top of page

Thursday 25th April 2019

Are students benefitting from all these new Higher Education facilities?



Venue: RICS, Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AD

Time; 7.45 - 10.15am

The raising of the cap on university fees in England in 2012 precipitated a boom in design and construction work as universities use new lavish facilities as a means to attract new students. According to Glenigan, the value of HE projects given planning permission surged by 42% in the 12 months to June 2018, despite the uncertainty of Brexit. But are these new buildings being funded by a mountain of student debt, which can never be repaid by many, who were seduced by an image of  a "student experience" that could ultimately cost them £50,000 over their graduate life?


Come and join us as our panel of experts look into the reasons behind this:


  • Are these new facilities really necessary?

  • Are we designing to provide value for money?

  • How are we defining quality in the design of our facilities given the limited specific HE design guidance?

  • What evidence is being collected to support the need for these new learning environments?

  • Is there a danger of an implosion similar to that which occurred with LSC funding, if the "Auger review" reduces student fees?

  • Should we constructing to more reasonable cost /m2 benchmarks?


Wendy Mason
Rivington Street Studios


Wendy co-founded Rivington Street Studio in 1989 and has had over 30 years’ experience working within the education sector. She has built many long-standing relationships with clients through her commitment to design excellence no matter how modest the project. Her commissions range from initial strategic masterplanning to full project delivery and beyond.


Current HE clients include City, University of London, Royal Veterinary College, Anglia Ruskin University, the University of Roehampton and, most recently, UCL. She has previously worked with Middlesex University, Brunel University, Rose Bruford College, University of Westminster, University of Bristol and St. Mary’s University.

Wendy has been an external examiner at the University of Lincoln, Oxford Brookes and at the Centre for Alternative Technology. She is a governor at Hackney secondary school and has supported her three children through higher education.

Stephen Scott
Rider Levett Bucknall

Stephen Scott is a Partner of RLB in the UK and the national education sector lead. He is responsible for market leadership, company strategy and direction in this sector; across our core services of cost management, project management and building surveying.


Joining RLB in 1996, Stephen has over 25 years’ experience in delivering construction consultancy services, with emphasis on education. He has helped to deliver over 100 projects in the sector with a value of over £500m, working with a broad range of Education Institutions including major Russell Group and Redbrick Universities.  This experience has given him a detailed understanding of the challenges faced by the sector and enabled him to build long term relationships with our clients.

David Tompson
Nicholas Hare Architects

David is an Associate at Nicholas Hare Architects, having joined the practice in 2005.  Most recently he led the team for the new Student Centre at University College London - a flagship project at the heart of their Bloomsbury campus.  The building provides an adaptable and inspiring environment, supporting the lives of UCL students with 1,000 spaces for individual and collaborative study, a student enquiries centre, and a cafe.  The Student Centre is designed to achieve exemplary sustainability targets including BREEAM Outstanding.


Previously, David led the teams on two projects for St Paul's School in Barnes: the RIBA award-winning Science Building and the Samuel Pepys Theatre and Drama Centre. Prior to this he worked on a number of school and university projects including Crown Woods College in Greenwich and the David Attenborough Building at the University of Cambridge.


David has a masters degree in Environmental Design from the University of Cambridge and became a BREEAM Accredited Professional in 2015.  

bottom of page