Young academics visit student accommodation site in Aberdeen

Budding engineering students have been given a personal insight into one of the most important projects in Aberdeen – the development of new accommodation for academics in the city.

Fourth and fifth year students in Structural Engineering at University of Aberdeen visited Powis Place where Alumno Developments is building a modern six-storey student accommodation.

Kier Construction, the main contractor on the build, welcomed groups of students onsite.

Fifth-year student Veronika Ivanova, 23, and fourth-year student Kalina Dimitrova, 21, said the experience allowed them to see theories investigated in the classroom being put into practice.

Veronika, of Veliko Tarnovo, said:

“Site visits like these are very important for us – they give us an opportunity to really visualise problems and potential solutions in a situation similar to what we will face when we graduate and become professional engineers.”

The two students made the decision to relocate to Scotland from their homes in Bulgaria in pursuit of their ambitions in the construction industry and believe they have been given the best future opportunities as they work towards completing their degrees.

Veronika added:

“When the university broke up for the summer, I went home and off to work on construction projects, but the way of working in Bulgaria is very different to what we’ve learned here.

“I hope to become part of the construction industry in Scotland and the UK which is growing all the time.”

Kalina, of Etropole near Sofia, said the ability to ask the construction team questions and understand the approach being taken by the project’s leadership team gave the students an insight into the scale of undertaking contractors face.

She explained:

“Seeing the way they worked with the foundations, how they made the space work and the technical reasons for some of the engineering decisions they had made, meant I could appreciate new ways of finding a solution to a problem.”

Alumno Developments, the award-winning UK provider of bespoke accommodation in university cities, is mid-way through construction of its first facility in Aberdeen.

Managing director David Campbell said his company’s sites in the UK are open to visits from academics and believes the input provided by students is crucial to the way Alumno tackles each new plan.

Campbell said:

“Within the space of a couple of weeks, the Powis Place project has been visited by structural engineers and also architecture students – their input is so important for us, they are the future of the industry, they will be the next generation of innovators in construction and we absolutely welcome their thoughts on our projects.”

“While Veronika, Kalina and their classmates will miss out on the chance to stay at Powis Place as they will be preparing to graduate as we complete the project, getting positive feedback from them shows we’re doing the right thing for those who will follow them into further education.”

Brian McGuinness, senior project manager at Kier Construction, said:

“It’s a real pleasure for us to be able to meet the engineers who we will work alongside as colleagues in the future.

“These students from the University of Aberdeen have seen this site develop from vacant industrial units, to a cleared site and now, as our structural steel nears completion, we’ve been able to give them an insight into how we’ve made it to this stage – they were interested, asked lots of questions and gave us a few opinions on options for the future which were very valuable.”

Alumno Developments and Kier Construction broke ground on the £11 million project in March 2015. It will deliver rooms for 196 students and is expected to be completed for the start of the 2016/7 academic year.

The building was designed by Carson & Partners and members of the project team supporting Alumno Developments also include Fairhurst, Hawthorne Boyle and Turner and Townsend.