Building a brighter future

Engineering students were given an invaluable insight into pioneering construction work as they helped lay the foundations of the University of Sheffield’s new Graduate School.

The 43 undergraduates, from the University’s Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, gained real practical experience whilst helping to build a brighter future for themselves and other budding engineers in the future.

They were taught about the techniques of piling which forms the very basis of construction; the essential support needed for any kind of structure. It is a technique that sets deep foundations for any form of construction work, such as buildings.

Andrew Fallon, Head of Estates Development, said: "This project marks the start of a very exciting transformation of new and existing buildings for the Faculty of Engineering. The new Graduate School project involves a substantial civil and structural package to be safely constructed alongside a live operational campus. We were more than happy to take this opportunity to involve our civil and structural engineering students in a practical site visit with our contractor, Graham Construction, to witness the engineering - as it happens!"

The Engineering Graduate School will become the centre of the faculty’s postgraduate research and postgraduate teaching activities. It will house collaborative and interdisciplinary research groups and has been planned to enable the growth of the faculty’s postgraduate offer. It is scheduled to open in the autumn of next year.

Rachel Horn, Deputy Head of the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, said: "This has been a fantastic opportunity for Civil and Structural Engineering students to visit the site to see real engineering in practice, to talk to the contractor and to understand the piling operation as it takes place. We look forward to further opportunities of this nature as the work progresses."

Graham Construction has moved continuous flight auger piles on site so that high production rates can be achieved on these first steps of construction. This particular method also limits the risk of damage to adjacent foundations or utilities.

Along with refurbishment of St George’s Campus (the quadrangle bound by Mappin Street, Portobello Street, Newcastle Street and Broad Lane), the work is part of the first phase of a 15-year plan to improve and expand Engineering’s estate.

Planning permission will be sought soon for the new engineering building on Jessop East. This landmark building will provide a wide range of teaching and research facilities as well as student-led learning spaces, including 19 state-of-the-art teaching laboratories.

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