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Press Release - 09 December 2004

University of Bath alerts residents to building work

As part of continuing improvements to the University of Bath campus, demolition work is to begin on the 4 West building on the main parade on Monday 13 December.

4 West - about to be munched

Preparations are now being made for the next phase in a carefully constructed programme of work which includes the use of an 80-tonne ‘munching machine’. The machine is due to arrive with a police escort on 9 or 10 December and will take large ‘bites’ out of the fabric of the building to create space for a crane and other equipment to take the rest of the building to pieces.

The University will take every opportunity to prevent any disruption. Noise levels will be monitored by independent experts as well as by the University’s own environmental consultant. Dust will be controlled by water and vehicle movements closely regulated. In addition, the Health and Safety Executive will check the site's progress and give advice. The muncher will only be in action until 10 January.

Patrick Finch, Estates Director, said, “I would ask people to bear with us for a few weeks. Once the muncher has opened up the site, the contractors, Controlled Demolition Ltd, will be able to get better access and can commence deconstructing it by hand, piece by piece. This takes longer than mechanical demolition but it is much quieter, and we are anxious to minimise disruption.”

Work began at 4 West in July and a great deal has already been achieved. Services such as electricity, drains and the IT main, have all been rerouted, and large quantities of asbestos have been removed. 4 West is typical of buildings put up in the 60s and 70s, when asbestos was widely used for insulation, fire-protection, sound-proofing and just as a general filler. It has been removed by specialist teams who are closely monitored by the University’s environmental consultant and the Health and Safety Executive. The University publicised the need for asbestos removal last May.

The University looked at all the options for the building but when costs and life-expectancy of the building were taken into account rebuilding was clearly the best option.

This presents an exciting opportunity for the University. Patrick Finch said, “Over the last few years, we have been concentrating on adding buildings around the periphery of the campus. Now, with the redevelopment of the 4 West site, we have the opportunity to revitalise the heart of the campus and breathe new life into it.”

Allies & Morrison Architects has been appointed to take campus development forward over the next four years. Voted Architectural Practice of the Year 2004, it will be presenting its preliminary plans for a new building on the 4 West site before Christmas. Rebuilding will be undertaken in phases. Phase 1 will commence in autumn 2005, and will provide high-tech facilities for multi-disciplinary research.

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