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Open Doors Week: Julian Lloyd Webber's ‘last conservatoire’ opens its doors

A box-within-a box-within-a-box design fascinated visitors at the Galliford Try’s Birmingham site.

The project will see just under half a million bricks in the facade design to add mass for acoustic reasons, as well as the six distinct areas within it being built on the technically challenging principle of a box within a box within a box.

Added to this is – in various quantities depending on where in the facade they’re situated – are open cavities, insulation and dense 12 mm-thick cement boards.

“Do you think all that will make it 100 per cent sound proof?” enquires Julian Lloyd Webber, cellist, conductor and the principal of the Birmingham Conservatoire.

“I’d like to think so, if we’ve built it correctly,” says Galliford Try senior project manager Keith Lilley.

The celebrated maestro adds: “I don’t think there will ever be another purpose-built conservatoire in the UK again – this is the first one this century. It’s just the way it is with music education in this country, and the fact you’ve got existing buildings in London, Manchester and other places.”

Open another door

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Keith is ebullient about the range of career paths that the industry offers. “These include project management, site management, quantity surveying, finance, accounts and sales,” he says, “as well as marketing, human resources, land planning, architecture and design – we do everything.”

Birmingham City Council careers adviser Kashmir Raj says: “We’ve put our labour market heads on to get information for our cohort which is 16 to 19-year-olds. We also work in schools with years 10 and 11 to hear aspirations and provide information about opportunities that are out there,” she says.

“These kind of sessions help us to inform these young people about what’s out there and the routes into these things.”

Careers manager Lin Hatton adds: “It’s fascinating to see the projects, trades and hear about the routes in. When we’re talking to young people we can challenge some of the stereotypes about construction.”

Birmingham City University Conservatoire

Main contractor: Galliford Try
Engineer: White Young Green
Client: Birmingham City University
M&E subcontractor: Imtech
Piling subcontractor: Rock and Alluvium
Remediation subcontractor: Sanctus
Value: £43m
Contract type: JCT Design and build
Start date: August 2015
Completion date: July 2017

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