The University of Liverpool celebrated a significant landmark in its campus development this week, with the topping out of its £62 million Crown Place student accommodation building.

Crown Place, on Brownlow Hill, is the first student accommodation scheme in the UK to be delivered by a university’s own in-house construction company.

ULCCO is the construction company established by the University of Liverpool specifically for the construction of Crown Place.

Senior Contracts Manager, ULCCO Special Projects, David Harding, and the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Patrick Hackett, were joined by, the University’s Interim Director of Capital Projects, Richard Morris; Director of ULCCO Special Projects, Andrew Carter; and ULCOO Special Project’s Construction Manager Steve Jerams.

The team performed an ancient topping out ceremony believed to have been first celebrated in Persia five thousand years ago and involved the sprinkling of wine, oil, corn and salt onto a concrete block, symbolizing wisdom, liberty, prosperity and hospitality. A yew branch was then placed on the wet concrete to ward off evil spirits. The concrete block will be incorporated into the completed building.

Explains Steve Jerams “There has been a boom in university accommodation schemes over the past few years with many private developers and construction companies profiting from university expansion. Bringing the whole construction process in house with an experienced team of construction professionals is enabling the university to maximise quality, value and delivery while enhancing its estate to further improve the student experience and capitalise on the academic and corporate events market.”

Construction of Crown Place began in November 2012, The BREEAM Excellent scheme will provide 1,230 en-suite study bedrooms in a mix of studios and clusters plus a further 29 larger studio apartments for occupation by live-in pastoral Residential Advisors. Due for completion in August 2014 in time for the 2014/2015 academic year, the development is being constructed as three main buildings, each rising up to 10 storeys, creating a new landmark development on the eastern approach to the University.

Richard Morris adds: “Crown Place is not just a significant new landmark for Liverpool and the University but it also marks a sea change in the process of creating new buildings in the University sector.  By establishing ULCCO Special Projects, The University of Liverpool has created the means to ensure complete transparency and cost accountability throughout the delivery chain and today is a celebration of both structural completion of the building and our achievement in making an alternative approach to campus development so successful.”