• Rachel McMaster


Updated: Jul 24

National fit out and refurbishment specialist Overbury has started a £2.5 million project for the University of Leeds' School of Dentistry in the Worsley Building, part of a wider £41 million refurbishment that will provide 100,000 sq ft of office accommodation and teaching space.

This is the latest phase of works by Overbury in the Worsley Building, and on completion in November 2017 the new space will provide the University with dynamic learning environments for its bio-medical teaching. The refurbishment is part of the 186-year old establishment's ongoing investment to firmly position itself in the UK’s top 10 research universities. Overbury has worked closely with architectural firms DLA and Stephen George & Partners, as well as project managers Turner & Townsend.

Another consideration was making sure that the experience of staff, students and visitors was not hampered by the refurbishment – a total of 1,560 hours were worked outside of the teaching timetable to ensure minimal disturbance to learning, exam schedules and university life. In addition, the project team made sure that the building could be used throughout which meant changing the access routes regularly, and in some weeks daily. Noise, dust and logistics were all carefully managed to ensure that the project wasn’t an inconvenience.

Since Overbury was awarded its first contract by the University of Leeds in January 2015, the two have worked closely to overcome a number of challenges, specific to this project. The Worsley building is located close to Leeds General Infirmary, is partly-occupied by NHS services and houses teaching facilities, all of which needed to remain operational 24 hours a day. Additionally, the health and safety of staff and students during the extensive refurbishment has been of paramount importance, especially as the building has remained in continual use throughout . Being in a confined city centre location, deliveries needed to be carefully coordinated, taking into account parking restrictions and the need for emergency access at all times.

Speaking on behalf of the University of Leeds, Conrad Canadine, Senior Project Manager, Estates Services said: “This was an extremely complicated project, with multiple phases being undertaken while the building remained occupied. Challenging issues like controlling noise and dust was made a priority, and we’re very pleased with how the project has been managed – a testament to the professionalism of Overbury and the design team.”

Speaking about the project, Dan Hooker, director at Overbury, commented: “We’ve been on site for two years now, and during that time we’ve lived and breathed this project. The building’s location, function and physical structure, make this a unique refurbishment in every sense of the word. We’ve worked hand-in-hand with the University and the project team to overcome a number of challenges and the results speak for themselves. We’re delighted to be partnering yet again with the team to see further space transformed into high-quality teaching area and offices, befitting a university of this exceptional standing.”

Last December, Overbury also successfully completed a £21.7million project involving the refurbishment of eight floors to provide inspirational teaching space and high-quality office accommodation. At the time, a new 9,000 sq ft mezzanine floor was built between level nine and 10, incorporating an internal glazed wall, a contemporary staff breakout area and canteen. The space also included new student facilities and a refurbished reception area, remodeled to create a welcoming entrance to the building.

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