University of Brighton Multi-Storey Car Park


Article in NSC May 2019

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The Brighton car park has a core at either end

University challenge
Forming one of the initial parts of the University of Brighton’s expansion programme for its Moulescoomb campus, a new multi-storey car park is under construction that will provide 550 spaces for staff and visitors on six-levels. It will also be able to accommodate 330 bicycles, while the structure’s ground floor will include showers for cyclists, a parking office and a recycle bin storage area.

According to main contractor Kier, the delivery of the car park has involved some successful partnering with the company’s subcontractors. “No partnering works effectively without trust and honesty from all parties and it is vital to honour these agreements made in the early stages of a project,” says Kier Construction Design Manager Charley Latimer. “When the University of Brighton invited Kier to tender for their new car park, it was evident that the best way forward was a steel-framed and metal deck solution and to bring in Caunton Engineering as part of our bid proposal.”

As part of the bid, Kier and Caunton put together some options for the client to review. According to Kier, Caunton’s design team rose to the challenge and turned around a full 3D model with circulation and bays identified in less than 48 hours. This collaborative early engagement demonstrated to the client that both Kier and Caunton understood their needs and were fully committed to providing a high level of service and collaboration.

Caunton’s input into the bid stage provided invaluable knowledge and support. “By having Caunton at the table with the wider design team enabled swift value engineering options, design development, coordination, production of the planning application information and RIBA stage 4 contractor’s proposals,” adds Charley Latimer.

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Visualisation of the completed car park

Based around a 4.8m x 15.9m column grid pattern, the structure has been designed with cambered 610 x 229 UB sections for the longer spans, and 305 UBs for the shorter spans. Either 305 or 254 columns have been used throughout and these are spliced at the underside of level four.

According Stripe Consulting, the project architect and engineer, speed of construction was one of the main reasons for choosing a steel frame design with metal decked flooring. “This solution also provided us with a lightweight structure that required less foundation work,” says Stripe Consulting Engineer Enrico Tomasi.

There are two lift and stair cores positioned at either end of the structure, but these provide no stability as the car park gains all of its rigidity from braced bays. The steel-framed car park has been designed as a Vertical Circulation Module (VCM), which is said to offer a more efficient solution for confined city plots, like the Brighton site. The design contains no external ramps as all of the circulation is via slopes within the floors, which creates more parking spaces.

Caunton has also erected some additional steelwork features to the uppermost level of the car park. This includes a canopy over the central vehicle access route that will prevent rainwater from running down the slope to the covered floors below. A series of secondary beams has been added to two elevations along the top floor. These members will support planters, which will contain hanging vines that will form architectural living ‘green’ walls.

As well as the car park, the overall University of Brighton scheme, which has been dubbed the ‘Big Build’, will also include five new halls of residence, a new academic building, a new students’ union building and fitness facilities, and a new footbridge over the A270 linking both parts of the campus.

Architect Stripe Consulting
Structural Engineer Stripe Consulting
Steelwork Contractor Caunton Engineering
Main Contractor Kier Regional Building - Southern
Main Client University of Brighton