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Originally intended as a largely private housing development on an edge of city centre site, the Exeter Looe Road project was conceived at the height of the recession, when house building ground to a virtual standstill. As a result, the developer reapplied for planning permission and was granted the right to construct a 34 studio apartments aimed exclusively at students at Exeter University, an institution with an ongoing shortage of accommodation.
At that point Nordic came on board and produced a construction methodology that made construction on a difficult site possible and at the same time provided a cost effective solution for its client. By using pre-fabricated timber frame, Nordic ensured that the project could go ahead without the need for highly expensive ground works.
The site of the project was certainly challenging – being next to the river and on soft ground – but the use of light weight timber frame ensured that the building was possible from an engineering point of view and didn’t require overly expensive ground works and foundations.
The building provides excellent energy efficiency, which was a bonus in terms of its appeal to students as it keeps heating bills to a minimum and therefore an added selling point for the developer.
The project also demonstrates that timber is an appropriate structural material for large scale, multi-storey housing.
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