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Student Accommodation Façade Replacement, Bournemouth
Student Accommodation Façade Replacement, Bournemouth

Student Accommodation Façade Replacement

The Client

Student accommodation plays an integral part in university life. Safety and security in living spaces are always critical and even more important for international students who can be thousands of miles away from home and family.

The desire to deliver safe and secure accommodation for students attending Bournemouth University International College led tri-party owners and operators of Kaplan to engage Starfish Construction to provide a robust replacement to the existing cladding system, which, on completion, would exceed current highrise cladding legislation. Another objective was also to positively impact the future-proofing of the building, increasing the building façade lifespan, situated in the exposed coastal area minutes from Bournemouth seafront.

The Project

Working to our Diagnose, Design and Deliver ethos, we analysed the current property structure, façade materials, and location. Our extensive technical surveys provided essential information for our in-house design division and commercial department to structure a plan to meet the property owners’ objectives and budget.

Starfish Construction selected replacement cladding and designed a robust external fire strategy which we would implement within the new façade system. The owners of the building were keen to ensure there were no fire safety issues relating to the new cladding; therefore, we undertook a complete fire test of the chosen products and designed a fire barrier system at a facility in Belfast under a BS8414 Testing criteria before acceptance of the proposed design and fixing solution.

  • The project used three types of marine-grade coated cladding
  • With a combined surface area of over 6000 m2
  • All cladding is fully non-combustible
  • Approved fire barrier system installed behind the new façade system
  • Consultation with specialists, including Façade Structural Engineer
  • Products covered for 25-year service life, with an expected 40-year lifespan
  • All works were carried out while the building was operational and occupied
  • Occupancy increased to capacity as the travel restrictions of covid were lifted
  • Project was completed with zero reported Health and Safety incidents.

18 months


6,000 m2

Façade Replacement Area

Challenges & Solutions

Due to the position of the building located on one of the main arterial routes through Bournemouth, surrounded by several other student accommodation blocks, offices and shops, ensuring the safety of occupants and the nearby public was paramount.

The new façade system design, including U-Value calculations and condensation checks, ensures the new façade outperforms the previous system and complies with current building regulations, but also takes into consideration and plans for, wherever possible, any foreseeable regulation changes.

No two panels of the same size are on the property elevations, making it a unique style and challenging undertaking. Each panel is painted with a speciality coating to give a weathered look, and again, this unique process meant each panel was hand painted to provide the perfect finish.

With the commercial teams ability to source materials which would be available during the COVID-19 Pandemic and produce the most cost-effective solution allowed the project to be completed to the agreed schedule.


Working on a fully-occupied student accommodation block in a busy town centre was challenging. Our close working partnership with the owners and keeping the occupants updated on the project status, particularly how it would impact their accommodation unit, was critical to maintaining good relationships with all parties. We were sensitive to the student’s needs, hosting a summer BBQ to allow them to chat with our site team. We also worked with student liaisons to manage works around the apartments where students had particular additional support needs, helping to minimise disruption.

The local area is significantly regenerating with new and renovated accommodations for UK-based and overseas students. Our façade and fire safety remediation has created a like-new and highly marketable accommodation block for the owners and a desirable one for residents.

The building’s original façade concept offered a striking modern exterior that would stand out in an area with multiple highrise accommodation buildings. Our project remit to match the original design has successfully reached the brief while providing a 25-year warranted façade system and zero reported Health and Safety incidents.

The project was technically and logistically challenging, undertaken during Covid-19 and Brexit. Our holistic approach and involvement in the project included initial façade design and fire testing to BS8414 in Belfast through supply and installation onsite. Our highly experienced and well-qualified Project Team preserved our excellent health and safety record with the project delivered within the agreed timescales and the client’s budget parameters.

Everyone at Starfish Construction is incredibly proud of this project and its outcome.

Adam-Denton Beaumont, Associate Director, Façades.