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Joiners adding final touches to Innovation Building

Woodland walk at the Innovation building

The DLO Joiners are making fine wooden furniture to complete the landscaped ‘wooded walk’ area outside the recently-completed Innovation Building, formerly known as Building 696. The area takes advantage of existing mature trees, adding walkways and secluded pods beneath them for staff to enjoy during breaks. The joiners are adding decking, slatted benches, loungers and oval tables to steel frames that had already been installed in the pods.

They are also working on various other projects around the estate, including:

  • Adding a temporary wooden disabled ramp to the Sherrington Building in the Science Area
  • Refurbishing chests of drawers for Wadham
  • Installing 43 new fire doors throughout the Engineering department’s Thom Building
  • Building a temporary wooden entranceway for the Ashmolean Museum during the project to replace its main revolving door

New tenants moving into University properties

The Asset Management team have agreed new leases on University commercial property with several tenants. Over the summer Zipabout, a company that makes software designed to power the smart transport systems of tomorrow, moved into offices on the second floor of 6 Worcester Street. More recently the University has also reached agreement on the occupation of 36 Little Clarendon Street with an organisation that works to create affordable work spaces for social enterprises, charities and other community-focused groups. The organisation will be working with a local homeless charity; the property will become a shop raising money to provide training opportunities for homeless people. Finally, the University and Big C Ventures, another social enterprise, are in discussions on renewing the lease on 37-38 Little Clarendon Street; the ground-floor retail unit will continue to be occupied by its Common Ground café and shared work space.

Alan Bullock Close renovations finishedAlan Bullock Close Refurbishment

The Graduate Accommodation team have completed a long-term project to renovate the 46 graduate flats at Alan Bullock Close. Each property has been fully rewired and redecorated. CCTV has been added, and roofs and all windows replaced to improve comfort and energy efficiency.

Space charge round is underway

The 2019-20 space charge round kicks off this month, and data on the space departments were occupying at the start of October has been sent out. The Information Management team are asking departments to check the data and return it to estates.info@admin.ox.ac.uk with any changes, additions or deletions by Friday 2 November.

Reviewing this data regularly is essential if the team are to maintain good space records and provide accurate information to the Planning and Resource Allocation Section (PRAS). Information about which departments have and have not submitted a return is now recorded; those that have not may receive more auditing and have to provide more updates over the coming year. The information helps schedule future building surveys and should ensure Estates Services plans and Planon data are kept up to date, so please fill in and return it. 

DLO maintenance team now based at ROQDirect Labour Organisation - ROQ Basement

Four members of the DLO’s Mechanical team and one apprentice are now based at the ROQ, operating out of the workshop in the basement of the Andrew Wiles building. The move will let DLO maintenance staff provide better and faster service to departmental customers, not just around the ROQ but also in nearby locations such as the Ashmolean.

It also frees space in the DLO’s headquarters on South Parks Road, which is getting very crowded after a recent successful recruitment exercise brought the team up to near full strength following several months of operating at reduced capacity due to several departures. In the long term plans to provide new accommodation for the DLO are being explored, but for the time being moving some of the mechanical team to the ROQ eases the pressure on facilities at South Parks Road.

Space modelling tool under development

The Space Management team have developed a modelling tool to help divisions and departments to understand their current space use and anticipate their future space needs. The model provides an estimate of total space requirements based on inputs such as the number of people and the kind of work they do. The new tool is currently being further developed with divisions so that it can be adjusted to the needs of each, for instance by taking account of differing proportions of staff who have office space in  college rather than in departmental buildings.

Planning permission granted for Begbroke Science Park developmentBegbroke aerial

The University’s outline planning application for permission to redevelop the Begbroke Science Park has been approved, clearing the way for the construction of exciting new facilities for research and development, innovation and collaboration with the private sector.

The application sought permission to create up to 12,500m2 of new floor space, as well as to create other features such as car parking, landscaping and public transport infrastructure for the new developments. It was approved in full by Cherwell District Council in August after receiving no objections from any of the people and organisations consulted. The local authority noted that the development has the potential to promote economic growth and create high-value jobs in the area. It also observed that Begbroke does outstanding work enabling industry and academic research to work hand in hand, with demand for space there comfortably outstripping supply.

The University will still have to apply for individual planning permission for particular projects at Begbroke, but it now has approval in principle to develop a significant amount of land.

Beecroft landscaping completedUniversity Parks team - Beecroft Landscaping

The University Parks team has finished creating a new garden area at the front of the Beecroft Building, which was handed over to the Physics department earlier this year.

Parks gardeners are now working on restoring the corner of the Parks that was fenced off during the Beecroft’s construction and creating the new entrance to the Parks, having moved the Keble Gate a short distance towards the new building. So far they have been working to get the gates opened again and to complete basic restoration of the area; once this is done a long-term design for the area will be implemented, with new borders and paved areas inside the Keble Gates to create an attractive new entrance area for the Parks. The team hope to finish this by next spring.

Space Policy moves towards completion

The Space Management team have produced a new Space Management Policy, which is now in the process of being scrutinised by University senior management ahead of submission to the Buildings and Estates Sub-committee (BESC) for formal approval. The Policy includes guidelines on how much space is typically needed per person in various situations such as open-plan or individual offices. It is intended to improve the fairness and consistency of space allocations across the estate over the long term, and to support more efficient and effective space usage. The team hope it will be approved in the coming months.

Sheldonian Theatre gets new seats

The seating has been improved in the upper gallery of the Sheldonian Theatre, making it much more comfortable for people attending events as well as improving safety. A common piece of feedback from guests had been that the seats could be more comfortable – until now those in the upper gallery were unpadded benches and many visitors found them uncomfortable. Padding has now been installed and handrails added in key places. This should discourage people from walking on seats. The changes reduce the upper gallery’s seating capacity from 320 to 195; fewer seats means more space and comfort, as well as making it easier for staff to reach guests to offer help in an emergency. The Sheldonian is run by the Facilities Management team within Estates Services; as well as hosting a wide variety of public events such as concerts, it is also available for private hire.

Mechanical projects improve estate’s heating and cooling

Mechanical engineers within the Building Services team have been working on projects in several buildings across the estate over the summer. These include:

  • Replacing aging fan coil units in the Rodney Porter Building in the Science Area, making the building’s heating and cooling systems more efficient and visually pleasing while giving users more control over the temperature.
  • Upgrading the ventilation plant in Inorganic Chemistry, installing run-around coils to reclaim the heat from the ventilation extraction systems in order to improve energy efficiency.

Scheduled projects for 2019 include the relocation and replacement of the boilers and associated plant in the Chemistry Research Laboratory. This will involve building a new plant room on the roof to eliminate problems caused by their previous location in the basement. The team also plan to replace boilers and upgrade controls in the Krebs Research Station at Wytham, and to install a new lab water system in the Organic Chemistry building to eliminate any possibility of cross contamination. 

R&M plan published

The R&M three-year plan for 2018/19 has been agreed, and is available on the Estates Services website. This shows all the work the teams within the department plan to do around the functional estate over the next three years, although it is subject to change – for example due to the impact on buildings’ operational use or changing priorities in the Capital Programme. Departments whose buildings will be affected by the projects set out in the plan will receive a letter by the end of October with more information. 

Parks team join social media

The University Parks team have set up Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts to help them engage with those who enjoy the Parks and communicate more directly with users. 

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