Project / Education

Bristol Business School

The realisation of a forward-thinking vision

A key element of University of the West of England’s development masterplan at Frenchay Campus, the Bristol Business School is now an iconic building. It has been designed to unite a place of study with a professional place of business, enabling the relocation and significant expansion of facilities available to students.

The vision for the design was around transparency, visibility and collaboration. We were engaged from inception to completion, including post occupancy review and as a site supervisor for the civil and structural works.

The project included the full integration of a BIM Level 2 approach, with the Estates Facilities Department driving output via COBie for their CAFM system.

Project Lead
Photo of Spencer Fereday
Spencer Fereday
Project Team
  • Location Bristol
  • Client University of the West of England
  • Completion 2017
  • Value c£50m
  • Size 17,000sqm
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A space that inspires collaboration

The new, seven-storey, 17,000sqm building has a concrete frame superstructure and basement, designed around a simple flat slab and column structure.

Architecturally, large glazed expanses maximise the volume of natural light entering the building. Circulation around the building comes via a steel framed grand stair case, linking all levels of the building.

Bridges within the main atrium span across to provide connections between staff and student zones. The aim was to create a facility that students and staff want to stay in, encouraging increased integration and collaboration.

The building has a large range of teaching facilities, including small private study rooms, large social learning zones, a 300-seat tiered double-height lecture theatre, Harvard theatres and technology-enhanced active learning environments. On the ground floor the space opens up to the ‘Heartzone’ plaza to the south.

Design and detailing of piled sub-structures, basement, RC Frame, external SUDS scheme and hard landscaping was carried out for the client and under novation to ISG for the construction phase.

Innovative technology for improved integration

Our use of REVIT, Navisworks and IFC ensured both detailed integration and collaboration with the design and construction teams. We utilised IFC reviews for the steelwork contractor models to ensure integration and to minimise traditional review and sign off periods.

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Connected on every level

The desire for a highly connected building inspired a steel solution for the grand staircase and connecting bridges. Our scheme to utilise the solid balustrades zone for structure allowed the minimum overall depth for these elements.

We worked closely with the fabricator to standardise the design details to allow for full offsite fabrication of the bridges and stair flights. This ensured all sections could be craned in place with minimum work at height and provided instant construction access between floors.


A word from the Project Lead

From the outset of the project, the client drove BIM Level 2 as a key requirement from the team. We utilised our in-house skills and expertise to collaborate fully in the 3D environment and deliver our relevant COBie data. It’s been so rewarding to see how the client has built on this and achieved success at the BIM Project of the Year in the 2018 Construction awards.


Shortlisted –Times Higher Education - Business School of the Year 2017

Gold Winner – Considerate Constructors Scheme 2017

ISG winner – Constructing Excellence South West Build Environment Awards 2016

Digital Construction Project/Initiative of the Year category

Winner Pupil/Student Experience – Education Estates 2018

Shortlisted Project of the Year – Education Estates 2018

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