George Road, Birmingham

We have constructed a brand new 50 bed student accommodation scheme for Calthorpe Estates on George Road, Edgbaston Birmingham. Its been a fantastic project and under Project Manager Marcus Smithies leadership, the team have collaboratively overcome numerous unforeseen challenges.

Value: £3.1 million
Duration: 49 weeks

“The Torsion project team worked closely with Calthorpe Estates to ensure that the scheme was delivered on-time and within budget. Despite the unforeseen challenges, my team and I ensured that the key programme dates were never affected.

We released the completed second floor before the agreed handover date, this enabled the client to achieve over 50% occupancy rentals prior to practical completion.”

Marcus Smithies
Project Manager

The building offers retail spaces on the ground floor, and floors 1-5 contain 50 bed accommodation (20 studio & 30 cluster).

An existing petrol station was demolished and the 6-floor steel frame with composite floor structure has been constructed on a derelict brownfield site. There has been positive feedback from local resident and the passing public.

Project overview

The project saw us construct a new student accommodation development for Calthorpe Estates.

The original design was tendered prior to our involvement and did not achieve the clients desired budget. The consultant team approached Torsion Group with a 4 week window to utilise our ‘Design to Budget’ approach. This enabled Torsion to value engineer the scheme and propose a solution for the client, which not only met the client’s aspiration but also came within their budget, reducing the construction cost by nearly 10%. Particular value engineering focus was given to;

  • Frame & facade
  • Programme
  • Preliminaries
  • Mechanical & Electrical design and installation

A key feature in the design of the building was the curtain walling. The design of the building was designed to fit comfortably within its surrounding buildings.

Torsion Group not only delivered the scheme to the client’s budget but delivered the scheme 1 week earlier than the contractual programme date.

Added Value

In line with Torsion’s commitment to achieving Design to Budget of all its projects,on-time, This scheme was signed off with zero reportable accidents and zero environmental incidents.

We faced a number of challenges on this scheme which had the potential to cause major delays to the build. The project team led by Project Manager Marcus Smithies ensured that any issues and delays were quickly resolved and the project maintained programme. Challenges included;

  • The discovery of a Victorian Well – Positioned on the exact location of where one of the piles was.
    Torsion revised the foundation layout, filled the well with concrete and introduced additional reinforcing detail to the build. The pile location was ultimately changed.
  • Party Wall agreement – The party wall agreement was not in place prior to commencing works.
    The Torsion team phased the foundations, steel erection and insitu concrete floors to allow 80% of the works to continue on the original programme. The remaining 20% of the works was accelerated once the party wall agreement was in place. This mitigated any risk of further delays and minimised the amount of work which required acceleration.
  • Logistics – The building takes up the full footprint of the site, with the exception of a small services yard.
    A detailed logistics plan was drawn up prior to works commencing on site and rigorously adhered to.
  • Erecting structure – No crainage space
    Innovative craniage solutions had to be found to allow the structure to be erected.


To provide flexibility for future expansion, an additional spare services duct was installed along with additional space for retail units on the ground floor.

Vast material excavated on site was crushed and reused on-site. Our comprehensive waste management plan meant that overall, we were able to divert 90% of site waste from landfill.

To keep the local community up to date on the scheme, we issued regular newsletters. Litter picking was carried on a routine basis around the site to keep the surrounding area clean and tidy.

Site access was highly restricted in the surrounding residential area. We made every effort to reduce congestion and disruption to the local community. We encouraged the entire project team to travel together to site, and park considerately. At the peak of the project there were 55 people on site, so strong management of logistics and regular toolbox talks were essential.

A sizeable percentage of materials and workforce required to deliver this scheme were procured locally, either directly or via sub-contractors, with 60% of the workforce based with a 30-mile radius.

We also developed a social impact plan for the scheme, to help drive employment and training opportunities for local people. This included a Torsion Group year out placement student working directly for Torsion Group and two working for our supply chain.