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8th Sep 2021 in Business

Construction of LIV Student Belfast, one of the city’s largest new student accommodation complexes, has completed on time, beating major challenges posed by the pandemic and Brexit.

The 717-bedroom property on York Street, which features state-of-the art apartments and studio rooms, opened on Saturday 4th September.

Following a booming sales period including a referral agreement with Queen’s University Belfast, LIV Student is already fully booked.

The accommodation incorporates exemplary design and an innovative use of internal and external communal space, giving students a new level of facilities and comfort.

A key contributor to the regeneration of the city’s vibrant Cathedral Quarter, the new student residence is a stone’s throw from Ulster University’s Belfast campus and students can link to both Queen’s University and Jordanstown with Translink’s UniLink service.

Construction of the 14-storey building began in July 2019, eight months before the first COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020.

Careful planning and strict pandemic safety measures enabled contractors GRAHAM to keep the build schedule on track.

“Completing the LIV Student Belfast project before deadline is thanks to the entire GRAHAM team and was no easy feat, given national and global issues,” commented Garry Farmer, Project Director at GRAHAM.

“Supply chain material disruption borne from Brexit and Covid-19, and the need to rework our usual live site model to ensure employee safety during the pandemic, were just two additional challenges.

“We overcame these by installing a Face Recognition Turnstyle System, which recorded all site workers’ body temperatures. We also set up handwashing stations and integrated a more robust cleaning scheme.

“Meanwhile we ensured the site boasted the best environmental building standards ,including recycling our concrete washout which reduced water consumption onsite. We also built bird boxes into the building to help protect and preserve the city centre’s  population of swifts and received a Considerate Constructor Scheme score of 43 out of 50 for our efforts.

“We are pleased to see the space has already achieved 100% occupancy.”

“Our exceptional new building has been causing a buzz since construction began. That translated into early bookings from students waiting to get their lives back on track since last year, when the pandemic first hit their education plans,” said Claire Preston, LIV Belfast’s Mobilisation Manager.

“We have a first-class team in place waiting to help students make the most of their university life in this vibrant city and we have measures in place for their protection against the ongoing COVID-19 virus.”

The York Street development is the first building in Northern Ireland to be awarded 3-star Fitwel accreditation, the highest rating given by the world’s leading certification system for buildings and communities which optimise projects to support the health of employees, residents and the surrounding community.

It scored highly for resident safety, its plans for well-being and social inclusion and its aim to give students access to healthy foods and exercise.

Valeo Management Europe is the owner-operator of LIV Student Belfast, plus sister sites in Dublin and Sheffield. John Kenny, Chief Executive, said: “We set out to create Belfast’s next generation of student accommodation, and achieved our goal in the face of unprecedented challenges.

“Our purpose-built building, with its great amenities and design, is ready to welcome 2021’s students.”

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