York College



Project Value



Bowman Riley


Hobson Porter

Project Brief

Adept were appointed to provide consultancy services for the Yorkshire Centre for Advanced Building Services & Engineering Skills at the college’s Sim Balk Lane campus. The scheme provides approximately 1200 sq m of workshops and teaching space over two storeys.

With sustainability a high priority, the design for the new facility includes solar photovoltaic roof panels, air source heat pumps and natural ventilation heat recovery systems. The building achieved a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating.


A braced frame steel structure with simple pin-ended connections was adopted, a tried and tested construction method for a building of this size.

There was no homogeneous bearing strata recorded and made ground was circa 2 m deep. Groundwater was also noted at depths between 2.1 and 2.7 m. We therefore concluded that traditional shallow foundations were not a suitable option, and a piled foundation solution was taken forward.

Considering the proximity to the existing construction centre building, non-structural cracking due to vibrations caused by piling activity was a possibility. As a result, we recommended the adoption of a low noise, low vibration bottom-driven piling technique to mitigate the risk.

We were able to adopt a ground bearing slab by excavating the upper 500-600 mm of made ground, compacting the exposed formation level and then screening excavated made ground material for any oversized fragments before placing it back in maximum 200mm well compacted layers. A series of lightweight deflectometer tests and plate bearing tests was carried out to verify the sub-base, resulting in a significant reduction in the amount of material compared to a suspended slab, therefore reducing embodied carbon.

As the site was already accounted for within the existing surface water system, we proposed the relocation of the surface water attenuation tank and the extension of surface water sewers. The new subterranean storage tank was located within the soft landscaped area adjacent to the site, reducing the flood risk as any exceedance of the tank volume would result in flow running to the existing swale.