to report non-urgent issues on the campus electronically rather than ring the help desk.

The new system will also allow users to track their requests via the intranet as well as receiving e-mails along the way as the request is progressed through to completion.


  • Conference Aston – Civils work for Landscaping Project (landscaping by others) Conference Aston have been informed. Works to start Saturday 31 October 2009

  • Conference Aston – Glazed Curtain Walling Replacement – due to start w/c 2 November 2009. Awaiting confirmation from Maghansen (glazing contractor) of agreed start date. Conference Aston have been informed

  • ‘A’ Corner drainage – supply and fit new drainage to a corner to help alleviate the problems of ‘a’ corner electrical sub-station being flooded 

  • Lake re-lining project is currently ongoing.

Minor Projects/Space Management

  • The New Catering Facility and Short Term EBRI projects are both progressing well and are on programme.

Words by Claire Whelpton 





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