Tuesday, May 31, 2005


A very sad story indeed.. I had discovered this website from BRE: http://www.offsite2005.com/

However, to go to their conference, it will cost me a whooping £265 inc VAT, per person PER DAY!! I am dying to go but my university couldn't afford sending me there due to such an expensive entry! another sad news is that I can't even go there by myself as it is very difficult to get to BRE in WATFORD without a car (mind you, am still trying to get my international licence here, actually, and it's still pending due to my 'timidity' in afraid of failing the driving test!)

The conference topic itself will actually be very useful for me as it is directly collaborated with my research topic in sustainable prefabricated housing!

So, if you, reader, happened to have a link (or knew) with BRE or any of the person below: Professor Walter Leal (TuTech, Hamburg), Per-Arne Nilsson (City of Malmo), Ruukki, Tony Woods (BRE), Rod MacEachrane (NHBC), Clive Clowes (The Housing Corporation, Alan Yates (BRE), Vic Handley (Van Elle), Dan Brown (Advance Housing)

Please, can I (-a hardworking but very desperate research student with limited budget) obtain their presentation?? It will even be better if I can get to interview those people listed above!! It will be greatly greatly appreciated! The payment is a pint of beer!!

Friday, May 27, 2005

What is your score?!

OK, this is good fun! Fine, yes, I am supposed to do my work but it's a Friday night and we are looking forward to our second long bank holiday this month. I can't really concentrate much on anything except having fun with lots of red wine and music!

Now, before you continue reading, let me remind you that this quiz result is totally UNTRUE! I am NOT a loner!!! urm..well..maybe with a bit tendency towards 'psychopath' ;) ..anyway, have a good weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Student Accommodation Development by UNITE Group Ltd - Kentish Town

UNITE Group Ltd aimed to be one of the leading modular manufacturing facility especially in providing a fast and good quality accommodation for student and key workers. My review in this post will be concentrating mainly on the UNITE's recent student accommodation development in Kentish Town area, made after our site visit on Thursday 12th May 2005 (all pictures are pending, subject to approval from UNITE Group Ltd).

The key driver: The rapid expansion of higher education to a point where over 32% of school leavers go on to some form of higher education has led to increased pressures on facilities, including residential accommodation as over 1.8m people are now students in higher education. UK universities has therefore being challenged to provide a fast and good quality acommodation especially for the new students. To overcome this problem, out-sourcing the ownership and management of a university's can be one of the best idea where the entire stock of student accommodation with occupation can be obtained through leasebacks and service agreements such as 'stock transfer' - as stated in UNITE's first research report back in June 2000 - would enable university to upgrade existing halls of residence, add new accommodation (potentially without capital outlay) and pass the time consuming management process to a focussed, specialist operator.

The UNITE Group Ltd itself has already managed, or has in the course of development, over £180m worth of student accommodation in the UK, for a range of academic institutions.

UNITE's Piccadilly Court (source: www.unite-students.com)

One of their recent development is constructed in Kentish town area where the student's block is consists of volumetric modular units comes in the form of standardised en-suite study bedrooms, kitchen and living facilities as well as bigger volumetric units designed as a en-suite studio flat. The Kentish Town Development is constructed with on-site steel structural frames and the fully furnished modules than delivered to site and easily craned to be seated on the structural frames and joined to create an accommodation block.

The downside of this type of construction is that each lorry unfortunately will only be able to bring two modules at once and since the modules are fully furnished, there is greater chance in it being damaged during the transportation.