The Dorothy Wadham Building

We carried out the mechanical and electrical services on the new residential Dorothy Wadham Building in Oxford. The project consisted of four individual buildings of three and four storeys arranged around a shared courtyard garden. The 135no. bedroom development provides accommodation for students in the form of single occupancy ensuite bedrooms built in clusters with shared kitchen/ dining areas. The building also has a garden room with fully functioning commercial kitchen, TV lounge, a computer suite and laundry.


Project Highlights


  • One of the complexities was coordinating services between the 4no individual buildings providing the infrastructure and communications networks. Each building was treated as standalone with the systems also being networked.
  • All systems link back to the main University campus including life safety systems, access control and BMS via the dedicated university fibre network which runs directly to the main campus on Parks road.
  • A complex access control and intercom system was provided including all locks to bedrooms, communal entrances, lifts, fully automated vehicle and pedestrian gates which are controlled locally and networked to the main university campus.
  • Due to the concrete finishes adopted throughout the majority of the services run in the floor void and drop to floors below to service lighting, power & fire alarm system etc.
  • Each building has a dedicated fire fighting lift which is connected to the access control system which can be used for evacuation of Less able body people in the event of a fire.
  • The lighting scheme has been carefully chosen and co-ordinated to match the high level of architectural finishes within all common accessed areas.
  • Every student bedroom has an offline Salto handle set for security, but the University have adopted a more open and friendly approach to shared accommodation and have requested that each bedroom door have the facility to be held open to create more of a community atmosphere within each cluster of accommodation.
  • Every bedroom door has a hold open device which will close the door in the event of a fire alarm activation.
  • A central plantroom was installed with a CHP unit and 3x gas fired boilers supplying heat via a below ground infrastructure to 25no Heat interface units for the individual flats heating and hot water.
  • Heating to flats was a combination of vertical designer radiators to bedrooms and trench heating to communal areas.
  • All the heat interface units for each flat were on a network communication system for remote monitoring and control.
  • Extract ventilation was supplied to each bathroom via roof mounted extract fans and linked back to the BMS system.
  • The main hall area for all communal activities had a natural ventilation system installed.

Client: University of Oxford

Main Contractor: Gilbert Ash

Architect: Allies & Morrison

Consultant: Skelly & Couch

Services: Mechanical & Electrical

Duration: 12 Month

Value: £3,320,000

Location: Oxford, England