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Student Accommodation in Birmingham

Situated in Birmingham’s Student Quarter, so called due to its location close to a number of Universities and Educational establishments, our project in Harrow Road consisted of the conversion of four existing Victorian Terraces under Multiple Occupation (HMO).

We were approached by our Client to come up with a planning proposal that significantly increased the number of bedrooms to cater for the growing student population in purpose designed accommodation.

Our designs involved splitting each existing house into two HMO’s to vastly increase efficiency of the design of each unit, incorporating a further bedroom in the loft space of each. In addition, we incorporated a substantial basement under-storey on the steeply sloping site, which is to be used as communal spaces next to a large communal garden.

The project included an extensive engineering exercise at planning stage, assessing the proposals both from an access and build-ability perspective, in addition to value engineering various construction methods. Due to planning considerations relating to maintaining the character of the existing terraced runs in the area, we eventually decided on a proposal that included the propping and retention of the façade of the terrace whilst excavation took place for the large under-storey.

Whilst we looked to retain the building façade which linked to the areas historic roots, we also proposed a contemporary rear elevation to reflect the high quality student accommodation our Client wished to achieve. This enabled us to maximise the development efficiency, ultimately increasing the lettable area by 150% and finalising a proposal that included a bespoke design for 40 spacious student rooms with associated communal spaces.

In addition, to preserve the Client’s cashflow whilst construction was taking place we designed the proposals to commence in two phases. Four new HMO’s (two conversions) would be built at a time to ensure any outgoings on the construction phase were counteracted by maintaining rental income. In addition we worked to a 52 week construction phase to coincide with the University year, and mitigate any losses of rental accommodation throughout.

Planning for the project was secured after a comprehensive pre-application and planning phase in July 2021. We are looking forward to this project breaking ground!

We are on the look out for similar schemes – if you are looking to pursue any similar HMO conversions we would be grateful to discuss.