Final year students from across our Geography, Geology, Environmental Sciences, Civil Engineering, and Chemistry courses took a trip to the beach this week to collect grab samples of bathing water from seven sites between Brighton Palace Pier and Brighton Marina.
The trip was part of a water and health module and was to look at how water quality varies.
The samples were taken back to our Category 2 microbiology lab for analyses which involved the students filtering the samples for different groups of faecal indicator bacteria originating from different source such as wild birds, dogs and humans.
The concentration of these microorganisms gives us an indication of the likely level of risk to water users. The students will collect additional samples and to analyse over the next two weeks so they can see how water quality changes from week to week as well as from site to site.
As part of the level 4 Built Environment field course to Construction Live, students were given the opportunity to drive and operate various types of plant on site, including dumper trucks, 360 excavators and telehandler forklifts. This was all carried out under the supervision of qualified instructors in safe conditions but gave the students a real insight into the skill necessary to operate this type of machinery effectively.
First Year Built Environment Students are at Bridgewater and Taunton College for the Construction Live Programme. They have taken part in bricklaying, carpentry, drainage, water supply works and steel fixing.
The students had the opportunity to drive plant, to fix a beam and block floor and to build brick walls with lime mortars.
This challenging programme enables them to apply some of their theoretical skills into practice.
The final full day of building was a busy one for all of the teams. The drainage and water utilities groups were able to finish laying and joining all their pipework, with the drainage team also installing a toilet ready to be connected to both the water supply and waste water drainage tomorrow.
Due to the very poor weather forecast, the bricklaying team were unable to build their walls on site as they were using a lime mortar that wouldn’t work well in very wet conditions, therefore they constructed their walls in exactly the same way they would have on site, but in one of the covered work areas instead. It was disappointing to not be able to build the walls in situ but was still a great experience for the students who did an excellent job.
The carpentry team completed fixing the stud walls, then clad the external walls in plywood sheeting. Once this was complete the walls were insulated, but again due to the poor weather it was not possible to plasterboard the walls. The outside walls were clad in featheredge boarding, in two configurations, with a section left ready for the banner to be placed tomorrow.
Both the bricklayers and carpenters also took part in the steel fixing workshop to gain an insight into how reinforcing steel is fixed into concrete structures.
In the evening, we had a talk from Andrew Preece from Roger Bullivant, a foundation engineering company specialising in the design and construction of foundations for all types of buildings and structures in all kinds of ground conditions. They built the foundation we have been working on all week on site so were able to explain how that was constructed as well as discussing other projects they are involved in.
Tomorrow is the final day of the field trip, all the works will be completed and the teams will have a chance to reflect upon what they have learnt this week and how it will help them in their careers in the future.
Day 4 saw students arriving to a very wet and muddy site which added extra challenges to the construction activities. Before work could continue, the flooded trenches dug by the drainage and water utilities teams had to be pumped out due to heavy rainfall over night. Once this was completed these teams were able to continue with the work they started yesterday, laying more pipework and drainage for the project.
The bricklayers spent the morning laying the brick and block floor on site ready for the wall construction tomorrow, this involved positioning the precast concrete beams and laying the blocks, some of which needed to be cut which a number of students were able to try. The carpentry team transported all of the floor and wall panels that they had manufactured to site. They positioned the floor units and joined them together, then laid a chipboard floor on top ready to start constructing the external and internal stud walls.
The afternoon was spent on further team building activities, one group tried their hand at archery whilst the others went canoeing or tackled the high ropes course at the activity centre.
Tomorrow the majority of the construction activities will be completed providing everything goes to plan ready for the conclusion of the project on Friday.
Day three saw the most construction activity so far, the bricklaying team learnt the skills they will be using to construct the brick and block walls, from mixing mortar to laying bricks straight, level and plumb, building practice walls to test their skills. They also spent time on the site to identify the challenges they will be facing allowing them to plan the rest of the week’s activities.
The water utilities group began installing the water supply using fusion jointing on all of the pipe work – an electromechanical system for joining pressurised pipework. First a trench had to be dug which was completed by machine, with students having the opportunity to operate the digger under supervision. The pipework so far was tested and luckily no leaks were found! The team also got the opportunity to try their hand at some steel fixing operations.
The drainage group located and dug trenches both by hand and machine and laid granular bedding ready for the pipe work and began joining some of the pipe work. They learnt about how drainage works and the importance of correctly installing drainage on site.
The carpentry group spend the morning building the frames for the suspended timber floors, which consisted of 5 separate frames which will then be constructed on site, they then moved onto the wall frames, constructing the internal and external stud wall frames, which like the floors, will be transported to site to be put together.
In the evening, we had a talk from Chris Williams, director of Prolectric, a company focussing on the design and installation of a range of mechanical and electrical systems, based principally around renewable technologies or energy efficiency services. Chris discussed the types of solar lighting they offer and the financial and environmental benefits thee offer over traditional methods, giving the students an insight into new renewable technologies that the construction industry can take advantage of.
Tomorrow the build continues as well as further team building activities in the afternoon, ready for the final full day of construction on Thursday.
The second day started with an early visit to the site we are working on for the rest of the week, students are tasked with building a washroom and toilet block facility for a fictitious campsite using a number of different methods, the teams are split into the block and beam floor and wall team, the drainage team, the water supply team and the carpentry team.
The morning was spent being inducted into the site, having health and safety briefings and manual handling training and then splitting into the teams and beginning the task. The carpentry team studied the drawings and prepared cutting lists ready to begin work tomorrow, the brick and block team planned their work and were familiarised with their materials, the water supply team learnt how to joint the pipework they will be laying and the drainage team had a steel fixing workshop in addition to planning their work.
In the afternoon, we visited two local construction sites to gain an understanding of how large scale construction works, being shown around by the project teams who explained all the different processes happening on site, this was a useful insight for the students and gave them an excellent opportunity to see how real construction sites operate. Tomorrow the hard work begins with a full day of construction!
All first year built environment students are away for a week of hands on construction activities at Construction Live, run by Bridgwater and Taunton College in Somerset.
We left on Sunday morning from Brighton, arriving at around 3pm ready for an afternoon of management and leadership skills training at the outdoor activity centre. In 4 groups the students worked together to accomplish a number of tasks such as getting the whole team over a 10ft high wall, through a spider web of ropes only using each gap once and building a bridge using planks and poles without any one falling off (if they did the whole team started again!). The tasks allowed the students to plan their approach, think about how they needed to work in a team and listen to all team members. The afternoon was a great fun activity which really helped with teamwork and management, an essential skill in the construction industry.
The final year Building Surveying students have spent 3 days learning about listed building surveys with Dr Duncan Phillips of Listed Building Surveys
They spent one day in the classroom learning about heritage and conservation and then one day at a grade II* listed farmhouse in Kent carrying out a survey as if they had been appointed by the client.
In the field they were supported by a large number of consultants including a ‘rot’ sniffing dog who gave their time voluntarily to assist the students in developing skills in this real life experience.
The third day was spent learning about Professional Report writing.
A group of our Civil Engineering students visited the site of a flood prevention scheme in West Sussex to gain an insight into what collaborative engineering looks like.
The visit to Clay’s Lake was organised with Mackley and was designed to help students develop their understanding of how theory works in practice.
Civil Engineering student Lottie Ashcroft said “We learned about all aspects of the project, including sustainability, planning and design, whilst gaining an insight into the various job and responsibilities of civil engineers.”
Scott Sedon adds “The visit gave me a good insight of what collaborative engineering work looked like, and also allowed me to question the professionals which increased my depth of understanding of the engineering world.”