Astbury Building at the University of Leeds

Re-opening our buildings

We’ve been busy over the last few months preparing to re-open our buildings and make them covid-secure.

Returning buildings to operation is a complex process, involving numerous teams and is governed by health and safety legislation. Whilst this isn’t a linear process the information below outlines the various stages we need to go through to ensure a building is safe to occupy.

  • Technical compliance: Includes fires and smoke checks, electrical compliance, lifts, mechanical equipment tests. This usually takes around four weeks.
  • Water compliance: Includes water quality testing and water hygiene (legionella) testing. This usually takes between three and six weeks. Find out what happens if a water test fails.
  • Health and safety measures: Covid-19 compliance including installation of social distancing signage, hand sanitiser dispensers stations.
  • Building cleaning: Thorough clean and service of buildings.
  • Final sign-off: Following the completion of health and safety checks and a visit from the Trade Union each building is signed off by the Re-entry Steering Group.

The Estates and Facilities Services have been crucial at every stage of the process.

Len Wilson, Deputy Director of Estates (Capital): ‘Ensuring our buildings are safe and secure in line with Public Health Guidelines has been a significant team effort. Services from Health, Safety and Wellbeing, Estates and Facilities and colleagues from specific Schools and Faculties have all come together to ensure our buildings are safe for when our staff and students return. It has been a lengthy and complex process but we can reassure those staff and students returning to campus that our open buildings are safe.’

The majority of staff are still working from home with a lot of teaching being delivered online. Learn more about how the University is reopening buildings.

An international student checking in at Charles Morris with a mask on

Creating a safe and secure environment for our students

Estates and Facilities have been working with colleagues across the University to create a safe and secure environment ready to welcome our current and new students back.

Maintaining a safe environment

Cleaning Services are delivering their comprehensive Cleaning Plan as part of buildings reopening. The team are carrying out a thorough clean of campus facilities in line with the senior management plan of building opening schedules. Cleaning methods, equipment, cleaning and sanitising products are being investigated and reviewed where necessary to facilitate any changes required for the future, Public Health England guidelines and industry best practice are all being taken into consideration in decision making.

Re-designing for social distancing

A team of project managers from the Design Team are supporting the re-opening of buildings, from re-designing the internal layout to meet social distancing guidelines, to supporting Schools and Faculties in correctly interpreting the health and safety guidance when re-opening the buildings.

Ensure the safety of everyone on campus

Since the lockdown started Security Services have continued to provide a 24/7 presence on campus. To ensure the safety of those staff  and students  still working or in residences, they are deploying  more high visibility patrols around University property.

Continuing to develop campus

Whilst a high percentage of campus development projects remain on hold for the indefinite future, the team have been trying to mobilise projects based on contracts and urgency of completion.  This includes the Clothworkers refurbishment and plans to progress the completion of Levels 4 and 9 of the Faculty of Biological Sciences refurbishment. Several asbestos works to buildings across campus have been completed to all the plantrooms across campus.

All staff and contractors are strictly adhering to Public Health England/Government guidelines on Covid 19.

Communicating new safety measures

The FD Marketing and Communications team have worked with colleagues from across the University and an external agency ClearHead to communicate to students and staff the measures our services have put in place to ensure their safety. As well as how you can help us keep everyone safe.

Safety on campus

Relaxed, safe accommodation at the University of Leeds

Still from the Esther Simpson time-lapse camera of August's progress

The Esther Simpson Building: progress so far

The latest updates from the Esther Simpson Building project

Since the last project update in June there has been major progress at The Esther Simpson Building project on Cloberry Street.

Recent update from BAM Construction:

  • We have completed forming the basement structure and poured all the higher slabs.  We have only the remaining ground floor slab to install on site under the lecture theatre.
  • Now the Upper Floors have been cast we are able to start installing the main roof for the new building.  Materials will be brought in a lifted up using the site crane to allow the works to progress.
  • We have had built 203 pre-cast panels with windows for the envelope of the building.  Some of these weigh up to 8 tonnes and is the reason we have such a large crane on site.  They will be hoisted into position and bolted to the side of the building.
  • The panels are progressing around the building as we continue to enclose the building
  • Works ongoing to form the main roof to the building working from the Southern side (Substation) towards North side (Cloberry Street)
  • The installation of the 3rd floor Curtain Wall which forms a band of glass around the top floor of the building will commence soon.
  • Works will begin to install the plasterboard walls internally.
  • Works are now underway installing PV to the top of Newlyn Building roof.  We are also undertaking works still within the Storm Jameson plantroom.
  • Landscape works will commence on the corner of Woodsley Road & Clarendon Road next to Charles Thackrah Building.

Time-lapse