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Construction students learn from the experts

Construction students learn from the experts
Miss Stringer inspecting the media centre during its construction.
Wednesday 10th February 2010 by C. Freeman
The Construction in the Built Environment students have been getting advice from industry experts and seeing how the new Arts and Media block was built.

The group first had a visit from Mr Steve Hammond, Principal Building Control Officer for Corby Borough Council who explained why building regulations are so important. The devastating Great Fire of London was responsible for tighter building control legislation being introduced. The fire took hold because crammed streets and overhanging buildings meant there were no fire-breaks and the flames could easily pass from house to house. Since then strict rules have been put into place to ensure safety and Mr Hammond told students about modern building regulations and planning issues.

Mr John McHarg, project manager on the Arts and Media wing, gave students all the architectural drawings associated with it and talked how it went from planning stages through to finished building. The students then looked at the building from all angles and talked about the stages it went through in its construction and the problems the builders, Jeakins Weir, had to overcome. Studying the plans they noticed that some of the music rooms are wedge shaped and these were designed like that specifically because it eliminates dead sound and give better acoustics when practising or recording.

The students then interviewed Miss Stringer about the Arts and Media block to see the project from a client's point of view. Mr Browne said: 'It was a very business-like meeting and the students formulated questions so they could understand how the building came about. Who decided on what facilities were needed? How did they choose and appoint the architects? What other building designs were put forward? How did the funding work? What delays were there? Does the new wing live up to expectations and what reactions has it drawn from both end-users and people living in the vicinity? The students got an enormous amount of information from the meeting and it was very constructive.'

As well as learning the principles behind design and construction the Diploma students will also get more hands-on training as they have a module on construction where they learn bricklaying and there are many other building issues to explore. Mr Browne said: 'We are lucky to have a range of experts who are coming in to share their knowledge with the students and we'll cover everything from initial designs, practical skills, environmental issues, sustainability, buildings management, demolition and land re-use; it's a very wide-ranging course.'

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