The Riverside - Bouygues UK

Project Details

Project - The Riverside

Sector - Residential

Technology - Volumetric Modular

Company - Bouygues UK

Project Overview:

The Riverside at Canterbury symbolises Bouygues UK’s ambitions for offsite construction. This £115m mixed development included 491 student bedrooms, built with  modular volumetric construction. We used shell and core construction for the residential and leisure sections. The 430 modules for the student rooms were manufactured in a dedicated factory in Morocco and shipped to the UK. They were designed, reviewed, and tracked virtually by the clients and project team using 3D technology.

The Riverside sits at the centre of a new leisure quarter in Canterbury, with a new public square at its heart and overlooking the River Stour, which runs through the city centre. This leisure-led destination will be anchored by a five-screen Curzon Cinema, as well as restaurants and bars wrapping around the new public square. In addition to the student accommodation, the wider development also delivers 189 new homes, all within a pedestrian-friendly neighbourhood that knits into the existing community.

Three of Bouygues Construction’s companies were involved: Linkcity, the development partner of Canterbury City Council; Bouygues UK, the contractor and Uliving -  Linkcity’s dedicated student accommodation brand. The modular build The student accommodation in the development was Bouygues UK’s first self-delivered 3D volumetric modular project. We created the 491-bedroom building, using digital innovation to design and deliver the 430 modules used in construction. We designed a range of rooms, including studios, “two-dios”, premium rooms and cluster rooms with an en-suite. All rooms have access to the fitness studio, games area, roof terrace and courtyard as well as a study area and laundry.

The modules were built in a dedicated factory in Morocco, including components such as beds, cupboards, desks, lights, sockets, toilets, sinks and showers. They were then travelled by sea as marine cargo to the UK and transported by road to the site. They were lifted into position using a crawler crane. All the connections - zipping up - were carried out onsite by Bouygues UK management and specialist teams. Volumetric technology We used digitalisation throughout for design, procurement, manufacturing,  onsite production and quality verification. Factory construction began in January 2020. We carried out most of the design consultations remotely, because the factory was in Morocco.

The first step was to secure client approval for the modular prototypes. We had planned to take them to Morocco, but the Covid pandemic restrictions meant we had to  innovate. Thanks to a three-dimensional 360-degree virtual walk-through scan, the clients could review the modules in detail from their own homes. This also allowed them to check finishes and materials before the modules left Morocco. We also used technology – such as webcams on hard hats - to allow remote viewing of the factory and the
construction site. We produced monthly time-lapse video footage as part of our progress reports.

The client had constant access to a remote “quality portal” to follow progress. This new way of digitalised, offsite working promoted efficiency. Despite the pandemic and the shipping crisis, we finished the project to a high standard.