INFRASTRUCTURE

Leeds architecture firm bags two university contracts for growing portfolio

SOURCE: Watson Batty
Education providers account for nearly 30 percent of Watson Batty's clients.

Watson Batty Architects has landed two new deals with key universities in the region, adding to its fast-growing list of clients in higher education.

After a competitive procurement process, the Leeds-based outfit was selected as one of three architecture firms to make it into an architectural services framework agreement with the University of Leeds.

Watson Batty will provide services for projects under the value of GBP2 million across the next four years for the institution. This includes the provision of sustainable, innovative and cost-conscious solutions for refurbishments, reconfiguration and new extension works.

The firm also won its place on a multiple operator agreement with the University of Sheffield to support the institution’s major infrastructure investments and improvements to facilities across the estate.

The contract will last four years and will include new project briefs, and enhancement work to existing facilities across the campus. One of four firms appointed to the framework, Watson Batty will provide architectural services to the school as well as lead design, in collaboration with other consultants.

“We are delighted to be appointed to these two university frameworks as they continue to invest in major improvements to their respective estates,” Watson Batty’s ‘Learning’ Sector Director Mark Sidding says.

“We are a long-established practice with considerable skills in all manner of education projects and in recent years we have honed our ‘learning’ sector knowledge in line with new Department for Education (DfE) procurement to best position the practice to advise clients and form strategic partnerships with a number of contractors.”

Watson Batty has also worked on projects for Sheffield Hallam University. Source: Watson Batty

A BIM Level 2 Certified firm, Watson Batty has extensive experience designing learning and teaching environments, with a two-decade heritage delivering facilities for the education sector. BIM or Building Information Modelling is a crucial process for generating and managing information on the physical and functional information of a project throughout its lifecycle. It makes the design, construction, operation and decommissioning process more efficient. Watson Batty earned its certification last October from Stroma Certification. 

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According to the firm, its projects with education providers currently account for nearly 30 percent of its client base. It counts in its repertoire 2.8 million square foot of learning accommodation, some 300 individual projects for the learning sector, and well over GBP300 million worth of construction.

At present, the company has supported and worked alongside 12 major university clients. This already includes the University of Sheffield, with which it worked with on the design and delivery of the flagship International College in Velocity Village. And earlier this year, the company secured its first commission of the new framework – the refurbishment of New Spring House.

Watson Batty is currently due to complete the new Wolfson Centre for Applied Health Research for the University of Leeds; a collaborative partnership between the University of Leeds, University of Bradford and Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. This adds to the extension and internal alterations to the School of Earth and Environment completed late last year.

The firm has also completed other projects for Sheffield Hallam University, University of Hull, University of York, De Montfort University, University of Huddersfield, University of Bradford, York St John University, Loughborough University and Liverpool Hope University.

“In some ways, beautiful architecture is a side effect of what we do. It’s more about creating betterment in lives, families and communities.”

“My forte is creating inspirational learning environments, whether it’s a nursery school or a multi-million pound higher education development. Over the last decade, our education portfolio has expanded hugely, and I’m proud to have been a key part of that,” Sidding says on the firm’s website.