Piazza Learning Centre

Client: Interserve Construction

Value: £1.4 million
Location: York
Contract Period: Commenced November 2016
Contract Type: NEC3 Subcontract Option A


In September 2016 Howard Civil Engineering returned to the University of York, this time to support Interserve in their £17 million contract to design and build a three-storey development at the University of York’s Campus East. It is our fifth visit to the campus having worked with BAM, VINCI Construction and Sir Robert McAlpine on the site previously over the last 6 years. 

The ‘Piazza Learning Centre’ will house teaching facilities and learning spaces, as part of a £27 million scheme on the campus. The project, Interserve’s second with the University of York, will feature thirty six flexible learning spaces, including two laboratories, a 350-seat auditorium, a 100-seat lecture theatre, a 300-seat restaurant, as well as staff areas and offices spread across 6,800 m2.

The new building will be used by the University’s International Pathway College (IPC), as well as providing additional teaching space for Campus East. The International Pathway College, a joint venture between the University of York and Kaplan, provides academic preparation programmes for international students prior to them progressing to their undergraduate and postgraduate studies within the University.

Scope of works

  • Pad foundations 1,000m3
  • Floor slabs 2,400m2
  • Upper Floors 1,151m2
  • Drainage 450m 150 & 225mm dia up to 3m deep
  • External services 3,000m
  • External works including 1,100m2 granite paving and kerbs

Early Contractor Involvement

The area around York is well known for its high water table and instable clayey sandy ground conditions. Conditions can change dramatically across adjacent sites and can vary consdierably from the site investigation depending under what conditions it was undertaken. We knew we had key dates to hit for steel erection so in order to assess the current ground conditions and procure system dewatering plant in advance of the work, we undertook a series of trial pits across the site. Unusually the conditions proved favourable and we were able to offer the client a saving on the risk of dewatering.

Since starting on site we have also worked at resequencing our works to further suit Interserves preferred phasing.

Trust us to deliver your project on time and on budget