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Estates & Development Services team from innovative Higher Education partnership nominated for prestigious sector award

The Estates & Development Services team of Falmouth Exeter Plus – the exempt charity established by Falmouth University and the University of Exeter to deliver their shared Higher Education services in Cornwall – has been shortlisted in the Outstanding Estates Team of the Year category of the prestigious Times Higher Education Leadership & Management Awards 2013, the winners of which will be announced in London next week.

This is the first time that Falmouth Exeter Plus has submitted to this awards scheme and it is the only nominee in this category from the south west in a shortlist that includes Canterbury Christ Church University, the University of Central Lancashire, Edinburgh Napier University, Nottingham Trent University and the University of Reading.

“We are very pleased to have been recognised by the Higher Education sector’s leading publication, which has confirmed that entries were of an exceptionally high standard in a particularly challenging year,” explains Director of Estates & Development Services, Andrew Asbury.  “Our submission focused on the number of complex construction projects that we have delivered during a period of immense change and that have made a significant difference to the student and staff experience.”

In the year covered by this awards scheme, the Falmouth Exeter Plus Estates & Development Services team has delivered the most significant development phase yet at the Tremough Campus in Cornwall, which is shared and jointly managed by the University of Exeter and Falmouth University, including:

• The Environment and Sustainability Institute – the University of Exeter’s complex BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ research facility (£30M)

• The Exchange – A shared teaching, learning and research hub with student information service and careers zone (£10M)

• The Academy for Innovation & Research – Falmouth’s facility for research and business collaboration including a technology-rich sandpit for creative problem-solving (£9M)

• 224 new units within the Glasney Student Village at the Tremough Campus, which has achieved Visit England 4* campus accommodation status

• The Sidings – 233 new off-campus residential units for which the team provided development management.

All projects have been delivered on time, on budget and to high specifications and environmental measures by a team of six people working in collaboration with colleagues from Falmouth University and the University of Exeter.

“This wasn’t just a question of managing the simultaneous construction of multiple buildings and keeping campus users informed,” adds Andrew.  “Two of our many challenges included stitching The Exchange onto our existing Library whilst ensuring that it remained fully operational and building new student residences within metres of existing rooms.  The complexity of our building programme and often conflicting user needs required a full-blown mitigation programme to minimise disruption and maintain a high standard of student experience for our two partner institutions, so the appointment of a full-time Mitigation Manager, stakeholder engagement and regular communications through a cross-institutional Mitigation Group, were critical to the successful delivery of these projects.”

Whilst delivering these projects, the team also underwent a full restructure and established a new senior management team to lead technical services, operations, campus presentation and capital projects; as well as improved the sustainability of the Campus.

“This nomination recognises the scale and complexity of the challenge to deliver multiple projects within the time constraints of an academic year,” added Falmouth Exeter Plus CEO, Niamh Lamond.  “Our Estates & Development team, working in close collaboration with both of our university partners and the students’ union, should be very proud to have been shortlisted for this award, which is a significant achievement for our innovative Higher Education partnership.”

Winners of the Times Higher Education Leadership & Management Awards 2013 will be announced at an awards dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Park Lane on Thursday 20 June 2013.

The Academy for Innovation & Research was funded by the European Development Fund (ERDF) Convergence Programme (£6.74M), the South West Regional Development Agency’s Single Pot Fund (SWRDA) (£1.54M) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) (£693k).

The Environment and Sustainability Institute was funded by the ERDF Convergence Programme (£22.9M) and SWRDA (£6.6M), with significant support from HEFCE.

The Exchange was funded by HEFCE (£4.37M), the ERDF Convergence Programme (£3M), SWRDA (£1M) and the University of Exeter/Falmouth University partnership (£2M).

The lead contractor for all three buildings was Leadbitter who were recently presented with a highly-coveted Gold award by the Considerate Constructors Scheme to reflect their engagement with students, staff and the local community during this intensive period of development at the Campus.