A project to involve West Suffolk College students in building social housing has been unveiled with local residents invited to see the winning design.
The college and social housing providers Havebury Housing Partnership showed the initial proposals at the college’s construction skills wing at the Milburn Centre in Anglian Lane, Bury St Edmunds, last night.
Planning permission still has to be obtained for the site, which is currently garages, in Mitchell Avenue, Bury, so the number of homes to be built has not been finalised.
The idea of involving students came from the husband and wife team of Ian Newman, WSC’s stem coordinator, and Suzanne Newman, Havebury’s development manager.
Ian said: “It is an unquestionable truth that the educational experience we can offer students is enriched if they are given the chance to work alongside industry.
“This collaboration takes this one step further as they will be involved in creating a building that will make a long term, sustainable impact to the lives of local people.
Suzanne added: “Working with West Suffolk College will provide a fantastic opportunity for students to be involved in a project from conception to completion.”
The winning students’ tutor Sean Jeffries Pavis said: “We had four teams of different professionals competing against each other. They each presented their scheme to Havebury.”
The winning team, called Bright Ideas, was of five foundation degree students, two studying building services and three in construction management. The only team without an architect, they were Alex Docherty, Martyn Mead, Adam Chappell, Kevin Earp and Phil Tyrrell.
Alex said: “It’s certainly not every day you get something like this in college. We’re all proud to be involved. It was a lot of work for Sean.”
They all do one day a week at college and the rest of the time work in local companies.
“None of us is an architect. We know how to build buildings, where the pipes go, but anything else we’ve got to bash our heads together to get the answers.”
Martyn added: “No one person took a major lead — it was a discussion.”
Alex explained: “We felt it should be something practical, easy to build and easy to integrate. All the technology has to be green. They use low carbon footprint materials and there are solar panels on the roof.”
Once planning permission has been obtained, the build will involve other construction students, working with outside contractors MLT Architects, Cocksedge Building Contractors and Oxbury and Co.