Walsh is a leading London based civil, structural and geotechnical engineering consultancy focused on providing practical and sustainable solutions to complex engineering problems. Technical excellence is the foundation stone for Walsh and all projects are director-led. Our growing team of over 130 staff has been at the forefront of the PBSA sector for more than 17 years. Our attention to detail and ability to deliver on time has made Walsh the “go-to” engineers of choice in the UK for purpose built student accommodation. Walsh has successfully delivered the engineering consultancy that has facilitated more than 50 PBSA developments providing nearly 30,000 student beds. Our value-added approach on these projects has provided significant environmental, programme and financial benefits to our clients.
The key consideration in developing student accommodation is delivering the completed project on time. Otherwise our clients could lose an entire academic year of rental income. So, the Walsh process is focused on ensuring that key early information is delivered on time. We work closely with the client and/or contractor to create programme savings by designing early works, such as foundations and drainage, with flexibility for future amendments facilitating the earliest “start on site” date. We also guard against late delivery by tailoring the design programme for staged release of critical information.
Walsh understands that the margins on student housing are tight. We ensure that our designs are as cost-effective as possible by optimising and value engineering them throughout the project. This process is not a “bolt on” driven by the cost consultant, it is integrated into the overall design from day one.
Walsh understands that Gen Z students expect a lot more than just a room in a building and superfast broadband. They expect dynamic communal facilities, provision for faith practices, rooms that meet various accessibility needs, plus spaces that protect their mental health. Walsh designs structures that deliver our clients’ vision whilst considering the needs of the inhabitants. We design adaptability into the very fabric of the building, with communal spaces and rooms which can be modified or repurposed to meet the needs of less able-bodied students and further adapted as demands and tastes change over time.
Sustainability now transcends the political, corporate and cultural arenas and is high on the agenda of modern students. Sustainability has been a key focus at Walsh for many years and compared to government benchmarks, we have reduced embodied carbon by an average of 10-15%. Our flagship projects have even achieved reductions of up to 70%. We do this by minimising the overall volume of material through lean design and by specifying low carbon materials wherever possible. Two of our current schemes have Passivehaus accreditation and are so energy efficient the buildings are heated by the body heat of the students alone.
by Euring Andrew Stanford BEng(Hons) CEng FICE
This white paper explores the engineering considerations that will maximise the investment returns from PBSA developments and the long-term viability of these buildings. It’s full of useful information and illustrated with real life examples leveraging our experience of engineering these unique buildings for our clients over the last 17 years.
Many of the points in this white paper are equally valid for the latest co-living, build-to-rent and later living developments.
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