“The Yard”: An extension to De Montfort University’s Business and Law School

18 March, 2021

The Yard is a brand-new, multi-million-pound extension to the Hugh Aston building, which will significantly increase the capacity of De Montfort University’s Business and Law Faculty. Having worked on the original Hugh Aston building development, we were again employed to provide mechanical and engineering services for the £5.5m extension, which provides more than 1200 square metres of additional learning space.

The ground floor is home to the Student Advice Centre and self-study space. Conferencing facilities and an external terrace can be found on the second floor, which will also be used for breakouts and activities, as well as external meetings.

A lift and a main stair route provide access to all the floors with a central spine at each level which create separation between the learning facilities and the teaching areas.

Pick Everard National Director of building services engineering, John Thompson, said: “The Yard is the latest project in a long line of schemes that we have delivered for De Montfort University. We are very proud of our relationship with the university – and its estates team in particular.

“Working on a tight site, alongside the existing building did present its natural challenges. The design for The Yard was intended to maximise the available space within a constrained site, and to provide natural light and ventilation.

“However, the existing site also presented us with unique benefits for the extension project. For example, early-stage solar analysis revealed that solar gain would be mitigated by the surrounding buildings. This meant that a highly glazed façade was able to be used without risking the thermal comfort of the building’s users or requiring additional cooling systems that could otherwise be omitted.”

Hybrid ventilation units were utilised with low speed, low energy fans to serve all occupied spaces. Assisted natural ventilation was provided with the benefit of reducing winter heating demands, while ensuring good air quality. Conversely in the summer, the boost function improves air movement during the day and removes warm air from the space at night.

The energy efficient design ethos applied to this building demonstrates a significant performance improvement of 24 per cent over Part L compliance.

John continued: “We were joined on the delivery team by those companies who had also worked on the development of the original Hugh Aston building, which led to a smoother process for the client thanks to our collective knowledge of the building and site. This was a relationship that really showed its strength as the project had to be delivered during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

“In order to allow the university to safely open the building post-completion, the building has also been fully equipped with a whole host of health, safety and social distancing measures, including one-way systems, hand sanitation points and enhanced cleaning measures to name but a few.”

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