Extensive refurbishment of 392-bedroom student accommodation in the heart of Bristol.

  • -392 bedrooms spread across 61 cluster flats and 10 studios
  • -New flooring, decoration, and fixed furniture
  • -Kitchen upgrades, including new appliances, countertops, and sinks
  • -New shared bathrooms and remedial works to ensuite bathrooms
  • -Environmentally friendly smart radiator system installed
  • -Full LED lighting upgrade
  • -Design and upgrade the existing courtyard
  • -Eight-week programme, with city location and several logistical challenges

Unite House is owned and operated by Unite Students and is a large block of student accommodation surrounding a central courtyard. Within walking distance of the city centre and the University of Bristol, the accommodation includes 392-bedrooms spread across 61 cluster flats and 10 studios. Each cluster flat consists of a communal kitchen and living area.

We delivered an extensive refurbishment, creating bright contemporary spaces fit for modern-day living. The construction works took place over a 12-week period from late June to mid-September 2021 ready for the new intake of students.

Work included new flooring, decoration, and new bedroom and dining furniture in line with Unite Students’ specifications. Several upgrades to the kitchens were undertaken, including new solid grade laminate worktops, sinks and taps, kitchen cupboard doors, and appliances. The kitchen cabinet carcasses were kept to ensure delivery of the project within the client’s budget. New heat recovery units were installed in the shared bathrooms, in addition to new sanitary ware. The team also upgraded the ventilation system and installed new signage in the entrance area.

“Fortis Vision is one of our most diverse and adaptable contractors. They really understand what we as the client need, and while sometimes it may seem that the task at hand is almost impossible to achieve, Fortis Vision will always find a way for it to work.”

Hannah Wragby
Estates Project Manager

The work included several eco-friendly upgrades, including installing centrally controlled smart radiators, which automatically reduce their output when rooms are vacant, and new toilet cisterns with a flush of just 1 litre instead of the existing 3 litres to save water. Additionally, we carried out a full LED lighting upgrade.

The team also designed and refurbished the central courtyard, creating a relaxing outdoor space for students. The work included the installation of new raised planters, ambient lighting, and new external furniture.

The project posed several logistical and project management challenges:

The build took place during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the site-team carrying out daily testing on all operatives. While not a government regulation, we were keen to maintain the health of staff and avoid any potential delays to the project due to illness or staff having to quarantine.

The accommodation was initially scheduled to be empty. However, several flats were still occupied due to students having to quarantine. This required us to make last-minute adjustments to the project, demonstrating how we can work around any issues that may arise.

The accommodation’s city-centre location, with single-lane access only, also proved a challenge. Unite House is next to the 02 Academy, which held several large-scale events during the refurbishment project. The team had to coordinate deliveries around these events. Finally, the building is split-level with multiple entry points, providing further logistical challenges.

Despite these challenges, we delivered the project to the client on time, on budget, and to the exceptionally high standards we are recognised for.